Since her move to Eugene, Oregon in 2005 Willow Hill has taken to the gardening climate here like a fish to water. And clients thoroughly enjoy finding in Willow a real co-hort! Her words express it best, “When I’m helping people live in the landscape of their dreams — one that flourishes and feels like ‘Home’ — my heart sings.”
A natural progression from Willow’s years of experience as a professional gardener in the Midwest was training in landscape design. This has enabled her company to provide a wide variety of services.
“I grew up on a farm, and have always preferred being outdoors. Outdoor ‘living rooms’ open to the sky and pleasing to the senses. Floors where needed, and living green walls, with pathways and portals between lovely spaces. All of these can be part of a complete landscape design.”
Traveling the country when Willow left the farm, she became an avid student of the countless variations in geography. She observed first-hand the natural affinity plants and wildlife have for mutual support. Also, how they thrive under specific conditions, native to particular soils and landforms. Looking back, Willow sees that all this was preparation for her life’s work. She knows, “Like people, plants thrive in their right place.” She takes her cues from nature, by way of many years’ experience.
And what’s her dream? Collaboration with others to make of our built environment a flowering, integrated green infrastructure, ensuring every person has easy access to park and garden spaces providing food, fuel, medicine and well-being. She says, “Let’s bring gardening out of the back yard — into the streets! And help relieve the pressure we put on wild places as our population grows.” A favorite model is the work of Urban Greenspaces Institute, whose motto — ‘In Livable Cities is Preservation of the Wild’ — is a new corollary to Thoreau’s ‘In Wilderness is Preservation of the Wild.’
Willow’s philosophy: “Landscapes can be enjoyable and elegant and expressive, all the while being very useful. We need to do everything we can when composing them to make wise use of resources and safeguard ecosystems for wildlife. This is really a call to adventure — in the process, we get to reclaim the beauty and vitality of our own wild natures!
“Connecting with the land is an essential human need and with it wells up a deep appreciation for the care we receive every day as we care for the Earth.”