Mary Hirshfeld came to Cornell Plantations in 1977, working part time as a plant records manager while pursuing her MS in horticulture. Prior to that she worked as a plant production manager for a design-build nursery in southern Indiana and held internships at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, England, and at the Barnes Foundation in the Philadelphia area. She also has an undergraduate degree from Cornell in landscape architecture.
Mary was hired as full-time plant records manager following the completion of her graduate degree in 1980. “I have been lucky to have experienced Plantations as a dynamic workplace of change as new gardens have been developed, buildings renovated, and the new Welcome Center completed,” says Mary. “For many years I supervised the botanical garden staff, and I’ve had the opportunity to work with many dedicated, talented gardeners.” Now, as the Plantations' director of horticulture, she has responsibility for developing and overseeing the care of the plant collections throughout the botanical gardens and arboretum. “In accomplishing these responsibilities I enjoy close collaboration with our landscape designer, Irene Lekstutis, and our manager of horticultural and grounds operations, Jim Mack, as well as a talented staff of horticulturists, plant health care specialists, and certified arborists.”