It’s One Thing to Be a Plant Parent. It’s Another to Be a Wellesley Plant Parent.

March 11, 2020

Whether they are nurturing succulents or ferns or potato plants, green-thumbed members of the Wellesley community bring the spirit of caregiving into their spaces and routines. All first-years receive a plant from the College’s Botanic Gardens during orientation; for those who commit to cultivating them, the plants provide a reminder of the growth that takes place over the course of an undergraduate career. For some faculty members, office plants they have kept alive for decades serve as a tie to their earliest days on campus. Some Wellesley students and faculty have even gone the extra mile and built filtration and hydration systems to keep their plants healthy through winter months of dry indoor heat.

Meet some of Wellesley’s plant parents and their progeny. 

A professor waters her plants

Corinne Gartner, associate professor of philosophy, has been filling her office with plants since she arrived on campus in 2011.

“My plants are a little taste of nature in my office. I like being outside, but if I have to be inside, I like being inside with plants.”

A student stands by her plants that sit in a window

Hana Sugioka ’21 seeks to bring some of the beauty of Wellesley’s 500 acres into her dorm room. 

“I actually wrote my Wellesley admission essay about the flora on campus. I’m from a dry climate and I remember being so overwhelmed by the greenery on campus in the summer. When I move through campus, I try to listen to the plants. I feel like they can tell me so much about the weather and the day.” 

A professor looks at her plants

Alison McIntyre, Virginia Onderdonk ’29 Professor of Philosophy, examines her hedge of plants on her office windowsill. 

“Some of my plants are descendants of some succulents I bought in tiny pots at a plant sale at Schneider in 1988—my first year here! I love watching them grow and figuring out if I can make them happy.”