News, People  |  June 7th, 2018

A Day in the Life: Head of Horticulture


Corey Brabec, Head of Horticulture

 

What’s the first thing you do when you get to work?

I usually start my day by checking all of the paperwork that was turned in the day before. I review what was done and create adjustments in our schedule accordingly. Weather will always play a role in how our days go. After making adjustments, I create a plan for the day ahead and communicate with both the Gardening and Turf departments about the properties that will be cared for on that day and how their visits overlap with our Seasonal Color Team. I find that the best way to have a successful day is to start with communication.

Tell me about a typical day look like for you from start to finish. 

In my day to day, there’s a lot of communication and coordination between the head gardeners, seasonal color, and the design team as well. In our industry it will always be a team effort to ensure we create beautiful experiences for our clients.

As the Head of Horticulture, training is the most important part of my position. I will check-in or meet with head gardeners on property to help them be successful in their gardens, discussing the why behind the what and offering on-site training. Whenever we have a new employee, I always go out to check-in with them on their first day. 

I also provide Horticultural Consultations to potential and existing clients—that’s my favorite thing to do because homeowners are always so thankful for this service. I enjoy walking them through their garden’s potential and discussing what’s salvageable or how to care for certain areas. I help them develop a plan or suggest our team stop by for a couple maintenance visits. 

At the end of the day, I am checking on the last few properties and may go help out crews or advise them on how to finish out their day. When I get back to the shop, I’m back to the paperwork side of things. I also like to check in with each head gardener and share in their success or build them up for the next day. Depending on the day of the week, I check on our more complex properties and make sure they’re ready for lots of weekend enjoyment.

What’s your secret to being a successful leader?

I find that if I take the time to thoroughly explain the entire problem or process, that my team understands better and will be able to apply what they’ve learned. Every minute I’m on property with another gardener, I like to walk around and point out the different plants and say their names out loud so they can learn them. I’m constantly keeping my team involved rather than acting like a professor. I don’t ever want to act like I’m their superior or talk over their head. I am a colleague, a resource tool, and I keep this in mind every time I’m training. A lot of what we do at Kinghorn Gardens is similar to that of a doctor, we diagnose plants. Once we come up with the diagnosis it’s important to discuss how to treat it.

Another secret is to be as hands-on as possible which means being on properties and working alongside the crew members. I love the outdoors and plant material and my crews know that.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

The 3 Ps—People, Plants, Places, and now I can add a fourth, the Purple Polos.

My favorite part of the week is my Friday walkthroughs when I get to see how every piece and part of our company came together. It’s always an amazing sight to see.   

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