My passion for natural world has been building since I moved to the mountains of rural WNC from the suburban concrete of South Florida at the tender age of 11 years old. I immediately fell in love with the landscape and began learning about the natural world around me. My earliest experience working with plants was the rare opportunity to conduct a survey of local flora along the Blue Ridge Parkway with Botanist, Chris Ulrey, while in the Youth Conservation Corps during high school. In the years following I continued to learn more about native plants through my horticulture internships at the WNC Nature Center and the Botanical Gardens of Asheville while working on a degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UNC-Asheville, graduating in 2007. After graduating from UNCA I worked for a small, local native plant nursery and for NCSU at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research & Extension center. I also had my daughter Calia, whom I named after a genus of native meadow wildflower (pictured with her below :).
In 2009 I moved from Asheville to Black Mountain and began a career in greenhouse growing as the head grower and production manager at Painters Greenhouse (in Old Fort, NC). Over the next 8 years there I was a driving force that shaped the focus of their business on growing natives and pollinator plants in addition to all of our other offerings. Additionally I have worked as a grower at Banner Greenhouses also in McDowell County, NC; a wholesaler of plant material for Metrolina Greenhouses and Lowes.
Since 2015 I have volunteered to create and maintain pollinator spaces along the Black Mountain Greenway. In 2018 I was hired as the Pollinator Garden Coordinator, a part time position for Black Mountain Recreation & Parks, where I develop and care for pollinator garden and meadow spaces. In the spring of 2020 I started Patchwork Meadows so that I could create pollinator habitat for private land owners in addition to the public spaces I am continuing to create and maintain for the town.
In my 10+ years locally as a Greenhouse Grower I have gained invaluable experience in the industry.
I hope it will be for you!