Historic Oakland Foundation is happy to welcome one of our newest staff members, Abra Lee. Abra joined the Foundation in January as our new director of horticulture! She will be working with our gardens team to continue to grow the horticulture program and to take Oakland’s grounds to the next level. Get to know Abra a bit in the interview below:
What is your educational and professional background?
I am a storyteller and author of the forthcoming book, Conquer The Soil: Black America and the Untold Stories of Our Country’s Gardeners, Farmers, and Growers. I have spent a whole lotta time in the dirt as a municipal arborist and airport landscape manager. My work has been featured in publications including The New York Times, Fine Gardening, and Veranda Magazine. I’m a graduate of Auburn University College of Agriculture and an alumna of the Longwood Gardens Society of Fellows, a global network of public horticulture professionals.
What drew you to Oakland when you first applied?
I love that Oakland is a cultural attraction that defines the story of Atlanta and the story of the South.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Read and travel.
What inspires you about your new role?
That anything is possible. There is nothing that the gardens team cannot achieve.
So far, what’s your favorite spot in Oakland?
The view from the Bell Tower balcony.
Can you talk a little bit about your experience in and passion for horticulture?
My passion for horticulture came from two place. Spending my weekends growing up on my family’s farm in Barnesville, Georgia. When we weren’t in Barnesville I spent my weekends growing up in Atlanta riding around to all of the parks in the city with my Dad.
What are you most excited for when it comes to joining and expanding our gardens program here?
That our goal is for Oakland Cemetery to be known as one of the great gardens of the world.