Renee Byrd’s interest in design and nature began at a very young age in central Alabama, where she spent countless hours building forts in the woods behind her home. Her parents’ careers in landscape design and residential custom home construction inspired Renee to pursue a future that would similarly combine the fields of art, science, and design. She earned a B.S in Horticulture with a minor in Urban Forestry from Clemson University while running cross country and track for the Tigers, and continued her education at Clemson for a M.S. in Plant and Environmental Science, with a focus on sustainable landscape design. Renee then worked as a research associate at Clemson, teaching landscape design classes and working with the Cliffs Communities to design a public botanical garden for one of their properties. For the past 10 years, she has run her own business, Byrd Landscape Design, and now works full time designing residential landscapes and chasing her highly energetic 3-year old daughter through the fields behind their home in Pickens, SC. She looks forward to sharing her appreciation of the nature and background in art, landscape design, and construction with students from many disciplines at Clemson University.
Karen Hall grew up on 50 acres in the mountains of North Carolina. In this land that once belonged to Cherokee people, her grandmother tossed her outside to play and this was the impetus for a career tied to nature and culture. Karen earned her B.S. in Biology (Western Carolina University), M.S. in Botany and Ph.D. in Plant Physiology (Clemson University). Her dissertation work with Cherokee people focused on learning about their use of plants as medicine so that they might continue that aspect of traditional identity. Currently, Karen serves as the Director for the SC Master Naturalist program and state coordinator of the SC Master Gardener programs. She hopes her background will infuse inspiration from nature, joy, fun and little research-based thinking into both programs!
Adrienne Gerus grew up outside of Philadelphia and Erie, PA where she and her brother spent most of their childhood free time exploring neighboring woods and streams. She has been fascinated by plants and animals for as long as she can remember and caused her to pick a career in horticulture. Adrienne earned her B.S. in Agriculture (University of Kentucky) and her Master of Agriculture (MAg) from Clemson University. She first worked for Greenville Technical College as a Landscape Superintendent and then moved to Landscape Superintendent and then Director of Landscape Services for Clemson (the first woman to ever hold that job!). She was environmental long before it was fashionable. Reducing inputs of water, fertilizer, pesticides, and maintenance have always been high on her agenda. She strives for a balance between natural and enhanced landscapes in Clemson’s park-like setting. What excites her about this job is seeing dirt patches transformed into lush gardens and seeing saplings turn into majestic trees. She is thankful for all of the learning opportunities that present themselves in her position and she is still learning from the good people she works with daily.
Cory Tanner is a horticulture extension agent for Greenville, Pickens, Oconee and Anderson Counties and Master Gardener coordinator for Greenville County. His responsibilities include assisting nursery growers and landscapers with their production and maintenance needs by providing educational programs and consultation services, managing the Master Gardener volunteer training program, providing home gardening advice, and writing horticultural columns and fact sheets.A life-long gardener, Cory earned a B.S. and an M.S. in horticulture from Clemson University. Prior to employment with Clemson Extension, he worked in the nursery trade, producing quality landscape trees and shrubs for Ray Bracken Nursery, Inc.Cory continues to garden in Easley, where he lives with his wife, Stephanie.
Ellen Vincent grew up in the beautiful Hudson River Valley of New York State where she was immersed in art, architecture, and agriculture. Ellen earned her B.A. in American Culture (SUNY New Paltz), M.S. in Agriculture/Horticulture (Northwest Missouri State), and Ph.D. in Environmental Design and Planning (Clemson University). Her dissertation work examined the therapeutic benefits of nature on health. Currently, Ellen serves as Environmental Landscape Specialist for extension in SC and teaches HORT 308 Sustainable Landscape Garden Design; HORT 309 Drawing laboratory; and HORT 461 Advanced Landscape Design and other classes for the department of environmental horticulture at Clemson University.
