October 3 // Happenings

Our Passion for Plants + Learning

For our team, working here isn’t by happenstance. We’re drawn to this place because of a love for the natural world and the beauty it brings to our lives and our built environments. This passion runs so deep that we aren’t satisfied with simply knowing a lot about plants – we enjoy talking about it too. Our seminar speakers get to share their love for what they do with a whole group of engaged learners, so we decided to find out more about what motivates them to lead seminars and the rewards that come with the experience.

As a member of the Plant Care team, Woody Wood is always learning – she says it’s what makes her job so fulfilling. Horticulture is a dynamic field, and new information – on plant physiology, insects, diseases, best practices – arrives on a regular basis from university botanists and other plant professionals. The best way Woody knows to keep an open dialogue going between the new research, her fellow gardeners, and her own wide gardening experience is through seminars. Woody leads a lot of our seminars and has covered a range of topics, including seed-starting, earth-friendly gardening, lawn care, and fall bulbs. Woody says she’s excited to share her enthusiasm and knowledge, but giving seminars also lets her hear different gardening perspectives from the audience, perspectives that are valuable to what is truly a life-long learning process. The feedback she gets helps Woody evaluate how well our Plant Care team is disseminating information, and it helps her find ways to improve.

Shortly after joining our team seven years ago, Bob Ewing quickly became our resident backyard-bird guru. He’s now led several of our seminars, sharing his passion for attracting and supporting birds in urban landscapes, but this year, he was thrilled to present our Native Plants seminar, where he talked about the positive impacts native plants have on our gardens and the environment. His own landscape was a blank slate when he bought a new home a few years ago, but since then, he’s planted a wide variety of native plants, turning his suburban yard into an oasis for pollinators and native birds. Bob says “The amount and diversity of insects that we find in our garden is amazing.” He’ll explore how native plants support a wide range of backyard birds in Bird-Friendly Landscapes, the next seminar in our Backyard Naturalist series. Bob loves to share his experiences in seminars, where he can talk with others who share his curiosity for the natural world.

Hardy Plants Team Member Tom Anderson also values the opportunity to interact with seminar attendees and pass along information he’s gathered from years of working with plants and finding solutions for fellow gardeners. One of his teammates once said that “Tom has forgotten more about trees than I’ve learned in total so far.” That’s a fitting description for the level of knowledge Tom possesses not only about trees, but shrubs and perennials too. Tom helped lead our Winter Pruning and Landscape Planning seminars this year, as part of our Grower’s Guide series. Finding the right plants for a landscape involves answering questions about light, soil, height, color, and goals for the space. Questions about maintenance tasks like how and when to prune trees and shrubs also come up when Tom talks with customers at our store. For Tom, landscape seminars give him a chance to explain the questions homeowners should first ask themselves when evaluating their yard’s conditions and their own preferences. When customers come to the store with this information in hand, Tom can confidently answer their questions and point them to the perfect plant that meets all their needs and expectations. Customers are more confident they’ve made the right decision too, and it gives Tom the satisfaction of knowing he’s sending the right plant home to the right spot – and with the best care information – so it can provide years of enjoyment in the landscape.

Our seminar speakers love what they do and value the opportunity to share their experience and enthusiasm with others. We’d love for you to join in the conversation with our community of plant-enthusiasts. Check out our list of events and happenings on the blog for more information about our upcoming seminars and demonstrations.