We had the good fortune of connecting with Jen McDonald, Jill Oliver, Nicole Shah and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jen McDonald, Jill Oliver, Nicole Shah, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
We worked for the same company prior to starting our own. However, we would work on projects independently and it meant for some lonely days! Gardening is best shared with friends and when we discussed the idea of going out on our own, we wanted to do so together. Each one of us brings different strengths to the table. Creatively, we found that collaborating on projects meant that we could incorporate new, fresh design ideas. Our clients know that instead of one Garden Girl, they have access to all three of us equally!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
We are first and foremost moms / wives / friends. This is important because as moms, we’ve figured out how to be very efficient at getting things done the right way, the first time. As moms, we also find ourselves encouraging our children to try new things, to be brave, and to go for it. But how often do we actually take our own advice?? Gardening is a learned skill, not an inherent trait. We want to remind our clients that they will need to practice gardening. It’s a daily experiment. It should also be fun.
We consider ourselves the preppy, chic gardeners of Houston. We like to dress up, but will often have dirt under our nails or sweat dripping down our brows. If you want to find a Garden Girl, we’re likely wearing our signature royal blue & white checkered top, a blue apron, or a fun printed scarf & hat.
We like to ease our newbie gardeners in with a cocktail garden. Sounds fun right? It is! Herbs are the perfect starters for raised bed gardening. They require very little care, other than regular water, sunlight and good soil. Cocktail gardening reminds our clients that a 5:00 garden check is a great excuse to gather a neighbor or two, pull up a chair, and enjoy the garden!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We’d hit a farmer’s market in the morning, gathering items for a picnic lunch. Then we’d head to Bayou Bend Gardens for a garden tour, followed by a visit to the Houston Arboretum. We’d relax later at Hotel ZaZa before heading out to dinner at Coltivare. Are you sensing a garden-centered theme?
If we had more time, we’d gather up a group of girlfriends and road trip out to Round Top, stopping for a long lunch on the outdoor patio at The Garden Company. We’d shop some of our favorite spots open year round, including Market Hill and Henkel Square favorite~ Townsend Provisions. We’d have dinner and drinks at Lulu’s before retiring to the Wander Inn for a nightcap around the fire pit. The next morning, we’d sit on the porch and wait for our warm biscuits and jam to be delivered straight to our door.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Our clients! Garden Girls, LLC was launched in January 2022 and we hit the ground running. We are grateful to our friends, neighbors, family members who spread the word, booked consultations and trusted us to design and install their turnkey gardens. We rely heavily on word of mouth and client testimonials. Because we live here in Houston, we are gardening alongside our clients. We take every garden design seriously and strive to design spaces that reflect our clients’ lifestyle.
Facebook: We have a page: Garden Girls TX
Harlow and May / Ashley Maresh