One dimensional, no. My passions draw me in many different directions. My life has been a persistent collision of horticulture, art, teaching and design. I have built my career nurturing this exhilarating intersection and I am fortunate to be employed at a garden where I can showcase all of these skills.
My mother, a florist, and my father, an owner of a home center, inevitably I grew up with plants and carpentry. This apple did not fall far from the family tree.
Fresh from the University of Delaware with a Bachelor of Science degree in Plant Science, I started work at Mt. Cuba Center, dedicated to the research and protection of native plants. While working as the Woods Path gardener, I developed a real love of native plants.
Eager for a new challenge, I started as a sales representative for Imperial Nurseries, a large re-wholesaler of landscape plants. In my time there, I joined a network of horticultural professionals that I still rely on to this day. I also gained an understanding of commercial production and the business world. However I realized my creative skills were stagnating. In 1993, I started at Chanticleer Garden in Wayne, PA. The garden, in its infancy then, has been amazing to watch evolve. Unlike many public gardens that seek to educate through plant labels and collections, Chanticleer fosters innovation and creative thinking.
The horticulturists there are artists as well and creativity is encouraged not suppressed.
I oversee the Courtyard Gardens with an emphasis on tropical, sub-tropical, and tender perennials for seasonal display. My position at Chanticleer affords me the privilege of creating and maintaining our visitor's first and last impression of the garden.
With my feet planted firmly in the soil of Chanticleer. I developed a second skill as a public speaker. With a passion for horticulture, it’s a natural progression to want to share that through speaking. I also joined the Garden Writers Association now Gardencomm and served as the Regional Director as well as earning the status of Fellow. My writing has appeared in Fine Gardening, Horticulture, Martha Stewart Living, and Rodale's Garden Books. The next step was the television. I promoted plants on QVC for Cottage Farms Nursery. Additionally, featured on episodes of Cultivating Life and with my home garden on Growing a Greener World.
I have worked on extended assignment at Lotusland, Hurricane restoration at Long Vue House and Internationally at Ayerlies Garden in Auckland, NZ.
My enthusiasm for design translates into building furniture both for the garden and for our home. This led me to start teaching chair building workshops. People feel so empowered when they walk away from this class with a beautiful new chair for their gardens. Most participants have never even held a drill. It's exhilarating to be able to facilitate that.
In my remaining free time, I teach and volunteer. I am part of the continuing education program at Longwood Gardens.
Other opportunities nationally have given me experience in the assessment of collections, policies, and planning. I have served on the Plant Selection Committee and as a Plant Expert for the Delaware Center for Horticulture's Rare Plant Auction. I judge for the Philadelphia Flower Show and lecture internationally.