Name: Brandon Jacob Hays
Position: Nursery Manager
Years working at the greenhouse: 1 year
Did you go to school anywhere? Major? University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Wholesale Production Horticulture.
Did you grow up locally? If not, where? Grew up in Omaha, Nebraska for 21 years, then moved to Lincoln Nebraska to finish school and start working for the next 9 years.
What made you want to be a Nursery Manager? I never thought I would be in the retail sector when I finished school. I had worked in retail throughout college and liked it a lot. I feel like you need to build relationships with people in order to get in the industry of wholesale production. At least to get in the door with the big boys. So starting out in the retail industry gives me a chance to meet a lot of growers and see a lot of nurseries. It is a beginning point in my career that so far has taught me a lot of valuable lessons.
Is there an interesting story about how you got to this type of job? Well, I met my soon to be wife in Omaha and she is originally from Pittsburgh. So we decided to move here and I came across the position at Bedner’s and decided to apply. One thing led to another and before I knew it a year has gone by and I have a full season under my belt and I am getting married. It all happens so fast but I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.
What is the most enjoyable part of your job? Seeing the faces of customers when they come visit the store and see all the annuals and hanging baskets when they first walk in the door. I really feel people’s spirits change when they walk in and smell the flowers and the soil and see all the other happy people around them living in the moment and enjoying life.
Do you have a favorite plant? I am huge fan of Oak trees. Have always been a tree guy but if I had to narrow it down to one it would be the Relict Oak (Quercus macrocarpa ‘Relict’) It comes from the Southwestern Part of Nebraska deep in a canyon that was believed to be untouched from prairie fires and devastating storms. Its parentage traces back to a mix of Bur Oaks, Gamble Oaks, and Post Oaks. The name ‘Relict’ is the ecology form meaning a plant that exists as a remnant of a formerly widely distributed group in an environment.
Least favorite plant? Least favorite plant would have to be perennial globe thistle (Echinops ritro). Back in Nebraska it is an invasive weed. In Pennsylvania it’s a flower that people buy for their gardens. I will never like it but every plant does have its place.
Favorite part of working at Bedner’s? I really like unloading all the trucks with the plants in them. Just seeing what they all look like and enjoying the musty smell of soil from inside the truck. Just brings me a lot of happiness.
Gardening Tip? Think of your plants like yourself. What do you need to make it through the day? Food, water, and rest. Your plants need all that as well.
A gardening trick you learned that always stuck with you? Epsom salts works great as a soil acidifier, and when you are done gardening for the day you can soak your feet with it too.
Something interesting about yourself? In school I had the opportunity to go seed collecting in a cemetery and it was one of the most exciting trips I have ever done. If I ever get the chance to do it again I would not hesitate.
Name: Nicole Vogt
Position: Retail Manager
Years working at the greenhouse: 3 years in May
Where did you go to College? Major?
I went to West Virginia University, majored in Agriculture with an emphasis in Horticulture.
Did you grow up locally? If not, where? I am from Follansbee, West Virginia which is about almost an hour south of McDonald.
What made you want to be a Retail Manager? I studied Biology in college but was always fascinated with plants. A friend of mine from high school convinced me to change my major to Horticulture during my third year of college. I really never knew what I wanted to do exactly. I was very interested in propagation and thought I may end up in research but I somehow ended up in retail thanks to my first official job opportunity after college.
Is there an interesting story about how you got to this type of job? After my husband Ryan and I started dating, his mom brought me to Bedner’s, which was her favorite place to shop for plants. I was so impressed with the quality and selection and really thought of the garden center as a dream job atmosphere.
I was working my previous job for 11 years and was shocked when I saw a job posting for Retail Manager. I had 11 years in retail, merchandising, and management in the garden center industry. I really wanted the position but I told my mom I was just interviewing for fun because it probably wouldn’t happen for some reason or another.
What is the most enjoyable part of your job? The most enjoyable part of my job is watching the customer purchase items that I have hand-picked. I also love listening to customers comment and compliment the garden center on appearance, plant quality, and service. I take a lot of pride in the garden center and am pleased to hear the positive feedback; which is very motivating for me.
Another favorite aspect of my job is having the fairy workshops. I greatly enjoy purchasing the product and making the gardens as well, so being able to share that is so fun and rewarding.
Do you have a favorite plant? I love pansies, I plant them in the fall so I have happy little faces of color in early spring that usually last until I can plant my summer annuals. I also adore begonias, there are so many types and colors, some that are known for their foliage and some that are so unusual looking that they are astonishing.
I care for Caladiums in shade gardens and in sunny gardens I really like Lantana and salvia.
Least favorite plant? I am not a big fan of petunias, old fashioned impatiens, and Mexican flame flower.
Do you have a Gardening Tip? Feed and weed. Weeding and mulching is so important so plants get a healthy start and don’t have to compete with invasive species or grass. I weed by hand whenever possible. I am not a fan of chemical use. Another important factor for plant care is feeding especially for container gardens and hanging baskets. We preach this to our customers so they can be successful. Plants need nutrients and you have to feed them like any other living thing.
In addition to weeding and feeding, I encourage customers to prune and trim nursery stock, perennials, annuals, and hanging baskets. Plants enjoy the process of cutting back tip growth to encourage lateral growth which encourages more blooms to come and stronger branching and growth habit. These tips are very basic but essential to being a savvy home gardener.
Tell us something interesting about yourself. I love flowers and plants but have a small landscape which at the time is fully grown at least I hope so. I used to have a large terraced vegetable garden which I miss tending to. I love container gardening and fill several pots with tropicals, standard topiaries, annuals and herbs, it’s a mobile garden and that’s about all I have time and space for at the moment.
I have 2 children who love nature, fairy gardening and flowers as well. We especially enjoy our hikes and bike rides at Mingo Park.
Do you love people, plants, and getting your hands dirty?
We are looking for fellow plant lovers to help out with the spring rush in all areas– cashiers, sales floor, and labor.
Don’t know much about plants but have retail and customer service experience? Great!
Have a wealth of knowledge about plants of one type (veggie gardening, trees/shrubs/perennials, or annuals)? Perfect!
Never planted in your life but can lift heavy bags of soil and drive a fork lift? We have a place for you.
Click here now to learn more and download an Employment Application.
Along with our normal landscape services, we are now installing EP Henry products including patio stones, pavers, retaining wall stone, outdoor kitchens, and outdoor fireplaces.
In addition to our in-store EP Henry display and literature area, you can take a look at their beautiful online gallery and order a complimentary EP Henry catalog for backyard inspiration. These also show the large variety of hardscape products available to include in your next landscaping project.
You can now find Bedner’s Landscape and Design on Houzz where we will post before and after photos of recent landscapes and design inspirations for you.