Volunteer Spotlight: Denise Joseph
Sep 06

Volunteer Spotlight: Denise Joseph

By Genesis Harshell

Phipps is well-known for our beautiful gardens, seasonal flower shows, pioneering sustainability initiatives, informative educational programs and community outreach. None of our work, however, would be possible without the knowledge and dedication of our volunteers. In this series of profiles, we meet some of the people who give their time to make Phipps possible.

Denise Joseph was born and raised in the Pittsburgh area with a love for her family, helping others and nature! She recently retired after spending her life helping children as a Speech and Language Therapist as well as an associate professor educating others about communication disorders.

Outside of her career, Denise has always had a love for gardening and nature. She states that, “As long as I can remember, gardening was just part of what my family did.” Starting as a young child aiding her grandfather with his tomato plants or admiring her mother’s flowers in the backyard, gardening and being close to nature was always a part of Denise’s life. When the time came for Denise and her husband to buy a home, having a large space to be able to garden and tend to plants was one of the most important things they were looking for!

Part of Denise’s love for plants also stems from the annual visit her family took to the Phipps Spring Flower Show each year. It was something that started when Denise was a child and was a tradition she and her husband continued with their own children. Denise states that, “we purchased both a brick in the discovery garden and a “piece of glass” to have the family be “a part” of Phipps for years to come.” By 2014, Denise knew that Phipps would be the perfect place to volunteer where she could celebrate her current love for plants and beautiful memories from her past.

Since starting as a volunteer in 2014, Denise has done a variety of wonderful work. She has helped with things such as: show installations, our Pot-a-Plant Program, working in the greenhouses, seeding plants and vegetables and even assisting in many courses in Botany Hall Kitchen! With this vast array of experience, Denise has come to love seeing and learning about all the pieces that go into creating the bigger picture here at Phipps. She says, “My favorite part of volunteering at Phipps is observing and participating in the many aspects of what goes on behind the scenes for all the shows and events. Growing up I only saw the finished product and did not even think about what has to happen for a show or event to take place.” Denise can’t wait to continue doing her part to help make Phipps a memorable experience!