Sarah White grew up on 60 acres in the foothills of South Carolina, where she first experienced and enjoyed the flowers, forests and streams that she now works to enhance and protect. Sarah earned her B.S. in Horticulture (Clemson University), M.S. in Horticultural Science (Virginia Tech), and Ph.D. in Environmental Toxicology (Clemson University). Her dissertation work assessed the use of constructed wetlands to cleanse nutrient contaminants from agricultural runoff. Sarah serves as the Nursery Extension Specialist for SC and her extension programs focus on utilizing ecologically based systems (constructed wetlands, floating wetlands, vegetated riparian buffers, rain gardens, etc.) to cleanse agricultural and stormwater runoff. She hopes to promote harnessing “plant power” to provide solutions for cleansing water for a healthy environment.
Whitney Blue is a senior in the Horticulture program at Clemson University. She discovered her love for plants in her high school AP Biology course her senior year where she learned binomial nomenclature and classification of common plants. She loved working on the design of the Sustainable Landscape Demonstration Garden with Suzie Lombardo; they had a similar vision and played off each other very well. The incorporation of native plants was important to them, they wanted a sustainable garden that included plants already adapted to the area. Whitney Blue and Suzie also wanted year round interest so they included varieties of blooms, textures, colors and foliage in order to achieve that goal. Whitney Blue hopes to continue working with small-scale landscape design after her graduation in May of 2013.
Allison is a horticulture major at Clemson University. Allison first became interested in horticulture through the master gardener program in Virginia. She would help neighbors and friends with their gardens while also designing and maintaining her own. Allison helped with the installation process in the Sustainable Landscape Demonstration Garden on Clemson campus and she said that her favorite part was the passersby who stopped and asked questions about plants. She was able to educate them on what was happening within the garden. Allison was previously a music teacher so she enjoys the educational aspects of the garden because education is her “comfort zone”. Along with music Allison also enjoys spending time with her family and taking care of her organic vegetable garden at home. Allison is not exactly sure what she wants to do with her future horticulture degree when she graduates but she is looking into landscape design or maybe working in the Botanical Garden where she can work with the plants and also educate others on sustainability and organics.
Suzie Lombardo graduated from Clemson University in December 2011 with a bachelor’s of science in Horticulture. She owns a floral design company called Statice which she started during her college career at Clemson. She now lives and does business in Greenville SC and hopes to continue expanding her business in the upstate area.
Tip Reburn is a forestry and horticulture student in Clemson's College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Life Sciences. He wasn’t sure what he wanted to study in college but suggests, something pulled him towards that path, perhaps because he liked sticks so much as a boy, or perhaps because he knew nothing about forestry and plants and I wanted to endeavor to learn something new. Basically, it was a wild risk that turned out very well. He is co-chairman of Clemson's Forestry Conclave team, a runner, a summer camp counselor of six years, plays the trumpet with gusto, writes poetry and stories, and likes to wander around in the woods without shoes on his feet.
Patrick is a senior forestry major at Clemson University. Patrick first became interested in nature through time spent outdoors as a child. Patrick and his father went fishing often and sometimes they would explore the surrounding woods. Patrick enjoyed exploring and observing nature and trees. Patrick helped with the maintenance part of the Sustainable Landscape Demonstration Garden on the Clemson campus along with being in charge or surveying students about their opinions on the garden. Patrick’s favorite part about working in the garden was seeing everything return after it dies back in the winter. Patrick enjoys being outdoors whether it is hiking, backpacking, or fishing; he likes being immersed in nature so he can simply observe. Patrick hopes to start a career with a timber management organization, private not federal, after his graduation in May 2013.
Guy Castles is a Horticulture student minoring in Business Management at Clemson University. He is from Columbia, South Carolina. Some of his hobbies include hunting, fishing, and other outdoor related activities. He first became interested in Horticulture when he started working on a piece of family property in 2008. From there he worked three years on a Forest Lake Club golf course, one summer for Hay Hill Services (a landscaping company), and he has been working for over a year at the South Carolina Botanical Garden. He does this work with a future goal of perhaps owning his own landscaping business.
