Thursday, June 28, 2012
Paige Patterson is a student of the earth. Her work experience ranges from managing a botanical garden to teaching horticulture to high school students to guiding a raft through the rapids of the Ocoee River.
After moving to Signal Mountain two years ago, for nine months Patterson managed Blue Moon Cruises, which operates three- to five-hour nature wildlife cruises through the Hiawassee Island Wildlife Refuge. She recently returned to her roots, utilizing her degree from Berry College in ornamental horticulture as she focuses on landscaping and ornamental plants under the business name Tennessee Fine Gardening.
Specializing in native plants, perennial gardens, container gardens, pruning and seasonal color, she also handcrafts wooden arbors and creates stepping stones with pebble or stained glass mosaics.
Patterson said she built her first arbor for a friend’s wedding at a botanical garden.
“Everyone said, ‘Oh my God, you have to start selling these,’” she said, adding that she received enough positive feedback that she thought there might be a market for them.
Patterson’s arbors, which she sells or rents out for weddings or special events, are made with sturdy cedar and last for many years, she said.
“It fits with the mountains; it looks like it belongs,” said Patterson of the look of one of her arbors. “Some I’ve seen at stores look wimpy and cheap.”
She said most of her customers live on Lookout Mountain, where landscaping is typically more formal than on Signal Mountain and features classics such as boxwoods and hydrangeas.
“Signal Mountain is more natural and earthy,” said Patterson, adding that she prefers the informal style. She said she is excited to do more projects in her community. “[Signal Mountain customers] want a woodsy, more native-plant look.”
After working as a manager for a wholesale perennial supplier for several years, Patterson said she is familiar with the latest trends in the larger markets such as Atlanta.
Her background in plant nutrition also makes her an expert on proper plant placement within a landscape to ensure optimal health for the plant as well as beauty.
“I’ve learned more out gaining knowledge on jobs,” she said as opposed to information learned in college, “seeing what conditions things work well in through trial and error over the years, or what works together or looks good in a certain location.”
Contact Paige Patterson of Tennessee Fine Gardening at 706-455-7296.