I have always lived by the plants. Growing up in a multi-generational household, my grandfather raised us like farm kids caring for our family’s two-acre property that felt like our own private botanical garden and natural area. This upbringing instilled a dedication in me to spend my life trying to understand the relationship of people and the natural world – particularly with plants! Over the last 20 years, I have worked as an ethnobotanist, gardener, designer and educator which has given me unique perspectives on the role plants play in our lives.
I hold a master’s degree with focused studies in cultural/environmental anthropology, ethnobotany, horticulture, and ecology. My professional horticultural experience includes working as a nurseryman in both field propagation and sales, a market permaculture/organic farmer, and as a curator and senior horticulturist at a botanical garden. For several years, I also operated my own horticultural consulting, teaching, design and care business. Since moving to Oregon, I have been a landscape maintenance manager and designer for a company where I oversee the planting and care of a 300-acre master plan development along the Deschutes River.
Working as an ethnobotanist, I have conducted farm restoration projects on tribal lands, state and national parks as well as documented traditional plant knowledge among peoples of the Caribbean, Native American, and Hispanic communities. In an effort to safeguard natural and cultural heritage, I have given scholarly presentations at conferences, authored articles, community publications and technical reports. My passion for education has led me to teach college level courses in anthropology, botany, ecology, environmental psychology and landscape architecture as well as offering numerous hands-on workshops and community classes on topics related to general gardening, edible and ecological landscaping. In my free time, I play the Scottish highland bagpipes in a local pipe band.
April Rose O’Meara
I hold an M.A. in applied anthropology with an emphasis in visual anthropology. Over the last 15 years, my work has taken me across the world and close to home in marketing companies and social service agencies. I own and operate O’Meara Photography, a commercial photography company specializing in brand strategy. During the week, you’ll find me happily at work on a full-day location shoot or alone in my studio with a product and a podcast to keep me company. Capturing gardens and plants is among my favorite assignments. I cherish this quote from John O’Donahue: “I would love to live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.” I feel that way when I photograph plants and gardens – transported by mindfulness. Whenever time allows, I’m in the garden, with tea nearby and camera in hand.
Our beloved labradoodle and garden sidekick.
In the vegetable garden, she helps herself to fresh arugula leaves and green strawberries (no, she doesn’t let them ripen). Snap peas are her favorite and she’ll not-so-gently harvest pods, vine and all. Clover assists with digging, but not quite in the right spot. And she will strengthen our plants by having a good run through them. On warm days, you’ll find her in the shade lounging and smelling new blossoms. In winter, the garden becomes her playground and she buries herself in deep snow.