Chicago Botanic Garden

PHOTO: Celeste VanderMeyPlant Collections — Staff

Celeste VanderMey, B.S.

Supervisor, Plant Records

In her position as plant records supervisor for the Chicago Botanic Garden, Celeste documents the plant collections and provides information about the plants to staff and others. Specifically, she collects data about incoming plants from the horticulture staff, researches plant names, enters records into the computer, and submits label requests to the labeling technician.

With assistance from volunteers, Celeste collects bloom data from all over the Garden and oversees the What's in Bloom feature on the Garden's website. She works on inventory maintenance, plant lists, and statistics. She is also in charge of a cooperative observation station, reporting weather data to the National Weather Service.

Celeste has seen a lot of changes during her more than 30 years at the Garden, which began when she started working as an intern in 1979. "When I arrived, the only completed garden was the Farwell Landscape Garden," she recalls. "We had approximately 20,000 plants at the Garden, representing some 1,000 varieties of plants. Records were kept on index cards and in log books." Now all the Garden's records are computerized, and the collections total 2.4 million plants of more than 9,200 varieties.

Celeste received her bachelor of science degree in horticulture from Michigan State University, after receiving a bachelor of art degree in advertising there.