Today, we're delighted to introduce you to Jeff Harden, our exceptionally skilled horticulturist here at St. Anne's. We're thrilled to delve into Jeff's incredible work, both within our enchanting gardens and throughout our beautiful campus. Join us as we explore the wonders of horticulture under Jeff's expert guidance!

Could you lead us on a journey through some of the unique and lesser-known plant species at St. Anne's? How do these additions contribute to our campus' flourishing biodiversity and ecological balance?

The backstory of the fig in our greenhouse holds significance; the nuns initially planted it, and the subsequent construction of the greenhouse was purposefully arranged around it. Similarly, the spruce trees at the front of our campus were initially planted and tended to by the nuns. The existence of the roses, cultivated by and now devoted to Mother Irene, speaks to the school's history, reflecting the nuns' deep respect for nature.

The effects of gardening on mental well-being are well-known. We're keen to hear your thoughts on how horticulture enhances the overall well-being of our students. How do you incorporate this aspect into our school's initiatives?

St. Anne's is more than just buildings and classrooms – we have extensive grounds and a mountain campus that serve as a natural playground, giving our students a great experience. Gardening isn't a mere side hobby; it's ingrained in our approach. It's the hidden gem ensuring a well-rounded student journey, setting St. Anne's apart from the rest.

Your role as a horticulturist brings a captivating and fresh perspective to our school. Can you share some lesser-known benefits that having a skilled professional like yourself on staff provides to our campus? It's a unique position, and we're eager to learn more!

Specializing in campus plants allows for more effective care, as I can dedicate my full time to tending to the plants, trees, lawns, and gardens without needing external assistance. This focused approach ensures regular and attentive maintenance and enables Matt Howard and me to develop a deep understanding of our campus' unique needs.

For all the budding green thumbs out there aspiring to positively impact their communities through gardening and landscaping, what encouraging words do you have for these passionate students wishing to pursue a fulfilling career in horticulture?

If you have a true passion for plants, cultivate them at home. Start with a few plants, establish your own garden, and assess whether the experience interests you. Should you sense a connection and love for plant care and feel it in your heart, allow your aspirations to lead you in that direction.

Jeff, we can't express our gratitude enough for taking the time to chat with us. We truly appreciate the beauty and serenity you bring to St. Anne's with your green-fingered expertise. Keep blooming and growing!