Elizabeth is a senior architecture major and a horticulture minor at Clemson University. Elizabeth first became interested in architecture while traveling; she was fascinated by the buildings and how they differed in color, material, and size depending on location. Her interest in nature peaked while taking Horticulture 101, when she walked through the greenhouses and learned about the broad variety and diversity the field of horticulture has to offer. Elizabeth helped with the maintenance part of the Sustainable Landscape Demonstration Garden on the Clemson campus along with communications by conducting student interviews for the Website. Elizabeth’s favorite part of being in the garden was working outside, she works mostly inside during the week due to her class schedule so just being outside pruning the plants was a very enjoyable experience for her. She liked learning from the plants; this was one of her first experiences with actual garden maintenance. Elizabeth enjoys playing outdoor sports whether it is tennis, running, or swimming in the ocean as she likes to stay active. Elizabeth hopes to get an internship or job with a landscape design firm before moving on to graduate school when she graduates in May 2013.
Kendall is a senior in horticulture and started working at the SC Botanical Garden as a temporary worker the summer before he started college. The following fall he entered Tricounty Technical College as an Electrical Engineering major but after that one summer at the Botanical Garden he knew he wanted to work outdoors. Kendall entered Clemson University as horticulture major and has worked at the Botanical Garden for six years. He appreciates the variety and challenges that exist at the Botanical Garden. The landscape changes every day and seeing the positive results of his work is rewarding. Kendall has learned a lot from working on this native garden and enjoyed seeing every step. He hopes to see this garden grow and benefit the landscape for many years to come.
John Robert Dinkins is a rising senior Horticulture student at Clemson. Ever since he was small he valued visiting many different types of natural environments in SC and loved seeing things grow in their untouched settings. I’ve enjoyed working in the Clemson Sustainable Garden because of the emphasis that is placed on using native plants and teaching the public about the plants that are all around them. Working in this garden has helped him develop career goals towards garden interpretation and sustainable design. He sees himself using plants to educate and enhance people’s lives whether here in South Carolina or elsewhere after college.
Colby Hice is a senior horticulture student from Fort Mill, SC. He completed a summer internship with Shamrock Landscaping out of Fort Mill, SC, and intends to take an advanced internship this summer in Charlotte, NC with Schneider Tree Care. After graduation in December 2014 he plans to either pursue a career in tree and plant health, or landscape construction/installation.
Phil is a senior horticulture major at Clemson University. Phil first became interested in horticulture while spending time in his grandmother’s home garden as a child. He would help his grandmother and family with their gardens while also beginning to start and maintain a garden of his own. Phil helped with the maintenance process (as well as plant installation/removal) in the Sustainable Landscape Demonstration Garden on Clemson campus and says that his favorite part of the process is engaging with passersby who were passing through the garden while en route to their daily activities. He was able to inform them on what was happening within the garden, both aesthetically and functionally. Phil was pleased to finally see real world application of the sustainable techniques he had learned throughout his studies at Clemson University. Phil is moving to Washington State in order to pursue a possible career in the hops breeding/quality control industry, among other endeavors. Phil will undoubtedly continue to learn, and implement the various sustainable methods that he has learned while at Clemson.
Chris is a freshman horticulture major at Clemson University. He has been involved with the maintenance of the Sustainable Landscape Demonstration Garden. Some of the tasks he has taken part in are soil testing, insect identification, disease management, and weeding and pruning. His passion for loving to work outdoors comes from growing up and working on his family’s orchards in the fruit belt of Adams County, Pennsylvania. He finds caring for the garden to be relaxing and a reminder of his home. His favorite part in working in the garden has been watching the different stages of growth. He has also met many new interesting people in the survey collection task assigned to him. He especially enjoys hearing their opinions and comments. After graduation, he hopes to return to his family’s orchard to utilize all the knowledge about diseases, insects, sustainability, and plant maintenance that he has learned from working in the Sustainable Landscape Demonstration Garden.
