We’ve recently had to hire a new gardener and we found more than we bargained for with the amazing Amy Jones. Read our interview with Barr Mansion’s newest gardener, horticulturist, and fourth generation farmer. We are so excited to have her join the family and can’t wait to see the beautiful transformation of our grounds!
How long have you been a gardener and what is your experience with gardening, landscaping, botany, etc?
I have been a gardener and horticulturist for as long as I remember. I was the kid who made my mom wait for me to cut roses in the morning before grade school so that I could take them to my teacher. I also remember pulling weeds from the lawn for fun or at least without be asked. I grew up vegetable farming and consider myself a fourth generation farmer, albeit without a farm at present, although the mansion will substitute nicely. I worked on the family farm since at least age 12, if not earlier, and from 2000 to 2009 I developed, with my family, and manager our family farm market and a 20 acre vegetable garden. I attended Texas Tech University for undergrad and grad school studying horticulture and all it’s nuances, microbiology, pedology, entomology to arboriculture and greenhouse management. I have been involved in horticulture in so many ways from landscape management and design, floral design, interior plant maintenance and they are all a labor of love. I would say my professional experience envelopes 21 years.
What brought you to Barr Mansion?
The Barr Mansion was ready for me at the same time I was ready for her. I look forward to cultivating the gardens and bringing exciting and inspirational design and color to the property.
What are your favorite Texas native plants?
I have always loved the Burr Oak Quercus macrocarpa and when it comes to a field of wildflowers one without the others would be “not fully dressed.” I had about 2.5 acres behind a former home and never sowed a seed and over 10 years had 25 genus reappear. It was exiting to see the unfolding of a low grass prairie. This doesn’t even include all the beautiful prairie grasses. I can’t say enough about a beautiful buffalo grass Buchloe dactyloides lawn!
What’s the most challenging part of your job?
I think initially it will be bringing the soil into balance with the delicate microcosm necessary to grow a diverse and lush garden. When the soil is healthy it really facilitates a license to grow almost anything in it’s proper season.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
I am enamored to be part of the symbiosis of a garden, the rise and fall of seasons and the fruit and flower shared through my cultivation and partnership with nature.