A Left Brainer in a Right-Brain Profession

Susan Picquelle
Vivid Landscape Design

Collecting data for NOAA in the Bering Sea
I've worn many hats in my lifetime, and my most recent one is as your new APLDWA Treasurer. I'd like to take this opportunity to introduce myself to you.

I eagerly joined APLDWA in 2010 as a new student of landscape design at Edmonds Community College. I had just retired from my 30+ year career as a statistician conducting research on marine ecosystems with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Although I had fantasized about doing landscape design professionally for a long time before making the jump, it was not without some serious soul searching. Could I make the transition from the left-brain science world to the right-brain creative design world? I rationalized that it was all just variations of the same process - creative problem solving - and I was pretty good at that. So here I am nine years later, fully immersed in my new landscape design world, but with my own unique perspective, just as you all have your own perspectives that have evolved through your life experiences. And happily, being treasurer taps back into my left brain world, and even more happily, it's a lot easier than statistics!

I am almost a native Seattleite, having moved here from San Diego in 1983 with my husband, Jim Meador. The two of us have been crazed gardeners ever since we moved into our first home here over three decades ago. Being a perennial student, my horticultural education began much earlier than 2010, thanks to the excellent programs from the NW Horticultural Society (NHS) and other groups in Seattle's hotbed of horticulture. An admitted plant addict, my plant lust is no longer restrained by the bounds of my own garden now that I design densely planted gardens for others. How wonderful it is to be able to feed an addiction and even get paid for it! In addition to my own landscape design business, I work part time as a designer for Nyce Gardens. Tina Nyce has been a wonderful mentor and I also have been blessed by having a few other APLD members in my corner, helping me navigate my new career, i.e., Phil Wood, Janine Anderson, and Leanne Goulding.

NHS Garden Tour in England
Although I'm new on the APLDWA Board, I am not new to volunteering for APLDWA. Smelling fresh meat, Janine invited me to join the Program Committee in 2011, and a year later I became Chair of the Committee, a role I enjoyed for 3 years before retiring from the Committee in 2016. Besides being an APLDWA devotee, I am also on the Board of NHS and on their Tour Committee and recently organized trips to North Carolina and to New Zealand, and I occasionally volunteer with the Arboretum Foundation and the Northwest Perennial Alliance.

Drinking wine & wearing hats with a few APLDWA friends
When not designing gardens or working in my own garden or attending or planning garden tours, I enjoy scuba diving in tropical waters, drinking wine with friends, and wearing hats, not necessarily in that order.