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Mary Anne Rokitka thinks she might have been born with a red pen in one hand and pruning shears in the other. The red pen comes in handy as a member of the editorial board of a scientific journal, and she finds great joy in pruning, deadheading, and even pulling weeds in the recently-restored historic landscape.

Mary Anne became a volunteer gardener at Graycliff in the early years when the Graycliff Conservancy first acquired the site in Derby, NY. Years later, she learned about the upcoming Martin House landscape restoration project, and she was all in.

“The scientist in me is drawn to grid patterns and right angles; this might explain why I’m drawn to the work of Frank Lloyd Wright,” explains Mary Anne.

The Buffalo native is a retired physiologist and former educator and administrator at the University at Buffalo. She enjoys international travel, BPO concerts and theater, and spending time in her own garden.

In addition to the landscaping knowledge she has acquired during her time on site, she enjoys being with the other volunteers. She describes these individuals as a dedicated, hardworking, upbeat team who come from all walks of life and share their life stories as they tend to the landscape.

Her favorite plant specimens? Lilies of the valley, angel’s trumpets (Datura), daylilies, sundrops, iris, lilacs, and the Ginkgo trees which take on a golden luster in the fall.

When the weather changes, Mary Anne can also be found inside from time to time, working with the interior beautification team or assisting with the special task of decorating the Christmas tree in the main house for the holidays.

Thank you to Mary Anne Rokitka for six years (and counting) of valuable service to the Martin House.

Interested in hearing about volunteer opportunities at the Martin House?