I’ve been called a plant geek and a guru, but I don’t consider myself to be either. I do know a lot about gardening. In fact, I understand enough to realize just how little I know. My specialty is talking to people about plants, landscape, and horticulture in ways they can understand. It’s not rocket science, but it doesn’t come naturally to many. I have spent the last 20 years growing plants here in Austin, experimenting all the way, to learn what works and what doesn’t. Being on the “front lines” of the gardening industry in a retail garden center for over 17 years; I think I’ve heard nearly every question and advised through nearly every situation.
Now, I am happy to bring my experience to Austin in a much more personal fashion with M. Jiles Garden Service. As concierge Garden Consultants, we can provide you with the best solutions to your garden needs, from design, to install, and maintenance.
I do not have a degree in horticulture, let’s just get that out of the way. While I have great respect for those that do, I find many horticulturalists just don’t know how to talk to people about plants and gardening. It’s like asking a brain surgeon to explain a headache. I do have over 20 years in Garden Center and Landscape experience. While it would be nice to list off a bunch of degrees, here are a few things I am proud of. I am a Texas Certified Nursery Professional and member of TNLA. I have volunteered and worked with ANLA (American Nursery and Landscape Assoc.) until their merger with OFA last year. I trained many Austin Landscapers as part of the Grow Green Certified Landscape Professional Program. I am currently on the Waterstar Board for Travis County through A&M Extension.
The Rubber Meets the Road
Before my first plant job in 1993, I had owned exactly one plant in my life, a “Mother-in-Law’s Tounge” that I kept alive for over a year. When I arrived in Austin, I needed a job and I got a break at a small IGC (Independent Garden Center) as the water boy. I immediately fell in love with the wonder and beauty of plants. I spent hours researching and devouring as much information as possible, little of it making any real sense to me. Eventually, as 1+1 started to equal 2, I worked my way up to sales and eventually manager of the place. I think my approach to learning plants is what has given me the ability to explain horticulture in every day terms. After a few years there and on to other exploits, I found myself back in an IGC in 2002. For the last few years, I have gotten much more involved with garden groups, local government, and the Austin gardening community.
Hey! You’re that guy from the TV!
I have been very fortunate to be asked to be a spokesperson for gardening over the last few years. My spots on Fox7, News 8, and other local channels have been a real joy. Being on Central Texas Gardener has been quite a career highlight, as have my many speaking engagements for numerous gardening clubs here in Central Texas. I have also been active “behind the scenes”, writing and speaking for the IGC industry in publications such as Today’s Garden Center, Green Profit, and Greenhouse Grower. During this 12 year run, I really spread my wings. I was honored to be asked to work on the ANLA Management Clinic and to do the Hop on the Bus Tour in 2010.
In addition to the writing and ANLA work I’ve done, I have toured Garden Centers of all shapes and sizes all over our great country. While every store is different, we all share one goal: delivering excellent material and advise to our customers (and making some money on the way). In my position as a Retail Consultant, my job is to help you find the gem that is your business and help to polish it to be its brightest. From simple supply chain solutions to more complex store layout and management restructuring, I can help guide your business through any transition.