Our Team

Here’s a quick introduction to our team:

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Julie Swift

Owner

 

Julie, much like her passion, is a California native – born and raised in the Bay Area. After graduating from San Jose State with a degree in Art, she went on to complete her A.A. in Ornamental Horticulture from Foothill College in 2005. Throughout her studies she worked at Yerba Buena Nursery, Middlebrook Gardens and other Bay Area plant-related businesses, where she developed her passion for native plants. With a move to San Francisco in 2005 she started concentrating full-time on designing, installing and maintaining residential and estate gardens and growing organic vegetables in urban and suburban settings.  She has since developed a love of floral arrangement and has created designs for a number of clients and a variety of events.

 

 

Jess

Garden Manager

 

Jess has always had a passion for being outside and tending to plants, and she started gardening in the Bay soon after she moved to San Francisco in 2006. She taught gardening at a Montessori preschool, completed the Garden For the Environment’s Garden and Compost Educator Training course, and studied Urban Permaculture in San Francisco. Before joining Wild Natives in 2011, she taught gardening to high school youth in the Botanical Gardens of Golden Gate Park. She loves making compost piles, working with worms, and caring for native plants (especially all the different varieties of bee-loving ceanothus plants). She is passionate about sustainable gardening practices, and she is trained to install greywater and rainwater systems. 

 

 

Elise

Garden Manager

 

Born and raised in the Bay Area, Elise first started gardening with her mom in their small backyard. She completed a B.A. in Environmental Studies from UC Santa Cruz in 2011 and started a Masters program at San Jose State University in 2013. Working in the SJSU greenhouses Elise has furthered her love of collecting and managing plants, with a soft spot for California natives. In her spare time she loves to collect carnivorous plants, visit botanical gardens, and chase wildflower blooms! 

 

 

 

Eric

Fine Gardener

 

Eric moved to San Francisco from Madison, WI in the fall of 2016, after leaving a job in healthcare IT to become a career gardener. Gardening has been a large part of Eric’s life since 2013, when he took on his first client in Madison as a summer time job while studying music at the University of Wisconsin. Eric loves to work with veggie gardens, especially in terms of growing soil to produce high quality food. Composting is another favorite activity in the garden, and Eric is fascinated by the transformation of garden and kitchen waste into lush, fluffy soil. Outside of the garden, Eric enjoys playing early jazz and classical music on his clarinet, attending orchestra concerts, and tending to his beloved orchid collection.

 

Sue

Fine Gardener

 

Outside of working in and studying horticulture, Sue is also a teacher of Ayengar yoga, bringing her knowledge to the garden in the form of ergonomics and self-care principals.  She also enjoyed a long career in search engine technology, before getting her start in gardening with the irrigation challenges of the Mountain Winery in Saratoga. Sue is an active member of many horticultural organizations and committees, and is also our plant disease, pathogen and pest expert, enjoying sleuthing for organic remedies online.

 

Bob

 

 Bob

Fine Gardener

 

Our collection of Bay Area natives is rounded-out with Bob, who also has farmers on both sides of his family. Graduating from Oregon State University, Bob then studied Horticulture and Landscape Design at Foothill College. He has worked at the Redwood City Nursery and also runs his own landscape design business. Bob loves being outside in beautiful gardens after working inside jobs in corporate America. Bob is also an accomplished tenor and musician, performing around the Bay Area.

 

Others who you may meet:

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Leonard

Fine Gardener

 

Growing up on an orchard outside of Seattle, WA, Leonard has always had a love for plants and gardening, working as a landscaper and at nurseries throughout his studies.  After moving to San Francisco in 2010 for a MFA in creative writing, he spent his free time cultivating an acre-sized garden in the back plot of his SF apartment.  These days, on weekends you can catch him in his urban vegetable garden in Oakland, or a nearby coffee shop, writing short stories.

 

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Kristin

Fine Gardener

 

Another Bay Area native, Kristin spent over 10 years in urban planning, focusing on the built aspects of the designed environment before shifting her focus to its greener elements a few years ago. She has studied horticulture at City College, interned at the San Francisco Botanical Garden, and worked as a maintenance gardener at estates and residences throughout the Bay Area. We love her because she has a passion for creating beautiful, sustainable, low-water, native gardens.

 

Deanna

 

Deanna

Fine Gardener

 

Deanna moved to the Bay Area in the summer of 2014. She grew up in New York and spent over ten years in the MidWest before settling here in California. She has always had a love of the outdoors and gardening. Upon discovering the year round opportunities in the area she took what was once a hobby and made it a career. Deanna is a UC Certified Master Gardener and is currently completing her training as a Master Composter. Deanna also volunteers her time at the Alameda Boys & Girls Club helping to teach youth food education. She is passionate about edibles in the landscape and working with native plants.