Growing Season: Summer Interns Tend to Campus Gardens

Lilia Bickson ’25 trellises tomatoes to a fence, which encourages stronger stems and helps keep bugs away from the plant.
Author  Photos/Text: Shannon O'Brien
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It’s already hot and humid on most mornings when Reena Kim ’26 and Lilia Bickson ’25 start their work in the Kitchen Garden. They are two of eight students taking part in a collaborative summer internship program with the Paulson Ecology of Place Initiative and the Wellesley College Botanic Gardens.

In the spring, the Botanic Gardens staff and students replanted the Kitchen Garden, which had been removed during construction of the Science Complex. They’ve reassembled the original fencing made by local artist Frank Hamm, and the grounds team preserved good planting soil in anticipation of the garden’s reinstallation in the new landscape by the complex. Kim and Bickson have been tending to the garden this summer, work Bickson describes as rewarding. “Seeing literal physical growth is really awesome,” she says.

Kim has even found a little piece of home in it, which has helped her with homesickness. “My favorite part is the Korean perillas,” she says, “because my grandma grew them ever since I was young.” She encourages all students to seek enjoyment in the landscape. “Right after your classes in the Science Center, go out and appreciate the environment,” she says. “Go, take some things, take a little nibble, maybe look at plants that remind you of home.” (Of course, do not eat any plants you aren’t completely sure is safe and edible. Look for signage! The Edible Ecosystem is one spot that includes informational signs about the plants located there.)