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3501 New York Ave NE
Washington, DC, 20002
United States

202-245-2709

Washington Youth Garden

Meet Lily Thomas!

April Martin

Lily has been volunteering with the Youth Garden for the past two years since discovering the garden during her daily afternoon walks through the Arboretum. Lily is a knowledgeable gardener who brings a unique perspective to our garden. She grew up Southern India and has introduced a few new species to the garden. She donated a little gourd plant, which looks and tastes like a mini-cucumber. Little gourd can be used in many dishes and helps to strengthen your gums. In addition to little gourd, Lily also donated curry plant, bitter melon and jasmine. Both the leaves and the fruit of the curry plant are used to season meats and curries in many Indian dishes. After harvesting the leaves and fruit of the curry plant, they can be stored separately and keep for a long time. The bitter melon and jasmine are also staples in Indian dishes. It’s fun to have these plants in our garden adding a little bit of South Indian spice to our bounty!

The garden has also provided a bit of a haven for Lily. She came to the United States in 1985 to be closer to her brother. She enjoys coming to the Youth Garden to walk around and garden because it reminds her of her childhood in India. Additionally, both her daughters and her two grandchildren now live in the D.C. area and she is able to share her passion for gardening with them. Being surrounded by the yard long beans, okra and all the other plants make Lily feel right at home and is the reason Lily comes to visit the garden. Next year she plans to introduce a large gourd plant to the garden, which she promises will amaze us all with its gigantic fruits. We can’t wait for Lily’s next addition!

Lily standing next to the little gourd plant.