Horticulturist, Denver Botanic Garden
Delaware native Laura Swain earned her Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources Conservation with a focus in Recreation Management and a minor in Forestry at Virginia Tech in 2013. A summer internship at the Catawba Sustainability Center in rural southwest Virginia solidified her desire to work with the public to create better communities through non-profit organizations. This experience also helped Laura realize that part of her passion lies in education and interpretation.
Prior to the annual internship at UDBG in 2016, Laura spent a year at Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library working as the Natural Lands Intern. Here she was introduced to the complex, yet rewarding relationship between horticulture and ecology, and the wonderful world of public gardens. The Natural Lands internship prepared her for UDBG where she spent time propagating rare plants, designing a native border, and rehabilitating a native meadow invaded with non-native plants. While at UDBG, Laura gained an awareness of non-profit management and met with the many members, donors, and patrons who support UDBG’s organization and internship program.
After completing the UDBG annual internship, Laura began work as a Senior Gardener at Heritage Museums and Gardens, where she helped supervise five student interns during the summer months. She believes her past internships at UDBG helped set the stage for how she viewed the interns’ experience and enjoyed “facilitating a great internship experience for them as others did for me.” At Heritage, she managed and designed garden areas, and maintained a collection of daylilies, hydrangeas, and rhododendrons. Laura also worked to update the plant records system and created a more cohesive curation of living collections by forming a curation committee and drafting a living collections policy. One of the duties she enjoyed while there, involved leading ecology activities with the on-site STEM pre-school for a few hours each month.
Building on her passion for horticulture, fine gardening and design, in spring 2020 Laura accepted a position as Lead Horticulturist with Landscape Collaborative. Laura brings her high standards for plant health care, garden design and ornamental pruning to over 300 residential clients in the Greater Boston area. She works closely with clients and staff to maintain and enhance landscape designs ranging from modern courtyards, to rolling historic estates and many garden scales in between. The firm offers a full range of services including garden design and maintenance, container display, pruning, lighting and irrigation, for clients “who want the truly exceptional.”
Laura expressed her appreciation to UDBG for “the diverse array of experiences that prepared me to jump headfirst into a career with a confidence that I had not yet experienced.”
In her free time, Laura enjoys exploring the rich historical, cultural and ecological diversity that New England has to offer.