Dear Friends of Untermyer Gardens:
A longtime goal of ours is a steady increase in the size of the gardening staff as we continue to restore and expand Untermyer Gardens. We have full-time as well as seasonal gardeners, who work nine months a year. Most public gardens have a similar team of both types.
This month, we have taken another big step in promoting Stewart Molina to be our fourth full-time gardener. A native of New York City, Stewart grew up in Yonkers and graduated from Roosevelt High School in 2010. He worked for several years at Groundwork Hudson Valley, an environmental and youth development organization in Yonkers.
Stewart did not study horticulture before he worked here as a seasonal in 2014. Bit by bit, he learned on the job, working with our head gardener, Timothy Tilghman. During his time off in the winter, he worked odd jobs and on the reconstruction of our canals for an outside contractor. We saw in him a capable, enthusiastic, and industrious worker full of potential, so much so that we enrolled him last winter at a horticulture course at the New York Botanical Garden.
We are so pleased by Stewart's promotion, and appreciate that his work here over the past few years has been transformational for him. In addition to his work in the garden, Stewart is quite good with his hands. He has recently immersed himself in the ongoing restoration of our beautiful and endangered mosaics.
Turn it into a grotto! We cleaned it out, opened some clerestory windows to bring in light, and installed a rustic fountain flowing into a board-formed concrete trough. The welcoming sound of water as you approach this restored ruin of the Gate House creates another level of interest. The trick will be for Timothy to figure out what will grow in this dim but special space!
Stephen F. Byrns
President, Untermyer Gardens Conservancy