Date posted: 26 November 2015
In light of Helena's recent Friends of the Botanic Gardens lifetime membership, we thought we'd touch base with the Garden Guide, volunteer gardener, swimmer and former Gardens Board member. Here's what Helena had to say.
I joined the Friends in 2001 and became a Garden Guide in 2003. Why? I went on two guided walks taken by my brother and decided it was a hobby I could do once retiring from teaching.
I love meeting people who share a love of plants, nature and the Botanic Gardens. I really enjoy the research [for guided walks] and then sharing it with others - I can't stop teaching! Who wouldn't love a hobby in such a beautiful place? I'm also passionate about my family and friends, reading, listening to music (classical mainly), watching ballet, gardening, swimming, the environment and talking, of course.
Being part of hosting the Australasian Garden Guide Conference in 2007 and seeing the delegates' appreciation of our three Gardens. The little girl who asked me, "Does the Queen live there?" There being the Palm House.
At Adelaide I adore the Nelumbo Pond each summer and the Aussie Forest any time for its majestic trees and quiet ambience. The Mallee Section in spring reminds me of my childhood in the country. Mount Lofty's always superb, but in autumn it's breathtaking. I also love the smell of the bush at Wittunga and when the native birds are deafening with their calls feeding on Eucalypts.
Although Wittunga's dry in summer, you should experience the wonderful aroma of the vaporising oils in the plant leaves. Mount Lofty's a real sanctuary on hot days. In Adelaide the Aussie Forest and the Santos Museum of Economic Botany are cool refuges from the sun.