Gardening Community Steps in to Keep UAMS Beautiful

By Katrina Dupins

In this time of anxiety about the future, the flowers’ beauty did not go unnoticed.


Talbert shows some of the perennials planted on the UAMS campus.

“There was so much concern and uncertainty,” said UAMS Landscape Manager Penny Talbert. “Many people saw me and thanked me. Just seeing the tulips all over the campus served as a bright spot for their day.”

But budgets are tight across the board this year because of the pandemic, and landscaping is not essential. However, folks in the green industry are a tight-knit group and stepped up at the first opportunity to help.

Janet Carson, master gardener and retired horticultural specialist for the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension, asked gardeners around the state for donations to help in beautification efforts.

Truckloads of donated plants for UAMS poured into local nurseries like The Good Earth Garden Center and Cantrell Gardens. Pulaski County and Faulkner County master gardeners gave about 20 trays of colorful flowers and plants. River Valley Horticultural Products donated flats of flowers from their own inventory.

flower donations

Gardeners and nurseries donate plants to UAMS landscaping.

“I’m a flower person, so it always makes me happy,” Talbert said. “I knew in our uncertainty that it would be good to have something to smile about. All my gardening friends knew how important it is and wanted to help UAMS because of the great things it’s doing for the state of Arkansas.”

Talbert is no stranger to going above and beyond in her job. She was selected as the February 2020 MVP because of her work spearheading an after-hours project that paid tribute to the neighborhood surrounding UAMS.