As our son grew up and became more independent, I naturally gravitated toward something else to nurture and found gardening. I think this happens to a lot of people: as they and their families grow older, they find something else to take care of or a new creative outlet. I spent a lot of time puttering about in my “garden,” but soon realized I knew nothing about gardening. 

One day, I received an email from Cornell Botanic Gardens inviting me to a special tea for people interested in becoming docents. I attended the tea and discovered that Cornell Botanic Gardens would train me to function as a docent and, as part of that process, teach me about the plants at the Gardens and so much more. All I had to do was apply myself, and I thought, “This is perfect. This is exactly what I need!” I’m normally a cautious person, but such was my interest in the subject that I just thought, “I’m going to do that!” I basically had to start from zero, and there was a lot to learn, but since that first training experience, my passion, interest and enthusiasm have grown and grown. So, my involvement grew out of a consuming interest in plants and gardening, and Cornell Botanic Gardens was a way to feed that interest.

Teresa with a tour group outside of the Nevin Welcome Center

Now I am a Master Gardener, and I teach a few classes for Cornell Cooperative Extension. Everything I learn at the Gardens I can apply to my own gardening. Gardening has become a huge part of my life and my active retirement years, and I love doing all of it; my garden, my role at the Gardens, and my master gardening, they all work together. Cornell Botanic Gardens launched me, it absolutely did, and I’ve built on it, but Cornell Botanic Gardens is my first love. No matter how involved I get with master gardening or my own garden, I always return to Cornell Botanic Gardens as the place where it all started.”

-Teresa Craighead, on how she has grown during her time with the Gardens

Teresa has been a Garden Guide with Cornell Botanic Gardens for over 10 years. Far from the days of “puttering around in her garden knowing nothing,” Teresa now teaches others about plants and gardening through the countless tours she leads at the Gardens as well as the classes she teaches for Cornell Cooperative Extension.



Gavin’s Story!

Gavin Ratliff, a current senior studying landscape architecture, tells us how the design of the Cornell Botanic Gardens and his own passions work together to create enriching experiences.


Kevin’s Story!

Student and Public Engagement Coordinator Kevin Moss tells a heartwarming story stemming from his love for a past tree in the Botanic Gardens.


Gregory’s Story!

Professor Emeritus Gregory Page shares how Cornell Botanic Gardens was integral to teaching his art classes.