Tropical Florida Gardens - What's in Bloom at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates?

Tropical Florida Gardens

What's in Bloom at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates?

Volunteer in the Garden!

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On January 4th

Debbie Hughes, Estates Horticulturist, and Wilma, Estates Volunteer, attach an orchid to a palm

We are always looking for extra hands to help us keep the grounds looking beautiful with weeding, raking and planting.  If you have a special interest, like roses, we can put you to work in Mina’s Rose Garden.  And if you love the gardens but not the physical labor that comes with its care , we do need a few volunteers willing to work on special projects within the gardens.  Due to the training involved,  the two positions listed below require a six-month minimum commitment.

Plant paparazzo/paparazza – One volunteer needed to sneak around the grounds on a weekly basis, catching our plants by surprise and snapping their picture while they are blooming.  The Estates will supply the digital camera and at the end of each photo shoot, the paparazzo will download, save, edit and label photos in Microsoft Picture Manger on an Estates computer.  Paparazzo should be comfortable using the different settings on a point-and-shoot digital camera and using Microsoft Picture Manager software without assistance. Personal cameras may be used but cannot be replaced if damaged or lost while the plant paparazzo is on assignment at the Estates.

Sign czar – One person needed to systematically roam the Estates and check each plant’s sign for readability and accuracy.  Signs not meeting the czar’s high standards will be removed and, in consultation with the Plant Curator, replaced.  This is the perfect position for a volunteer who wants to work on the grounds and with plants but doesn’t want to get their hands dirty! It’s helpful that the czar has some knowledge of plants but it is more important that the czar is detail-oriented, especially when it comes to spelling. For example, the czar doesn’t have to know what Caesalpiniaceae are, but should be able to easily recognize the difference between the words Caesalpiniaceae and Caesalpineaceae.  Czar must be able to bend and stoop frequently and be comfortable using Microsoft Word and laser printers without assistance.

If you’re interested in either of these positions or just want more information about volunteering at the Estates, please contact Holly Shaffer, Volunteer Coordinator, to fill out an application.  She can be reached at  You can also call 239-334-7419 and ask for Holly or Bobby.

Volunteer benefits include:

-Twenty percent discount at the Museum Store (excluding sale items).
-Several volunteer appreciation events and outings throughout the year.
-Meeting other volunteers and visitors of the Estates.
-Complimentary Estates Family Membership (good for admission at other gardens in the U.S.) after completing 100 hours of volunteer service.
-Free Estates Guest Passes in accordance with hours served.
-Gift certificates to the Museum Store in accordance with the amount of hours donated.
Britta Hanson Soderqvist, Plant Curator

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