About Linda Jones
Eye contact and an exchange of smiles: all the cues Linda Jones needs this Sunday afternoon to tap her badge and say to the visitors, “Hi! I’m a Garden Guide, can I help you with anything?”
A question about the Redwoods just ahead becomes a discussion about why they still rank as “baby Redwoods” and that becomes a discussion of Garden history in general. By the time the couple walk on, they’re smiling ear to ear and bubbling their thanks.
It’s exactly this kind of interaction that brought Linda into our volunteer ranks seven years ago. “I was visiting one Sunday, and I met Malcolm Hunter. He made the tour experience so rich!” Until June, Linda was a Sunday cart driver but then, with cart tours cancelled and with encouragement from Anne Eng (Sunday Cart Driving Captain), she pivoted to Roving Guide instead. Linda praises Anne’s support; Anne praises Linda’s commitment and impact. “Linda has almost single-handedly covered guiding for us, and she has had interactions with many dozens of appreciative Garden visitors on each shift.”
With 20 years’ experience as a children’s story teller in the public library system, Linda knows how to draw people in, share information they’ll find interesting. This particular Sunday, she shows a young Australian male visitor the Vitex agnus-castus, right there beside him. “It’s called the Chaste Tree,” she explains. “Pliny the Elder believed it dampened sexual ardour.” The Aussie roars with laughter. What a tale for his mates back home!
Another happy visitor, and a happy Linda as well. “At first I thought I’d do this to the end of November, but now… I think I’ll keep going as long as the weather makes it possible.
Written by Penny Williams, Volunteer Writer