Karlene Feldker has been a member of the Missouri Botanical Garden for more than 30 years. Her love of and fascination for the Garden eventually led her to a volunteer position as a “Plant Doctor” at the Kemper Center for Home Gardening, where home gardeners bring in all sorts of plant questions ranging from simple identification to diagnosing diseases and pests. Karlene’s earliest memory of the Garden was as a school girl. “I was so impressed that each plant had a label describing the plant, its characteristics and country of origin. That really stuck with me because years later when I planted my first garden I made labels to identify everything and they’re still out there after all these years!” Karlene says.
Karlene has a particular fondness for the Linnean House, the oldest continuously-operated public greenhouse west of the Mississippi River. “When you walk in it’s an absolute burst of color with the camellias in the spring and the amazing smell of jasmine and citrus. I remember walking through it when I was young, and the fountain was the big draw for me at that time. It’s just a beautiful time of year here at the Garden. It reminds me of a symphony tuning up with some things waking up over here and the trumpet lilies waking up and blooming over there. The Garden has been one of the biggest inspirations to me and to be able to be a part of that as a volunteer is very special indeed.”