Landscape Services donates more than 400 plants to Dell Medical School and Dell Seton Medical Center staff

Recently, Landscape Services donated plants to Dell Medical School (DMS) and Dell Seton Medical Center staff to honor their critical work during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. The idea sprang from an excess of plants in the greenhouses, and Landscape Services’ DMS supervisor Justin Hayes saw an opportunity to find new homes for the plants while giving back to the community his team supports. 

“We generally have seven events every year where we give away plants and compost tea to the students and staff. Since some events were canceled, I asked if we could give the remaining plants to the healthcare workers of the Medical District and the hospital to show our appreciation for them,” Hayes said.  

DMS Landscape Services staff has worked closely with the Dell Medical district from its inception to create a beautiful, sustainable landscape. Hayes saw the engagement of DMS staff with the surrounding landscape immediately upon completion because DMS has a unique landscape that interests people. His team has the opportunity to explain the landscaping and that it is the first in the state to get Sites Certified gold status, which means the DMS landscape is sustainably maintained and 100% native to Central Texas.

“People in the neighboring buildings take a break from being indoors and go outside into nature. They ask gardening questions and interact with my staff. Since there is a lot of diversity in the landscape, they have a lot to ask about. They’re interested in us because we’re different,” he said.

The plants slotted for donation were primarily indoor tropical plants. According to horticulturist and installation supervisor Ty Kasey, the plants were getting too big for their containers.

They “needed to either move to larger containers or find new homes,” Kasey said. “Now was an ideal time to share them.”

The donation event required careful collaboration across specialties within Landscape Services. Kasey’s team created a list of plants and loaded them in the truck bound for DMS. Urban forestry supervisor Jennifer Hrobar created signs and QR codes with plant information that were posted at the tables. Landscape Services staff unloaded the plants; some were set out at the Health Learning Building Plaza for DMS staff to take, while the rest were loaded on carts bound for Dell Seton Medical Center.

Landscape Services Manager Jim Carse had a positive impression of the service, stewardship and teamwork exemplified by the donation event.

“Working with the DMS and Seton staff was great. They were so grateful to receive the plants, and it made me feel like we really gave back to our co-workers at DMS and the frontline healthcare staff at Dell Seton Hospital,” Carse said.

Hayes was equally pleased with the outcome of sharing the plants.

“It’s always a pleasure when we do these events. I feel like we really brighten their day. I mean, who doesn’t like plants? Especially free ones!” he said.

Facilities Services leaders were gratified not only with the use of the excess greenhouse plants, but also the sentiment behind donating them.

“Events of the heart benefit all involved, particularly during times of uncertainty and crisis. As we all continue to navigate the path of COVID-19, Landscape Services positively impacted the most directly affected staff--our healthcare employees. We could not get through this pandemic without their tireless and dedicated efforts,” said Bridget Blizzard, Associate Director of Landscape & Integrated Building Services. 

“It’s amazing how a small plant can generate a big smile and a lot of hope! FAS Core Values are clearly evident in this considerate gesture by Landscape Services,” she said.

Landscape Services’ Dell Medical School Supervisor Justin Hayes helps ready plants for donation.
Landscape Services’ Dell Medical School Supervisor Justin Hayes helps ready plants for donation.
June 10, 2020