This month Selby Gardens welcomes new Gardens Manager, Mary Albanese, who is very excited to contribute her 22 years of landscape supervisory experience to the Gardens.
Albanese comes to Selby Gardens most recently from The Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo, Fl. in a similar role. With other gardens and landscape management in Palm Beach and the Tampa Bay area, Albanese is well versed in subtropical climates, however she is excited to plunge into the world of epiphytes here at Selby Gardens.
“Of course I’ve known of Selby Gardens for ages, and when your in the horticultural world, your vacations consist of garden tours, but to be able to work here is a completely different experience,” Albanese said.
What attracted her to the position was of course the property, but more importantly the people.
“I saw how well the team worked together and the mission they’re on to grow Selby Gardens and how much they care,” Albanese said.
Albanese’s own experience working in growing garden locales will round out the outdoor gardens team. A native of the Chicago area, Albanese has been part of projects that maintain beautiful grounds throughout large construction projects, most notably the University of Chicago. As Selby Gardens approaches its multi-phase master site plan to protect our collections and increase our green space, that frame of reference will be key to maintaining a clean, safe environment throughout our property.
One thing Albanese isn’t so sure of yet, though, is her favorite Florida plant family. While hydrangeas and dogwoods have her heart in the northern climate, she is taking her time to see what family will capture her imagination. That careful, thoughtful, even analytical disposition is what first pointed her toward a career in horticulture as a child.
“I was always collecting fall leaves in grade school, or looking a flowers asking ‘How does this grow?’ or “Why does it do that?’,” Albanese said.
Solving puzzles led Albanese to earn many advanced certifications in her profession, including natural lawn care, disaster management and pest and disease prevention. Look to find Albanese throughout the grounds, and don’t be shy about saying hello, or even suggesting a plant family for her to consider as a local favorite. She is taking recommendations.