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A 30-year tribute to Cindy Robbins, Asticou Azalea Garden Gardener

From that first meeting with Cindy, in late fall of 1989, I knew we were in good hands. We were both eager to start and Cindy brought an extra seven years of garden experience, and skills with perennials that I lacked. Neither of us knew what we were in for, as the garden delivered its share of both trials and blessings.

Cindy has been an ever-present stabilizing force for Asticou, with plenty of humor and insight, and occasionally a wild and engaging theater character from a local production to brighten a dull day. Her specialty has been the Sand Garden. Truly no crewmember rakes it as beautifully as Cindy; her lines sparkle with even, fluid perfection. Counting the Sundays since that first May of 1990, Cindy has raked the Sand Garden 780 times, but the real number is much higher as a simple rainstorm would call her back to do it again, or a dog managed to dig a hole in the sand, the racoons had a nighttime tussle there, or a child had meandered across.

Understanding the garden from the inside out, there has been no conundrum that Cindy could not mitigate or shift with bright perspective. I have learned to listen for her characteristic “Now, Mary…” a cautionary hint that occurs mid-project when I have missed something important. An honest appraisal of what could go wrong is always golden, and ever welcome.

Every crew member who has worked with Cindy has loved her, along with our garden feline Buster, for many happy years. As mornings are her specialty, the paths have been a canvas for her daily offering and many an entranced visitor has reveled in Cindy’s expressive lines, noting the watery flow she captures so well. As longevity plays well in gardens, may Cindy Robbins continue to dance through Asticou, charming us all the way.

Mary Roper, Asticou Azalea Garden Manager

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