October 21st, 2019

Every season, Farmington Gardens seeks out a fresh group of quality recruits. While many employees inevitably come and go, there are also those special few who really stand out. John has definitely proven to be one of the latter.

Hired on as Customer Service, John is relatively new to the west coast. A life-long east-coaster. John relocated to the PNW a few years ago, when his wife’s aging parents increasingly needed more assistance. After a few lengthy years traveling back and forth, they eventually decided to relocate to Oregon permanently.

Self-described as a quiet, behind-the-scenes type of guy. John first came to landscaping during high school and his early 20s, with seasonal summer work. After earning degrees in English and Classical Studies, he soon realized that his college education actually “prepared him for nothing” and he continued to work in different facets of the gardening industry, landscaping , hard-scaping, and tree work.

But with New England’s winters being what they are, it was also necessary to find work in the off-season. Thus, he started his other significant career in the healthcare industry. Over the decades, John has working in home healthcare, occupational therapy, managed care, and even nursing home administration at The New England Homes for the Deaf. “My adult working life has really been split between healthcare and horticulture.” he notes. And although some might not see the relationship between these two quite different careers, John says there are also many similarities. “You really use keen observation skills in both health care and horticulture.” he says. “Tacit knowledge is critical in determining what might be wrong in both humans AND plants and trees.” he adds.

While in Massachusetts, he spent significant time landscaping large, high-end estates in the wealthier areas outside of Boston. “It was pretty great working with and maintaining such large, established, specimens.” he recalls. “You really learn a lot.”

John is primarily a “tree guy” and knows A LOT about them. “An old-timer once told me, really get to know the trees–as long as you’ve got good drainage, they’re low maintenance.” He particularly enjoys dwarf conifers, like the Ulmus minor ‘Jaqueline Hillier” Dwarf Field Em Tree. “it’s so cute–you want to pet it.”

When asked if it has been difficult getting to know west coast horticulture, he says not at all. “There are definitely differences and I’m still in the process of learning, but the people here are super supportive.”

In his off time, John is sometimes known to delicately coax eggs from his small flock of chickens.