They say that gardening keeps you young. As you can see from Susan’s photo, that was certainly true.
Susan was a graduate of the 1994 Master Gardener (MG) training class, and for the past 25 years, without fail, she had been in the Hudson office every Wednesday morning answering questions about gardening. In fact, Susan was so dedicated, when we looked at the numbers, we discovered she answered a third of all of the questions called into the hotline for that year.
In addition to her volunteer hours on the phone, this dedicated master gardener worked at every plant swap, taught a class at Spring Gardening Day most years, and helped out with just about every other MG event.
That’s not to say Susan’s expertise was only with plants. Born in Stuttgart, Germany in 1930, Susan emigrated to the U.S. in 1936 with her family. Her parents began a high end children's dress manufacturing company and, as a result, Susan was always exposed to sewing, fabrics and clothing design.
The family lived in Brooklyn, NY and after college Susan married and worked for her parents until she had children. After her parents retired Susan changed course, got a master’s degree in secondary education and taught earth science and biology for 20 years.
After moving to “the country” in 1990, Susan began devoting all her time to gardening, birding and fabric crafts. She had always knitted for her family and added quilting and rug hooking to her repertoire. Over the years she had won many prestigious awards at the County Fair for her hooked rugs and quilts.
Susan’s love of birding began 61 years ago after her daughter was born. As soon as she moved to Hillsdale she joined the Alan Devoe Bird Club, serving on the board and then as president for several years. She had participated in the annual Christmas Bird Count for the Audubon Society for the past 20 years as well as spring Birdathons with her daughter Dorothy. Susan also went on several birding trips to Central America with Dorothy and to Europe and the southwest and northwest of the United States with her husband.
Susan said that since science, gardening and birding go together so well, she had had no conflicts and spent as much time as possible outdoors. The fabric arts were mostly for evenings and for the winter.
In 2003 Susan was asked to join the board of the Roeliff Jansen Community Library and also became the volunteer chief gardener. She planned the initial garden which was comprised of all native plants and just gave up the gardens’ maintenance last year. Previously under her guidance a small team of helpers transplanted, pruned, weeded and mulched several times a year.
During her 25 years volunteering at the Extension Education Center in Hudson, Susan had mentored many new Master Gardeners and was always willing to share her knowledge. Each Master Gardener has their own particular forte and Susan was the go-to person for “name that plant”. When everyone else was stumped the consensus was, “Save it for Susan. She will know and will give you the Latin name for it.”
Susan was one of the most generous people and many of our gardens are full of Susan gifts. When those flowers from her gardens bloom in ours we will remember her and be inspired by her.
With sadness and some wonderful memories of our dear friend,
Donna Peterson and the Master Gardener Volunteers
Last updated August 13, 2019