The Garden Hotline offers individualized solutions to garden problems that are practical, safe, effective, and natural. Our services are FREE to home gardeners and landscape professionals throughout Seattle and King County. We can help you reduce waste, conserve water and resources, and minimize chemical use while creating a vibrant landscape. The Garden Hotline staff also research, write articles in many languages and teach classes.

Garden Hotline Staff

  • Laura Matter

    Laura has been a practicing horticulturist for the past 30 plus years, studied Landscape Horticulture at South Seattle Community College and has a B.A. in Botany from the University of Washington. She has worked as a weed control specialist, and supervisor of an interior plant maintenance crew in downtown Seattle high-rise buildings. During 10 years with Seattle City Light, she worked with her crew to replace and reduce pesticide use at the utility. Under her guidance, a large electrical station was able to be registered as a Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary with the State of WA after being enhanced with native plants, birdhouses, and using natural alternatives instead of pesticides.

    Laura ran her own landscape maintenance business for 14 years and currently provides landscape consultations specializing in native plantings, wildlife habitat and edible gardens. She worked at Swanson’s Nursery in the information booth answering phone and in person gardening questions from customers. She has been a block leader, committee head and site coordinator of the Picardo Farm P-Patch for the past 15 years where she has gardened for 20 years. Laura is currently the Garden Hotline Program Coordinator, a position she has been enjoying for the past 6 and 1/2 years.

  • Sue Hartman

    Sue first came to Seattle Tilth as a garden volunteer because she wanted to grow vegetables but the big trees in her yard made it difficult. She has had a passion for gardening since discovering her neighbor?s rhubarb patch in childhood and spent a year working on an experimental fruit growing project in Israel after graduating from high school.

    After spending a few years as an intern, teaching assistant and Master Composter/Natural Soil Builder volunteer, she joined the staff as an on-call educator for the Natural Soil Building Program. She now also manages volunteers in the adult learning garden at the Good Shepherd Center and teaches classes for the adult education program. She has a degree in psychology from Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. She has had a diversity of jobs including 17 years with the State of Washington Department of Social and Health Services and the Department of Health. She is active in several local community organizations including Solid Ground/Lettuce Link and the Growing Food, Growing Community project in Wallingford. Leaf mold is on her “most favorite things” list.

  • Katie Vincent

    Katie has been obsessed with growing and preparing her own food since discovering the Laura Ingalls Wilder books in third grade. Having majored in creative writing at the University of Washington, she gleaned the majority of her gardening experience working at Sky Nursery for over 7 years and working on organic farms in Italy, the UK and New Zealand through WWOOF. She loves adventuring around the globe, helping people, pushing for sustainable food systems and picking up new languages and recipes. Katie finds immeasurable joy in writing. You can find her words on travel blogs and on the pages of publications like Seattle Met magazine and the Bellevue Club’s Reflections magazine. When not cooking or gardening, Katie enjoys meditation, photography, poetry, hiking and yoga.

  • Melissa McGinn

    Melissa has been in the green industry for almost 20 years. She has a BA in Botany from the University of Washington and studied Landscape Design at Edmonds Community College.  In the beginning of her horticultural career she was employed at local nurseries including Sky Nursery, Emery’s Garden, and Bellevue Nursery. After returning to the U.S. as an Environmental Education Action Agent of the Peace Corps in Gabon, Central Africa, she decided to make sustainable education her career. For 8 years she worked for In Harmony Sustainable Landscapes, educating clients how to be more sustainable in their gardens and teaching Integrated Pest Management classes to coworkers. While in Bothell, she volunteered as an organizer for Sustainable Bothell, an organization dedicated to educating, motivating, and connecting local community members.  She also volunteered as a lead organizer for Rooster’s Rendezvous, a community garden at Country Village that donates food to a local food bank.  Melissa is wife to a computer guru and mother of a 1 year old baby girl.