News, People  |  May 1st, 2018

A Day in the Life: Seasonal Color | Kinghorn Gardens

Ever wonder what a typical day is like for our Seasonal Color Team? We spoke with Sarah Riedler, seasonal color supervisor, and Jen Thiele, seasonal color coordinator, to learn more about how their team spends their days.

Grab the watering can and hop in the truck for a day with our Seasonal Color Team.

Tell us about a typical Seasonal Color day from start to finish.

Sarah: The first thing I do when I get to work is open my email. While my computer is waking up, depending on the weather or time of year, I check the temperature in the greenhouse and check on the plants in the nursery yard.  Next, I check our calendar and review the jobs to be completed. If everything goes to plan, and no plant emergencies developed overnight, I divvy out the work for the day to our color teams. Once everyone knows where they are going for the day, we load our trucks- plants, soil, hoses, watering cans, trugs, annual designs, tools, more soil, plant wagons, personal equipment, blowers, even MORE soil, and water bottles. Don’t forget the water bottles!

Jen: Once we arrive on property, we set the parking cones around our vehicles for a safe workspace then do a quick walk around the property to assess our tasks.  The crew leader then decides where the work will begin and where each crew member should start. Once the designed plantings are finished, we clean up and water everything in.  Making sure to leave the clients property cleaner than we found it, we do another quick walk around to ensure nothing is left behind and that everything is looking spectacular.  Our lunch break is a much needed time for rest while we recharge and prepare for the next property.
Sarah: After the initial seasonal container installations at the beginning of each season are complete, we take on the aftercare of the plants. This is for both containers and annual bedding. Most days we visit 10 or so gardens per day. However, there are some days we water, fertilize and prune for 15 different properties! That’s a lot of hose wrangling! Also many steps- there was a day last summer my Fitbit tracked more than 30,000 steps! At the end of the day, our teams come back to the nursery yard. We unload and water plant material that didn’t get used, recycle what waste we can and dump the rest in the brush pile. We put tools away, chat with other team members about our day- compare notes, share pictures, empathize about the weather or how someone soaked their shoe during the first container they watered, laugh… About this time I usually head back to my desk to check emails, answer missed calls, order plants, troubleshoot anything that may have come up during the day, and begin planning for the next adventure.
What’s your secret to creating beautiful containers?
Sarah: I am really getting into this purposeful plant idea. My secret is to use plants in your containers that you can reuse in another way after the season is over. Use edible plants in conjunction with annuals. Use shrubs as focal points and then plant them in the yard. Use perennials that will grow back each year and maybe plant different supporting plants to change the look from summer to summer. Plant flowering pollinator plants, but also plant something caterpillars can snack on too. Grow herbs that flower, grasses that can be transplanted, and trees with multiple season beauty. There are no rules to follow when it comes to seasonal color.
Jen:  I think the most overlooked and certainly one of the most important aspects of container planting is soil quality and drainage.  All growth starts at the roots of the plant and how well they are able to spread and grow.  The quality, moisture and amount of soil are all very important.
Happy Roots, Happy Plants, Happy Gardeners.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
Sarah: Color is exciting! We announce the season! We try to compliment a garden’s design intent and be a wow factor at the same time. Color is the delicious frosting on the cake that took hours to bake. Before seasonal color arrives- there were many many hours that went into a garden. The initial phone call to our shop, the first meeting, the design, the installation, the garden maintenance- all of that happens before our team arrives. Some days, I feel seasonal color gets all the glory. We show up and are able to give instant beautiful outcomes- brilliant pops of color!  I like that we need to be great to be successful. I like to make people happy.
Don’t beautiful plants make people happy?
Jen:  My favorite thing about my career is the impact we can make in a single day.  Seeing photos of ‘before and after’ can be shocking when you think of what a client will see every morning.  Waking up to see a yard full of weeds and unkempt shrubs vs. looking out your window to a well-designed garden and an assortment of seasonal containers that display the most wonderful annual arrangements.  Having an impact on someone’s day, every day they are able to see their own personalized garden experience sure makes me feel proud to be a Purple Polo.
Celebrate the seasons with us. Contact our team in the purple polos about seasonal color for your garden. We’d love to fill your day with color.

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