Landscape Architect Focuses on Farming, Family

“This is Wendy, the Landscape Architect,” said my great friend and mentor, Stephanie Cohen, as she introduced me to a colleague at the Native Plants in the Landscape Conference at Millersville University (if you have never been, it is a must see for 2012!

I nearly did a double take and I realized how far I have come since college, in both my career path as well as my outlook on the world.  Some may call it growth or maturity, even if my family thinks I’m a bit silly at times.  I simply believe it is just life, and life is dull if you are not constantly learning, trying new things and evaluating how everything might work into your lifestyle.

I look back at my childhood and wish I had my current drive for knowledge at a younger age – I could really be much farther ahead.  Not going there.

As I mulched my blueberry patch this morning, 80 degrees by 10am, sweat everywhere – I was really enjoying myself.  My almost-preschooler was dancing through the garden in her tutu and flip flops as I worked, asking questions and eating blueberries along the way.

The next task was a trip to the hardware store (by the way, she was still wearing the tutu but had changed into ballet slippers).  While purchasing fence posts we stumbled upon a wonderful display of succulents, while not hardy for us, would be perfect for the window boxes on our playhouse.  Hot, dry and elevated – we shared a quick lesson on the right plant for the right place.  Granted the baby cactus with flowers in hot pink and bright orange helped me hold the preschooler’s attention.

Tonight will entail nursery work and vegetable gardening, never-ending tasks, but rewarding none the less.  The tutu will probably have a popsicle stain by then, but we are only 3 and a half once, right.  The way I figure, I am also only 35 once and I would much rather spend this time out on the “farm” (as I affectionately call it) than sitting behind a computer in an engineering firm.  At times I wish I had the income of a “real” job, but that will come, right?

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About the Author

Wendy Brister

Wendy Brister grew up gardening, went on to college to learn more about plants, and is now – in a variety of ways - sharing with others the horticulture knowledge she has spent her life learning. Brister is an adjunct faculty member at Harrisburg Area Community College specializing in herbaceous plants. She is a consultant, lecturer and a landscape designer. She holds a BS in Landscape Architecture from Temple University Ambler. The self-described plant geek, with a special affection for perennial plants, lives in Eastern York County with her husband Brian, daughter Emma and her dog, Clinger.


  1. The best things in life are often found in our own backyard wearing tutus or swinging a baseball bat! All our other endeavors fit perfectly when family comes first. Great article and adorable picture, Wendy!

    # Posted on June 13, 2011 at 4:35 pm by Tara Fake
  2. Wendy brough back wonderful memories of a simple times past wih my own daughter who is now 26 and living three hours away. I will never regret the time we spent planting seeds, picking vegtables and flowers, watching lady bugs dong their thing.
    KISS+Keep It Simple Silly-
    would be great for all ! If we’re 3 or 30ish or 60ish!
    Thanks, Wonderful Wendy, for your heartfelt thoughts….
    Love the phote!! :) Dale

    # Posted on June 20, 2011 at 6:49 pm by Dale Ostrom

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