Why We Give: Joy and Rick

Connecting the Garden’s History to the Future

Joy and Rick MollRick and Joy in the Temperate House

Joy and Rick Moll sometimes view the Missouri Botanical Garden from an unusual angle: the past. As a native St. Louisan, Rick remembers the creation of some of the Garden’s iconic landmarks, including the Climatron®. From the early days of their marriage, he and Joy made extensive use of the Plant Finder database, Gardening Help services, and William T. Kemper Center for Home Gardening. The couple also takes a variety of classes and tours, including tours of the Garden’s library and archive. But one aspect of the Garden seems to tie all the others together.

“It’s the history, really,” says Rick. “It’s fascinating to understand Henry Shaw’s interests and how this all came to be.”

Several years ago, Joy contracted to work with Garden archivist Andrew Colligan on a special project related to the photography of Jack Jennings. Afterward, she and Rick both began volunteering in the archives, accessing a great deal of Garden history along the way.

“You can read a lot of old Bulletins while photos are digitizing,” Rick says. He became more and more interested in the early history of the Garden, particularly around Henry Shaw’s museum. Joy shared that enthusiasm for the museum.

“I’m quite interested in the Victorian curio cabinet,” she says. “The museum is a grand version of that, writ large.”

The couple was excited to connect with President Dr. Peter Wyse Jackson and learn of his desire to reopen Shaw’s museum as part of the Garden for the World campaign. They made a gift to support that effort. “We really appreciated his perspective and his appreciation for the history. The space has so much potential; it’ll be great to see it in use again.”

Joy and Rick also took the opportunity to travel with Dr. Wyse Jackson to Ireland and France, learning more about his perspectives on history, architecture, and the international role of botanical gardens in plant science and conservation. They were delighted to find so many of their interests embodied in the work of the Garden. With these deep and varied connections, the couple decided to make the Garden a beneficiary of their estate and join the Heritage Society.

“We wanted to make one gift that supported education, local development, the environment, and the work in all the countries where the Garden has botanical projects,” Joy says. “The Garden is a world-class institution, and a collaborative one. It’s an impressive legacy.”