Thanks to a 19-year-old tradition started by Friends of the Botanic Garden, every first-year student receives a certificate for a free ivy plant when she arrives on campus. Inside their orientation packets, new Smith students are greeted with a card reading: “An ivy plant awaits you at Lyman Conservatory with greetings from the Friends of the Botanic Garden of Smith College. Please bring this card with you. Come in the front entrance of the Lyman Plant House and follow the ivy signs.”

Upon visiting Lyman, students are guided through a maze of signs into the deep recesses of the greenhouses, where their ivies await. An ivy care sheet accompanies the plants with tips on how to grow it properly.

The Gate video team followed a trio of first-years two years ago when they arrived and followed instructions to claim their ivy plants.