Jeremy Loadholdt is a senior Horticulture major at Clemson University. His love for nature and the outdoors was learned from his grandfather. He has been working in the landscape profession since before he could drive. He enjoys the before and after aesthetics of the enhancement jobs he works on. Seeing the client happy and satisfied always makes the hard work worthwhile for him. Working on the sustainable garden his senior year gave him the opportunity to talk to several people about what the garden was trying to show. He also enjoyed being able to leave a footprint on campus before he leaves. Jeremy has accepted a job back in his home town in Columbia, South Carolina, where he is going to run the pesticide and maintenance divisions for an expanding landscape company.
Inman Love is a senior horticulture major at Clemson University from Gaffney SC. His duties in the sustainable garden were to maintain the garden, keeping it free of debris, weeds, and trash. He frequently dead headed the various flowers in the garden, but made sure to leave as many of the seeds as possible for the various birds and animals which consume them as food. He also watered the garden only when needed in times of extreme heat and dry days. He conducted surveys which allowed him to see how students, faculty and staff perceived the sustainable garden. While working in the sustainable garden, he learned many aspects of sustainability such as weed management, watering and selective pruning. What changed for him was his perception of a sustainable landscape. Before working in the sustainable garden, he perceived many sustainable landscapes as being messy or un-kept. Now, he embraces the natural look of sustainable landscapes, and is truly appreciative of the natural beauty sustainability exudes. In the future, he plans to work in the landscape design and maintenance industry, and hopes to one day own his own landscape design and maintenance company. When working for another company or himself, he will always look back to the knowledge acquired while working in the sustainable garden, and implement that knowledge in his future career.
Ben McElrath is a senior Horticulture student at Clemson University. He has always had a love for being outdoors and working in the landscaping industry. Since his tenth grade year in high school he has been employed at a Carolina Beautiful Landscaping in Clinton, SC. So needless to say, landscaping is pretty much all he knows, and for the most part, all he wants to do. There is absolutely nothing about the entire landscape installation process that he doesn’t like, which is why he is so certain that he is following the right career path. His favorite part about working in the garden was when he got to install plants. In his free time he really enjoys hanging out with friends, hunting, and playing ice hockey. Basically anything that can keep him moving and active is what makes him happy. When finally finished with his degree at Clemson University he hopes to move back and take over Carolina Beautiful Landscaping.
Trent Miller, is a senior in Horticulture. He grew up exploring the woods around his hometowns of Lexington, SC and Okatie, SC. He grew up being taught to love plants, nature, and design. Working in the Sustainable Garden really brought all of those things together and was a great learning experience. He spent much time working in the garden, watching the plant and animal relationships, watching and understanding the growth cycles of the plants, and investigating what roles they play in nature. Working in the garden has allowed him to understand the delicate balance between the modern human world and nature, and it has shown him that the landscape is truly the interface between these two seemingly opposite things. It has also shown him that it is necessary to think outside of the box and to have an open mind to effectively manage the interactions between the natural and developed worlds. He hopes to use this understanding in his future work in either graduate school, professional work, or both. He will take his knowledge of these human/nature interactions and implement them to have a positive effect in both the human and natural worlds.
T. J. Mings is a senior horticulture major from Spartanburg, SC. He performed weekly maintenance in the sustainable garden to ensure a very high standard that would be pleasing to anybody passing by through the garden. He weeded weekly and pruned in the late winter/early spring and helped apply mulch at various times throughout the semester. He took some soil samples to test for organic matter and available nutrients in the soil so that we knew what was readily available for the plants when we were ready to start planting. He also surveyed people to collect data on how they viewed the sustainable garden. This experience changed my views on how valuable gardens can be to an environment and how much it can benefit human health by creating a serene environment for people to just relax. After graduation he plans to work for Austin Outdoor as an account manager with future hopes of becoming a branch manager.
