Where did you get your horticulture education? When you need an answer, where do you turn for information?
I have always enjoyed gardening and have worked in nurseries beginning my junior year in high school and continuing in college. After studying Environmental Chemistry at CWU, I realized I hated working inside as a chemist. I loved plants more and liked the challenge of retail. Speaking about all things science in relation to gardening on a daily basis – what can be more fun than that! You talk bugs and fungus one minute, then it’s off to a discussion on soils, then pruning of fruit trees, perennials for dry shade, and on and on.
When I need to find information on plants I use many of our grower’s websites as well as Great Plant Picks, RHS, Hortsense, American Rhododendron Society, Greer Gardens, and many others. I hate to say it but googling just about anything these days seems to work if you sift through some of the nonsense. I have to admit I am old school and have a number of plant texts I use as well. And some forums are also useful – I love the UBC site for good feedback on plants. If you are a conifer/maple/ rare plant addict nothing is more informative and funny than Buchholz and Buchholz Flora Wonder Blog.
Tell us about your job at the nursery and how long you’ve been there?
I was the Nursery Manager and plant buyer at Wight’s Home and Garden in Lynnwood for nearly 20 years – which provided me experiences in just about everything – certainly what to do and also some of what not to do. Currently I am the General Manager for Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville – a fabulous plant place that is branching out into all things retail. My job is awesome – choosing plants that we carry, stocking garden products with an emphasis on organics, displaying the property, managing staff and trying to pass on our love of gardening to our customers. Perhaps the best part is teaching – speaking to numerous garden clubs and groups each year and conducting 30-40 free Saturday classes at the nursery each year.
What do you love the best about your job?
There are probably too many things I love about my job to list but how about three – seeing all the new plant treasures and gardening products arrive each year. Helping customers solve problems or find that perfect plant for their yard, and conducting classes and seminars.
What’s your biggest challenge at the nursery?
As with most businesses – staffing for sure. It is always hard to find good reliable folks with plant knowledge. As with most nursery businesses – add in the weather. Retail nurseries are so sunshine dependent sometimes it is almost funny. How about it only rains from 10pm until 6am and never on the weekends? On a yearly basis it is always about locating top quality inventory for our customers – some years are certainly easier than others.