The Working Gardener

I often tell people I’m a recovering nursery owner. Beginning in the mid-1990s a small specialty retail establishment in Seattle dominated my days (and most nights). The endeavor was definitely more passion project than profitable. All the same, for 13 years it was deeply rewarding to work among brilliant plantspeople and passionate home gardeners. And plants!

Growing fields at Greewood Daylily Gardens retain and filter polluted runoff from neighboring roads and properties. Photo: courtesy of Greenwood Daylily Gardens

Growing fields at Greewood Daylily Gardens retain and filter polluted runoff from neighboring roads and properties. Photo: courtesy of Greenwood Daylily Gardens

This issue is a salute to working gardeners. They are a wealth of information and expert in the possibilities and challenges that each of us face in our own landscape. They are the secret sauce to our success and let’s face it; they do most of the heavy lifting. Designers inspire us with beautiful outdoor spaces. Experienced professional crews bring these designs to life and show us how to navigate a changing climate with maintenance practices that cooperate, not compete, with nature. And nursery folks keep us informed about new plants, proper soil-building techniques, and how to manage the current pest-of-the-week.

Professional (and busy) horticulturists contributed every story in this issue. A tropical paradise in the temperate Pacific Northwest, outlandishly beautiful bulbs from South Africa, and resilient “bullet proof” plants for urban environments are just the beginning. Listen in on a productive side-by-side work session as one working gardener interviews another about what it’s like to tend the historical gardens at Filoli; savor a plantsman’s essay about a very personal plant breeding memorial; and revel in beautiful photos documenting a remarkable wildflower season.

This field is not easy—or lucrative. But the best in our community are responsible to their clients, their staff, and are committed to nurturing our environment. They deserve our recognition.

Hug a horticulturist today.