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As the end of the year draws near, the American Botanical Council (ABC) extends its heartfelt gratitude to all the people and businesses that have given their time and energy, or have donated materials, to ABC’s medicinal demonstration gardens. ABC deeply appreciates its volunteers and donors and could not easily do without them, but in these times of decreased volunteerism and economic stress, ABC depends on them more than ever.

At the beginning of the school year in September 2003, a group of special education students from McCallum High School in Austin began visiting ABC on a weekly basis to volunteer in the gardens. They continued to come throughout the school year and have returned this fall semester. Each week three to five strong and energetic young men help ABC gardener Nathanael Sponseller by hauling rocks, mulch, and compost. On one visit they transplanted Coreopsis lanceolata , a native Texas wildflower, from various locations to a narrow sunny garden bed near one of the parking lots that receives reflected heat. Now everyone who parks in that lot gets to see these sunny, nodding flowers almost year round.

Other volunteers of note this past year include Summer Chartiér, a botany student at the University of Texas at Austin, who gave more than 75 hours of her time to weeding and planting in ABC’s gardens, and was the focus of an article on volunteers in HerbalGram #62. ABC is also thankful for the members of the University of Texas Nutrition and Wellness Association who spent a day weeding the Fragrance Garden, for Matthew Basel who spent a few days cleaning our greenhouse and preparing our seeding flats for this fall’s planting frenzy, for Isaac Silverman who spent a few days spreading mulch, and for Nichole Gauna who organized all the photos of the gardens that have been accumulating over the past six years. As always, ABC is grateful to its interns for the time they spend in the gardens. (See related article this issue.)

As with volunteers, donations of garden supplies are greatly appreciated. This past year ABC was fortunate to receive generous support from Advanced Organic Materials of Austin, Texas, in the form of 20 yards of mulch for the gardens. Mulching almost an acre of gardens to conserve moisture in the summer is a daunting prospect, but mulching the gardens with donated materials takes some of the sting out of the job. ABC is also grateful to the Natural Gardener ( and its owner, John Dromgoole, for their ongoing support. This year the Natural Gardener provided ABC with a yard of Lady Bug Natural Brand Hill Country Garden Soil and a couple of gallons of John’s Recipe™ Liquid Fertilizer. A real boon to the ABC Children’s Garden was the unexpected gift of three pounds of earthworms from Mei Ling Lee. For the organic garden, earthworms are a necessity and the more the better. Thanks also go out to Christianson Service Company for the maintenance they provided on ABC’s rainwater harvesting system.

Residents of the Austin area who want to volunteer at ABC, or would like to make a donation to the gardens, are encouraged to call ABC at 512-926-4900 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE 512-926-4900end_of_the_skype_highlighting.