Meet the Staff : Brandon Hays
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.