Why We Give: Lise

Gardener Plans Beautiful Future 

Lise Herren

Harry and Ginny DuffyLise Herren recently returned home to St. Louis after spending her summer planting, pruning, weeding, watering, mulching, fertilizing and otherwise caring for 1,750 blueberry bushes in Minnesota.

The berries represent a new chapter in Lise’s life. She has taken her penchant for gardening and turned it into a full-time commitment. The former executive for Anheuser-Busch credits her college degrees in agriculture and economics, her father, and the Missouri Botanical Garden with influencing her transition from corporate life to blueberry farm.

“My dad loved to garden,” she says. “When he came to St. Louis to visit, the Garden was always one of the places he wanted to go.”

While it may have been her father, Bill Poirier, that led her here, Lise also spent summer evenings at the Garden, enjoying what was then “Jazz in June” and is now the Whitaker Music Festival.

“The more time I spent at the Garden, the more I felt connected to it,” she says. “I just enjoyed being in this beautiful space.”

In the late 1990s, Lise made the decision to name the Garden in her estate plans, a decision reinforced by her time as a volunteer leader on the Members’ Board.

“I was only in my late 30s, but I wanted to get my finances in order.” Lise says. “I have a short list of charities and, with the exception of the Garden, the rest are focused on the welfare of animals. The Garden was an easy choice to include, as it has always given me such great joy. I wanted to see that it was there for the enjoyment of future generations. I am so impressed with the caliber and commitment of the Garden staff, their fiscal responsibility, and the breadth and quality of activities offered to members.”

Whether strolling through the Garden or tending to her blueberries at her Minnesota farm, Lise delights in the sights and smells of nature. She hopes her bequest will make it possible for others to enjoy the same pleasures well into the future.