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  • Jennifer Jewell


A VERY Green Block in Brooklyn. Photo courtesy of The Brooklyn Botanic Garden.


In a variation on the Dispatches from the Home Garden series, this week we enjoy a Dispatches from the Home Gardener and plantsperson. Self-described Happy Wanderer, plantsman Bob Hyland has lived and worked at some of the most prestigious horticultural institutions in the U.S - from Longwood Gardens, to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, to the San Francisco Botanical Gardens. Along with his partner, Andrew Beckman, Bob founded and ran the successful specialty nursery, Loomis Creek Nursery, in upstate New York for more than a decade. In addition to hands-on plantsmanship, Bob is a plant world activist and advocate and beyond his garden design work, throughout his more than 40 year career, he's served on horticultural boards around the country. Currently living and gardening with Andrew in Portland, Oregon, Bob is owner of Hyland Garden Design and the seasonal storefront Contained Exuberance in Portland.

He shares with us today his insights and experiences as a life-long home gardener and a dedicated career professional helping to move the needle on how horticulture is perceived, practiced and appreciated/understood in our world these last 40 years. Being a plantsperson is a state of body and mind that is fully integrated in all that Bob loves and does.

From early thoughts he’d be a country doctor, Bob has been party to many shifts and changes within the horticultural world these past decades – from the renaissance of specialty plant nurseries (a few times), to trending garden design, to the innovative changes in making public horticulture more inclusive and relevant in regards to education and audience engagement.

Plants and gardens/gardening, as we know, are a passion and calling far more often than they are simply a career choice. They are a way of life and making a good life, one most plantspeople want to share forward -

Bob Hyland's gardelife journey story is a perfect testament to this.



Bob is the epitome of the generous gardening nature that is part of why I love gardeners and plantspeople – they are generous and expansive – always learning, always growing – pardon the pun but it’s true!

"Horticultural Service"as Bob calls the "chip" implanted in him while in graduate studies at Longwood Gardens – is an important thing in this world. Serving on boards, volunteering in gardens, on trails, in schools or museums – these are great ways to share what you love forward and to help shape the look and feel and priorities of the next horticultural generation. If environmental concerns, social justice concerns, cultural literacy concerns rank high for you – I’d love to invite you to think about how you could go to work in even small gardening and plant ways to address these concerns. When I think of this conversation with Bob, of past conversations with Leah Penniman, Melody Overstreet, Turning into Flowers of South Africa, Mary Reynolds in Ireland, even last week with staff and contest participants from the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens Greenest Block in Brooklyn – these plantspeople are all putting their plant love and their larger concerns for our world together and taking actions small and large to make a difference. Every one of us can – and together – the compounded interest on that investment – well it’s worth cultivating – don’t you think?

Bob shares his horticultural passion and knowledge forward in a wide variety of ways – for people young and old. For the better of us all as plantspeople in this world.

Are you on social media? It’s a wonderful way for even the busiest among us to be connected in plant-y community – Bob and I are both on Facebook and Instagram and are pretty active with our own pages on both these platforms as well as with community groups – like the Hortisexuals or Hardy Plant Society of Oregon, etc.

Find us there – send pictures – introduce yourselves. Share your passions of #CultivatingPlace forward with others – it’s how we all grow after all isn't it?

I’m active on Facebook weekly and on Instagram daily….We’re all in this together and we #plantloving #gardeningimpulse people have a way of finding one another.




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