green industry professional jobs heyden's gardens melissa butson headshot

Starting Position: Horticulturist
Current Position: Seasonal Color Specialist

Melissa studied journalism and managed a Market Research firm in Milwaukee for over 10 years before discovering her niche in the Green Industry. In the late 1990s, on a whim and fed up with office work, she applied for a job with a Landscape Company. She worked on a landscape maintenance crew for a year and was then put in charge of the “seasonal color” division, responsible for keeping container plantings at businesses and residences looking attractive throughout the year. She loved the work and returned to school, studying horticulture at MATC while continuing to work in the landscape industry. Her formal training and years of experience are evident in the stunning custom combination plantings that she creates for our clients here at Heyden’s Gardens.

What do you like most about working at Heyden’s Gardens?
Melissa enjoys working with our customers and having the opportunity to express her creativity through the design and planting of seasonal custom containers. Her words of advice for those putting together their own combination plantings: “Don’t be afraid to experiment with plant combinations. Try incorporating perennials or even small shrubs in with your annual plants. Be Bold. Have Fun!”

Why would you recommend someone work here?
“Our team here is crazy. We work well together and we have a lot of fun. …and they let me water all day long on those hot summer days ;)

Personal Brief
When not at work Melissa stays busy tending her expansive rural garden, which consists of a large cutting garden, vegetable garden, perennial beds, naturalized prairie/woodland, and – of course- numerous gorgeous container plantings. She grows many heirlooms and specialty varieties of vegetables and enjoys cooking, incorporating her garden harvest into creative and healthy dishes of her own invention. Her home and patio are always abundant with cut flower bouquets featuring Zinnias, Verbena, Sunflowers, and other heritage cut flowers grown in her cutting garden. And then there are the cats! Melissa has a soft spot in her heart for cats and provides food, shelter, and medical care for a number of feral cats that live on her property, in addition to lovingly tending to her own two house cats.

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