A Summer At The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

August 01, 2023

Between the months of May and August, five undergraduate students participated in the Landscape Scholars Summer Internship program through the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. During the 13 week program, interns devoted their time to partnering with members of the horticultural science community. This internship provides networking opportunities, a chance to explore new areas of plant science, and hands-on horticultural experience. 

After an exciting summer filled with a variety of projects, interns reflected on their work and involvement with the internship program, talking about their favorite aspects of this summer learning opportunity. 

Patrick McMullen weeding a hosta garden.
Patrick McMullen in the hosta garden at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Patrick McMullen: Senior Plant Science Major: “I’ve been working on a variety of different projects from Lilac propagation to landscaping to bud grafting with the apple breeding team. My favorite part of this internship has been talking to industry professionals. I’ve learned a lot about what kinds of career paths are available for someone with my degree.”

Tyler Wellens, Junior Plant Science Major: “I had the opportunity to work with the curation team and herbarium this summer taking pictures of plants and keeping records and samples. I loved the curatorial work and discovered that I really enjoyed doing research in the lab this summer.”

Connor Hennen, Junior in Plant Science Major: “This summer I spent a lot of time with Steve McNamara working on his Weigela project. I primarily helped look at different parent crosses to evaluate the leaf coloration to try and better understand which genes control the leaf color. My favorite part of this internship has been getting to see and interact with so many different plant varieties.”

Connor Hennen measures trees at the Arboretum
Connor Hennen measures tree diameters at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
Jo Evans working in the lab
Jo Evans prepares orchid roots for fungi testing in the lab at the Horticultural Research Center

Zach Miech, Junior Plant Science Major: “Over the past few weeks I’ve spent a lot of time working on landscaping at the Arboretum. I’ve been weeding, pruning, and helping maintain natural trails in the Japanese Garden. I even got to help improve the dog park by adding enrichment objects like logs for dogs to jump on! The best part of this internship has been getting to be outside every day, touching plants and smelling flowers.” 

Jo Evans, Junior Plant Science Major: “This summer I worked closely with the orchid team and was able to test soils in the wildflower garden to try and identify the best location for planting Lady Slippers. My favorite part of my internship this year was learning about the parasitic relationship between orchids and fungi. I even got to spend time in the lab testing orchid rootstock for fungi.”