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 has been a practicing horticulturist for the past 30 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 and garden tutoring, 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 8 years where she has gardened for 14 years. Laura is currently the Garden Hotline Program Coordinator and has specialized in watershed education through Seattle Tilth’?s Issaquah programs and the Water Smart program.
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.
Since planting carrots alongside her grandfather at age four, Julie was hooked on gardening. She took over the yard at her childhood home by age 10 and by 15 was anxious to work in a nursery (for the plant discount likely) and since she was too young to be hired, she formed her own company, “Julie’s Expert Hand Weeding”.
Finally old enough, she worked for Zenith Holland Gardens for years where she learned on the job how to handle lots of gardening questions. It was here that she learned what a blast it is to get people hooked on gardening! She decided this was the career for her and left her native Seattle, for Oregon State University to study Horticulture. Wanting to study and travel, she went on to be an exchange student at Lincoln University in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Out of school, she worked for a private estate and then came back to Seattle to work for the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation for several years, during which time she was in charge of the Woodland Park Rose Garden. While there she steered that garden towards organic practices and secured both the restoration of the historic structures and the installation of a long-awaited irrigation system. After hand watering a 2 ½ acre garden for 9 years she learned how to maximize water use to the extreme!
She taught herself how to raise chickens when she could not get into a Seattle Tilth class. Her #1 hobby is gardening! Growing edibles is the most rewarding of all plants that she grows though she is also fond of edibles for wildlife and outstanding fall color. When not gardening, she is immersed in Farmland Preservation and all other things that support our local farms. She is a current board member of the Cascade Harvest Coalition. The Garden Hotline is the perfect place for her to convert many more gardeners and help those who are waning. Julie educates food vendors and restaurants about how to use sustainable food packaging and how to compost their food waste, through the Natural Soil Building program. She also teaches classes for Seattle Tilth.