Vicky Lee Springman (left) is our volunteer landscape architect, gardener, weed-puller, and all around joy-bringer at EAGLE. This labor of love is just as meaningful to her as it is to us.

Susan Thompson (right) has been in the “Ducky Office” since before most of us can remember. She took a moment to speak with Vicky and find out what drives her to donate her time and expertise to EAGLE School.

When did you begin caring for the EAGLE School landscape?  

Our oldest daughter, Abby (’02), came to EAGLE in 1998 after not finding her public school experience to be challenging enough. It was truly a wonderful change for her. Later, our other daughter, Laura (’08), started in the nest in 2000. All in all, the positive experience that both girls had while at EAGLE has stuck with them to this day. 

So why do I give so much time to care for the EAGLE gardens and landscape? I do it because I appreciate the education provided to my children. Of course, I also do it because I enjoy it. I am free to do just about whatever I would like (within reason!) and so whenever I see areas that could use some work, I have the freedom and the flexibility to do what I think is best. 

How did you develop your knowledge in plants and gardening?

I started as a child, and because of the time and area I grew up in, gardening was part of our daily lives. My mother and aunts were very knowledgeable about gardens and plants and so I learned through osmosis.  And I continue to learn every day, especially about the plants that grow best here at EAGLE, and about those that are invasive or dangerous and should be removed. 

Tell us a bit about your routine here.    

I plant flowers in the spring, mostly annuals, and then throughout the year, I check on perennials, making sure they are generously mulched, because most of them are in southern exposure and near brick which increases the heat in the summer. Spring and summer are my favorite times of the year but I try to make sure our landscape has some color all year round.  I also trim the bushes to create shapes and remove dead branches. Of course, I make sure the plants are watered and weeded, and I maintain some rock edges that I installed to help prevent erosion. 

Which do you enjoy the most?  Why?

I love to work outside and I enjoy most of the jobs I do at EAGLE because I can be creative and enhance the look of this school, warming up the entrances and the grounds and creating a welcoming environment. 

I also enjoy learning about the plants, identifying new plants, and I would like to continue learning and adding to my knowledge.

Which do you enjoy the least?   Why?

Sometimes mother nature is not very cooperative. For example, the retention pond flooded once and killed so many plants. This in turn allowed very invasive plants to take over. As you can imagine, some of these invasives are difficult to get rid of. 

I also don’t enjoy dealing with some diseases and insect infestations that have occurred and killed some of the plants.

Are there areas around the school that you would like to change or develop into a new garden?

I have enjoyed working with the retention pond (for many years there was no pond), especially because the grasses and other plants did so well there. Also, I would like to work on the new area by the auditorium entrance. Again, this would require some new learning, and I love that. 

What would be your advice to a student in EAGLE School who wanted to become a gardener like you? 

Help others that know about plants. Firsthand work with planting and leaning names, soil contents, and having fun with the learning. 

Any final words?

Thanks to EAGLE for being a school that accepts students that need more stimulation and no bullying because they are “different”.

Thanks for letting me work here!