Meet Hilary Nichols, Garden Manager

Meet Hilary Nichols, Garden Manager

Published Friday, Apr 22, 2016

Learning to work with her hands in the soil at a young age in her mother’s vegetable garden, it was there that Hilary’s passion for gardening sprouted.  Later, she studied to become a horticulturist and made a life out of her enthusiasm for plants. 

Hilary’s horticultural skill set has gone far beyond her family’s yard.  She has worked at public gardens around the world, including the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew near London, and Disney World’s gardens in Orlando.  After moving to Durham, Hilary was hired to be the Garden Manager at SEEDS in January of 2012. 

As the Garden Manager at SEEDS, Hilary focuses her time and efforts on collaboration and teaching. However, if asked what her role entails, she will quickly say that she “coordinates the collaborations”.  These collaborations are within the garden and between the garden and the community.  Hilary sums up what SEEDS means to her in one word:  connection.  The connection lives in the people, land, food, nature, health, and continuous learning opportunities. 

At SEEDS, Hilary works with many volunteers alongside Lisa Bruckner (Garden Intern). Volunteers are an integral part of the SEEDS organization. She spends many hours making sure each volunteer has a good experience, learns a lot, and wants to return.  Hilary’s zeal in the garden is evident and she is always highlighting that anyone can garden. 

In the SEEDS gardens, Hilary is the person to ask about the various plants.  She is a storehouse of information!  If anyone is unsure whether a plant is a weed, a vegetable, or flower – they know to ask Hilary.

Currently, Hilary’s time is focused on implementing the garden redesign, which is clearly displayed as a blueprint stapled on a cork board.  It is one of the first things you see when you walk in SEEDS’ front door.  Hilary collaborated with board members, staff, program participants, neighbors, college professors, students and many others to come up with an overall master plan for what the SEEDS garden should become.  In all, the planning process involved working with over 100 different people! And now she’s collaborating with even more people in their specialties as each new garden piece is being put into place. Everyone, but especially Hilary, is excited to see the garden vision come to fruition.  Hilary is very optimistic about the future of SEEDS with so many wonderful people standing with us.

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