Career Path: Gardening
Q: Describe the path that brought you to the landscaping industry?
A: I’ve always gardened. When I grew up my grandmother was a gardener, a greenhouse owner, and raised carnations. So, I’ve always been in the green industry. It’s just such a passion. I’ve always gardened. It was a natural path for me and for as long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to do that.
Q: What brought you to Outerland?
A: Jamie Odegaard and the willingness to allow horticulture to be sold the way it should be sold. The openness to, instead of going so commercial, to focus on the realism in the gardening that Jamie was willing to embrace. He listened to me and heard all my thoughts. Sometimes I wondered why. But it was that I have a very different way of looking at things and this was a prime opportunity, at my age. I had recently gotten to the end of my last job and had reached the highest I could go there and it was time for the owner to move forward on her own. I had done everything I could for her to increase her business, which was wonderful. She had a wonderful business when I chose to say goodbye and it was so strange that the very same day, Jamie called. He was reaching out for something different. He had heard – I’m not sure what because I never asked the question, but I assumed that he had heard about the things I was doing. There was a huge article done on me and JuliaGarden in CapeLife magazine that never came out due to Covid. I was always puzzled as to how that came about…
My gardening techniques are very real and I’m being given the last opportunity, for me, to do what I absolutely love.
Q: What do you tell your friends you do for work?
A: I don’t usually have to tell my friends – they know I’m gardening.
I’m an active gardener, not one sitting at the desk all the time… I’m a gardener. I don’t consider myself a horticulturalist, or anything like that. I’m a gardener.
Q: What is your favorite part of the job?
A: First the plants, then the people. If I can work with passionate people who enjoy plant material, usually I have a great day.
Q: What do you find most challenging about your job?
A: I’m not very digital. I’m not really an office person. I’ve always had someone who did that for me. I can get around it but it can take me a while. I’m very organized but I’m not digital. It just wasn’t my world, I’ve always been on paper and analog. Going digital was the one thing that frightened me about coming here.
Q: What’s one thing people might not know or expect about your job?
A: There’s so much. One thing they don’t expect because people don’t see it very often is knowing how things need to look. It’s something a lot of people don’t understand and it comes from the designer in me.
I think one of the biggest things is the essence of balance. That your presence in the garden must be very mindful. You have to be mindful when you’re in special places…
And knowing the plants. You have to know the plants. When I was coming up, we didn’t have computer systems, and everything was drawn by hand. So, we were doing drawings to plan the gardens but also doing drawings for how it should look 10, 20 years out. We were really taught how to know how the plants mature and grow. Whereas now on a computer you can push a button and see the progression… It’s a whole different world but knowing the plant material is still important and the hardest thing. If you don’t know the plant material, it’s a mess. When we don’t know how things mature they grow into each other and plants need to be moved or removed and it can create a lot of work.
Q: What skills or characteristics do you think your job requires?
A: Patience. Knowing the plant material. Knowing the right tools – the right tools make for an easy job.
Q: What makes Outerland unique?
A: This is the easiest one for me. I have no question. Outerland is exactly that, to me. It is the outer land. We are on the outer side of everything else around us. And it is our job to create this harmony in landscapes with care and dignity for one another as well as for the plants and clients.
Q: What do you like about working in the landscaping industry?
A: Just being outside with nature. There’s nothing like it. There’s nothing more healing, more energizing, more awakening. For me, just being outside and watching things grow – it’s ageless in one sense. It also brings a perspective for me, being older, that everything just keeps getting more beautiful and you can see the character in the plant material. It’s life reflective.
Q: What advice would you give someone who’s looking to get into our industry?
A: You’ve got to like it. You’ve got to like plants and you have to like working with people. And you have to like working outside – that’s the key to it all.
Q: What makes you proud to work at Outerland?
A: The concept that we are going to be different. That is everything to me because it’s not going to take much for us to be different. The biggest thing we can do as a company – it’s one small word that’s on all our trucks, and that word is care. If we care about ourselves, about the people we work for, about our trucks, our tools, how we look, everything… then we win. We can’t help but win because you can’t condemn someone who cares. If you’re out there sincerely caring about one another and the job you do and the plant material, hopefully, you’re going to be doing something right – because you care. It’s like raising a child. If you want to raise your child right, you care enough for them then you care for them. That’s one of the things, I feel, that makes this company unique as long as we can hold onto that idea moving forward.
The Outerland Team
Our team brings together dedicated landscape design, maintenance, property management, and garden specialists with more than three decades of local experience. We value hard work, personalized care, and the unique ways that outdoor spaces frame our days.