Letter from Judy Hunt, President Emeritus of Botanica




Dear Friends,

Spring is just around the corner and I know that many of you are looking forward to getting your hands dirty in the garden again! Lots of exciting things have been happening at Botanica in the past few months and we’re excited to be starting another year with you.

Here’s a quick re-cap of some of the highlights from the past few months as well as a few things coming up in the near future:

  • Our board has grown in number with the addition of several new board members. We’ve added a lot of talent and enthusiasm to the board and expect a lot of great things to come from this team.
  • Last fall we worked with a consulting firm to complete our strategic plan
    for the garden project. This puts us one step closer to seeing the garden project become a reality.
  • We hosted a lecture by Dan Heims at the Crescent Hill Woman’s Club in
    October. This was a great event enjoyed by all. Dan’s knowledge and wit
    made the event a real success.
  • We decided on a name for the botanical garden and conservatory that will
    be built at the intersection of River Road and Frankfort Avenue – it will be called Waterfront Botanical Gardens! It’s going to be great!
  • In January, the board elected Brian Voelker as the new president of Botanica. I’m excited to remain on the board as a board member and President Emeritus.
    It’s been an honor to lead Botanica for so many years. I am excited to pass the gavel on to Brian and know that he will do an excellent job leading our organization forward!
  • In April, Botanica will be helping Louisville Public Media (the parent
    company of our great radio stations, WFPK, WFPL and WUOL), with their
    spring pledge drive. We’ve signed up to help them answer phones on
    Saturday, April 9, from 9am – 11am.


You can read an interview with me about my time with Botanica, my hopes for Waterfront Botanical Gardens and my plans for all of my newly found “free-time”below.

More news about the Waterfront Botanical Gardens and our new president will be shared in our forthcoming newsletter due out in March! In the meantime, if you
have not renewed your 2011 membership for Botanica you can do so now by
clicking here. Be sure to find us on facebook and “like” us!

Happy gardening,

Judith Hunt

President Emeritus


Interview with Judy Hunt, President Emeritus

Tell us about how you became involved in gardening. 

Like many gardeners, I first became interested in flowers when I was very young. Both of my grandmothers loved flowers and passed that affection along to me. Early on, one of them gave me a potted sansevieria – a house plant that most call either “Snake Plant” or “Mother-In-Law’s Tongue”. I tended it so well that it soon died and I learned the hard way that it’s one of those plants that thrives on neglect! 

 Each year my dad planted a large vegetable garden with a long row of zinnias
at the front. A favorite activity of mine was to cut bouquets for my mother. One day my father caught me doing this when he had his camera and was able to capture a photographic record of my childhood passion.  

I have a great love of irises that began during my childhood. One time my musician parents visited Birmingham to play music at a church revival and one of the members took them on a tour of her garden and gave them a collection of iris rhizomes they greatly admired. My dad planted them in our back yard and each spring we got to enjoy their wonderful fragrance filling the air. To this day irises are my favorite flower –
though the newer ones do not look much like those earlier ones.

My husband and I were both founding members of two local daylily societies and are members of the Louisville Area Iris Society, Louisville Area Daylily Society, Hostas of Kentuckiana, and the Kentucky Daffodil and Bulb Society. We are also members of the American Iris Society and the Historic Iris Preservation Society. Obviously, we share our passion for flower gardening! We tried to grow a vegetable garden when we moved to our new house many years ago but soon gave up since we live in an area
with many deer and other garden-eating “critters.” It is difficult to grow flowers, too, but we try as best we can. 

 When did you first get involved with Botanica? 

In 1991, I served on a committee made up of members from three local flower societies. We worked together on an event named “Panorama” that raised funds and provided educational opportunities for gardeners. After doing that for two years we decided that we needed to re-focus our efforts as an organization. We wanted to act as a contact point for horticultural information in the area and decided a name change was in order. Ultimately “Botanica” was chosen. In 1993, we applied for a 501(c) 3 designation and received the permanent papers in 2005. Botanica has continued to evolve over the years and our focus now is to see “Waterfront Botanical Gardens” become a reality.

 Why have you chosen to remain on the board of directors for Botanica? 

Louisville needs a botanical garden and conservatory! It is the only city of its size that does not have that amenity. In addition to its very positive economic impact for the region, residents and visitors alike will enjoy it immensely. I am very happy that I can still serve Botanica and work to help make this happen. I have a great passion for the project and am willing to help as long as I am needed and able.

What is one feature you’d like to see included at Waterfront Botanical Gardens once it is built? 

In addition to the conservatory that I think we must have, I would love to see a “Family Garden,” which would offer fun, unique opportunities for parents, grandparents and children to share experiences as they learn about plants and gardening. I believe this
setting would be a joy for all visitors – both children and adults.

What are you going to do with all of your free time now? 

Um…free time? I am not sure where I will find much of that! Brian has asked me to serve as Chairman of the Development Committee, and as Immediate Past President, I will also serve on the Executive Committee. I imagine I will stay pretty busy with those responsibilities, but I am not complaining. When I do find some time, I will probably be in our garden pulling weeds and “smelling the flowers.”