Paulina Peña is a senior horticulture major at Clemson University from Greenville,SC. Paulina’s interest in gardens began when she was very young. Paulina has always had a strong passion for the outdoors, and gardening is way she gets to get closer to the environment. Paulina helped with the maintenance part of the Sustainable Landscape Demonstration Garden, as well as research by conducting in-person landscape preference surveys. Paulina learned how to properly maintain a garden, lay mulch, conduct surveys, conduct a soil test, and about the plants in the garden. Maintaining this garden changed my appreciation towards the gardens and landscapes on Clemson campus. There is much more work that goes into these gardens than one would think. It made her appreciate the work and effort that goes into these gardens so much more! Paulina’s favorite part about the sustainable garden work was being able to be out in the garden taking care of the plants and getting to learn about them. Paulina spends the majority of her time outdoors. She is a competitive rock climber, surfs, snowboards, swims and loves to hike. Her main passion is photography. Paulina will be going to the Rocky Mountain School of Photography when she graduates. One day she hopes to create her own herbal tea company and go into herbal medicine.
Chris Smith is a senior from Pelion, South Carolina and a horticulture major at Clemson University. Chris knew he wanted to be in Horticulture working with plants ever since high school. He was drawn to landscaping because he loves being outside and wants to share beautiful landscapes with everyone. While working at the sustainable garden, I worked in maintenance and Installation. He learned many different things about the Sustainable Garden including which plants work well in the garden, how to apply mulch, and how to conduct anonymous surveys to be used for data. Since working in the garden his view on sustainability has been changed. He now plans to incorporate sustainability into his future career. He sees himself working as a landscape designer for a company that believes in sustainability.
Alex is a senior at Clemson University, his major is biological science and his minor is horticulture. Alex really enjoys being outside and all that the outdoors has to offer including hiking, camping, and the plants. Alex said that “the outdoors fits his personality”, he enjoys examining plants in their natural environment instead of in a lab. Alex was involved with the garden installation process and his favorite part of participating in the Sustainable Landscape Demonstration Garden was the interaction with people and talking about the plants. He enjoyed when someone would ask him a question because it not only offered a break in the work but it also allowed him to teach people about plants. Alex is on the rock climbing and sailing teams at Clemson and almost all of his hobbies involve being outside. Alex holds strong interests in plant breeding and research and he worked in the USDA vegetable lab during the past three summers. He is graduating in May and just accepted a post-graduate position with Amy’s Kitchen, an organic foods company based in California who is moving into the southeast production market.
Talena is a horticulture senior at Clemson University. She is originally from Columbus, Ohio and moved to South Carolina in 1999. She first became interested in plants in high school in her agriculture education course. Talena was heavily involved in agricultural competitions through her school's FFA (Future Farmer of America) chapter. After her first competition in floriculture she began working for a local greenhouse that expanded her love of plants. As she worked her way into college, she experienced landscape maintenance through an internship working in a gated community. Talena eventually became employed at the South Carolina Botanical Garden working as a nursery assistant. She has used her skills that she has learned in her past and current employment to successfully help maintain the Sustainable Demonstration Garden. Some of her duties included weeding, pruning, taking soils samples to be sent off to a lab and blowing the leaves around the sustainable garden to prevent hazardous situations. During her time maintaining the Sustainable Demonstration Garden, she has learned that many people love having an aesthetically pleasing, vegetative area to sit around and gaze upon as they are walking to and from their destinations. She has also learned that people are curious about how to maintain gardens and where to even start. It was a great experience to be able to explain and show people just how simple it is to have a beautiful sustainable garden of their own. She loves to teach her fellow students and colleagues so she is interesting in working as an Extension Agent at a University to teach the pubic more about sustainable practices. Talena is also interested in working for the City of Greenville, as they work with the newest sustainable practices and have a wonderful working environment.
Alex Williams is freshman horticulture major from Anderson South Carolina. Alex first became interested in gardening when he was young and helped his grandparents with their vegetable garden. His love for the outdoors and interest in design led him to landscape an area at his church for his Eagle Scout project and his interest in design and landscaping have grown immensely since. What Alex enjoyed most about his experience with the sustainable garden was being able to see how native plants can be used as practical, aesthetically pleasing alternatives to other more commonly used landscape plants. Alex enjoys being outside whenever possible, getting his hands dirty and watching things grow. Alex plans to major in horticulture, master in landscape architecture and run his own sustainable landscaping and environmental rehabilitation company putting to good use the knowledge he has gained from his experience in the creative inquiry.