Brian Mitchell, Vermont garden centers
Employee-owner since: 2008
What I do: I run the wholesale division at our Williston, VT, garden center, which means I work with landscapers, builders and other professionals in the horticultural trades.
My gardening style: I've had hands-on involvement in ornamental gardening for more than 25 years. I prefer gardens with a loose, informal design that emphasize plant form and texture. I like subtlety and a natural look in the garden. I enjoy experimenting with new plant introductions and plants that are marginally hardy in Vermont.
Vegetables or flowers?: Both, but more of my time is spent with veggies. I have a community garden plot near the store that gets the most attention from me (most days after work). Through spring I look forward to that first day of harvest and in summer I'm ready for that green tomato to turn red, yellow or purple. On the ornamental side, my interest now is especially with perennials and any gardens I create will always include my favorite plants: hellebores and ornamental grasses.
How I've changed as a gardener: After a talk on soil structure in 2008, I became an organic gardener.
Best part about my job: I like to represent our brand and mission for our customers. I also enjoy building relationships with customers in our wholesale division: landscapers, gardeners, architects, lawn-maintenance companies, universities, smaller garden centers and building contractors.
When I'm not gardening: Everything and anything outdoors: running races, hiking, skiing, all water activities, house projects involving wood. Traveling, and seeking out exotic foods.
What people probably don't know about me: I practice classical music on the piano when I can, sometimes on a daily basis, but often not for months.