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Growing up in rural Virginia, my Dad grew veggies & fruit trees while Mom grew flowers. During much of my professional sales career in Dallas when I hardly had extra time to do laundry, I was yearning for the outdoors.
23 years ago I immersed myself in all things garden related – reading, planting, going to classes, lectures and symposiums, and working alongside inspiring horticulturalists. After our move to Greensboro I volunteered for 5 years as a Guilford County Master Gardener where I served as president (2 years) and chaired the speakers bureau. My presentations included topics such as seed saving, cutting gardens, butterfly gardens, kitchen gardens, perennials, herbs, container gardening and drought tolerant/low maintenance landscaping. I have been active in the Guilford Horticulture Society for 13 years, helped maintain the summer perennial border at the Greensboro Arboretum for 8 years, worked part-time at a premier local garden center, and sold fresh flower arrangements at the 2009 Summerfield Farmers Market to help fuel the “local food” movement. In 2011-3, I served as executive committee member of Greensboro Beautiful Inc. and was awarded the Guilford Horticultural Society’s “Garden Excellence Award” for horticultural knowledge and service.
For the past 15 years I have been grooming my own 10 acre property in Summerfield which is my personal botanical garden and playground. I have thousands of plants in more than nine different gardens including woodland gardens, a “tropical garden”, a conifer garden, a rock garden, a cutting garden and an “edible” garden filled with fruit trees, berries, vegetables and herbs. ALL of the photos on this site are of my gardens.
“I took Ellen’s gardening course last year and recommend it HIGHLY! She is one of the most inspiring and capable teachers I’ve ever been lucky enough to learn from. If you are at all interested, do not wait to sign up. ” Susan S., Greensboro, 2016
“You will be such an inspiration to many new gardeners…they have no idea what path you are setting them on, but will give thanks many times in the future they were lucky enough to meet you!”
Trace’ Pittman, Southern States Nursery Manager, Mebane, NC
“I’ve been an avid, enthusiastic gardener for over 25 years – a former master-gardener – and if I have a question, whom do I turn to? I ask Ellen. Ellen Ashley is one of the most knowledgeable, well-informed gracious gardeners in the Triad – We are indeed lucky to have her in our area.”
Ginny, 5-year Horticulture Society President in Greensboro, NC
“Ellen, You really know how to get an old gardener’s blood flowing and heart beating faster. I love all your pictures and I have to admit that I learned more working with you in the cutting garden at the Ag Center than the 6 years I was in the gardening program. Hands on is definitely the way to go… I know this a great thing you are doing … I can’t think of a better way to work in the garden than to be with friends and having a good time doing it.” Retired Master Gardener Volunteer in McLeansville, NC
“I met Ellen when we began our Master Gardeners program in Guilford County and worked with her on several projects. Ellen’s knowledge about all types of gardening is comprehensive and inspiring. Her enthusiasm for gardening is matched by her enthusiasm to share her knowledge with all gardeners from the novice to the most experienced. I guarantee you will enjoy any and all “hands on” gardening classes and best of all you will be able to apply that knowledge immediately to your own landscape. Ellen’s communication style puts you at ease allowing your mind to relax, soak up her knowledge and have fun at the same time. One hands-on gardening class with Ellen will inspire you to keep your hands in the dirt.”
D. Huey, former Master Gardener Volunteer, North Myrtle Beach, NC
“Not only is Ellen extremely knowledgeable about the habits of plants but she can remember particular quirks that they exhibit. As a long-time gardener, she has experience with the common errors that we all make—thus she is able to share those experiences—a real plus for a beginning gardener. Her vegetable garden, as well as her cutting garden, are both beautifully executed, with great function and lushness. She is quite gracious and generous to our gardening community. Her classes should be a treat!”
Lee, Executive Board Member of Greensboro Beautiful
“I’ve known Ellen over the past 10 years, and I’ve seen her become a leader in the Guilford Horticultural Society and the Master Gardeners. She is extremely knowledgeable in all phases of gardening and will make an excellent teacher. She’s young with a lot of energy. I wish I had known her when I started gardening 40 years ago–maybe I wouldn’t have made so many mistakes.”
Graham, who has created the most beautiful garden in Greensboro, NC.
“Ellen did an absolutely marvelous job of designing the landscaping project at Guilford Child Development. Everyone there was delighted with both the result and the process which turned out to be painless due to Ellen’s excellent organization & leadership! There were also 5 additional master gardeners to help guide the novice volunteer planting crews who made a good turnout despite rain. Just wanted you to know about a job well done by Ellen – she’s outstanding!” Fellow Master Gardener, regarding a project we worked on in 2005, in Greensboro, NC.
“Ellen’s gardens are so varied that there is always something wonderful throughout the changing seasons. Highlights include edible garden, cutting garden, tropicals and shade plants, a mixture to delight your senses. Ellen has studied and practiced over the years so that her shared knowledge will be a bonus for any gardener, both novice and advanced. Her ability to articulate gardening skills and practices is excellent.”
Lynda, Native Plant enthusiast, former Master Gardener Volunteer & Current President Guilford Horticultural Society
“Ellen Ashley’s enthusiasm for and knowledge of gardening places her among others at the top level in this field! The fact that she will be limiting her classes to small groups is a testament to her strong desire to meet the expectations of each participant. Ellen’s passion for gardening becomes obvious as you walk among her awesome displays of outdoor color. Participants whose lives Ellen touches through this effort are quite fortunate, for she will be helping them to develop a lifelong skill.” Beth, Guilford Horticulture Society member, Arboretum volunteer and former Master Gardener Volunteer