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Vanessa Mueller
November 10, 2013
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Peony Revolution
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Carrie Hennessy

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Carrie Hennessy

Starting Position: Retail Designer, 2008
Current Position: Horticulturist, Landscape Designer

"I grew up in southern Wisconsin, just one mile from my grandparents’ dairy farm. Being able to run freely around the rolling hills and farmland of Green County instilled a deep love of nature at an early age. But it wasn’t until my parents gave me my own raised bed in our family vegetable garden for flowers and herbs that I realized a whole world of horticultural potential! Every year I could change the design and experiment with new culinary herbs and flowers.

A chance encounter with a Horticulture major when I was in high school inspired me to turn my love of gardening and design into a career. I received a bachelor’s degree in Horticulture and a minor in Art at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. My work experiences included time at several renowned botanical gardens (Olbrich Gardens, The Paine Art Center & Gardens, and the Better Homes & Gardens Test Garden). My art minor came in handy when I started doing freelance design, eventually becoming a fulltime landscape designer and salesperson.

I was thrilled to join Johnson’s Nursery in the spring of 2008. I knew first-hand how great their plant material was and that I’d be surrounded by incredibly knowledgeable people who enjoy plants as much as I do. Besides being the lead landscape designer for residential and softscape projects, Johnson’s Nursery has encouraged me hone my public outreach skills (something I picked up from my botanic gardens days).

As a professional horticulturist and designer, I have presented a wide range of topics to local garden clubs, libraries, educational institutions and local news stations. In addition, I am a primary contributor on the Johnson’s Nursery Knowledgebase, an online repository of articles and videos (featuring yours truly). My goal is to show that plants are awesome, and that gardening doesn’t have to be overwhelming or complicated. It’s easy to take control of your own yard, with a few professional tips."

What do you like most about working at Johnson's Nursery?
"I like my co-workers and that we are all in the same crazy boat in spring. The green industry is not an easy career path, so it’s helpful to work with like-minded people that are supportive and can commiserate over shared experiences. I like that this is a company where hard work is acknowledged and rewarded. And I love the plants! I also like that we don’t do snow removal in winter."

Why would you recommend someone work here?
"Working here is an incredible learning experience. You are surrounded by incredibly knowledgeable co-workers, so if you don’t know something, just ask and you will get an answer. There are also many departments so if where you start isn’t the right fit, there is the option of moving into a different role, if you are better suited to it."

Personal Brief
"In my spare time, I like working in my own garden (even more so now that I have a toddler curious about what is growing in the yard), creating new container plant displays with each changing season, reading, hiking, trying new recipes, and going to Brewers baseball games with my husband."

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