Landscape Maintenance Professional Ann Gilpin
Tell us about your business or line of work?
I currently own my own fine gardening business called Cultivate. My work focuses on fine gardening maintenance, design and installation, coaching, pruning, and project management with landscapers and designers.
Do you feel it’s important to network in the horticulture industry and how do you network?
Absolutely! It’s important to network especially when you are getting started. I stay in contact with horticulture students I went to school with. We help each other stay on top of workshops and events in the industry. We’ve also helped each other navigate the ins and outs of business license applications, insurance, materials resources, landscaper and bookkeeper referrals and general support. I also network with other gardeners in the Seattle area. It’s nice to know other the work of other fine gardeners and landscapers so I can refer them to potential clients.
“…the best part of my job is the peace and quiet of working in the gardens without interruption. I’ve enjoyed getting to know my clients and I appreciate the trust they have in me…”
Where did you get your Hort. Education and would you recommend it to others? Why was it good for you?
I attended Lake Washington Institute of Technology (LWIT). About one third of the students in the class were over 50 years old like myself. It was inspiring to be around people who were also changing careers and to see how they applied their skills from their previous work to the horticultural business. The combination of ages really made for a great community and work environment. The integrated style of learning made a big difference for me as well. There was a variety of activities that allowed for hands-on experiences. We’d study n the classroom and then we’d go do the work applied what we just learned in the field – like propagation in the campus greenhouses, field trips to the arboretum, local nurseries, and to work with and learn from industry professionals. LWIT provided me with a broad view of all the possibilities I could choose to pursue with my horticulture degree. I was impressed with the program, the teachers and staff, and the quality of the information provided and would highly recommend LWIT to others interested in pursuing such a degree.
How do you keep your knowledge and skills up to date?
I attend workshops/events I find through WSNLA publications, from the Green Gardening Program with Seattle Public utilities, by attending Plant Amnesty lectures, and by keeping in close contact with my peers and former classmates from LWIT to find out what classes, lectures, and publications have been useful to them.
What do you love the best about your job?
I retired from teaching after almost 30 years in the classroom so the best part of my job is the peace and quiet of working in the gardens without interruption. I’ve enjoyed getting to know my clients and I appreciate the trust they have in me. It’s exciting to watch the gardens grow and change. I also have really enjoyed getting to know the workers in the industry. I love going to get a load of soil, or pots at the container warehouse, or to the nurseries for plants and talking with the staff. It’s quite a friendly group of people and I always learn a great deal from them.