Alison is a life-long plant lover who took a roundabout path to her passion for native plants. After finishing a masters degree in mathematics and enjoying a successful career as an actuary, she entered a doctoral program in plant ecology at the University of Texas at Austin, thinking that ecological research was her calling. However, while doing field work for her dissertation, Alison had the opportunity to explore truly wild habitats on the Edwards Plateau in Central Texas, which changed everything for her.
Alison became fascinated by the many wonderful species that grew naturally on the dry, limestone hills west of Austin, TX, and noticed that very few of them were available in the nursery trade. Instead, landscapers and homeowners were more likely to plant invasive species. From these experiences, Alison began to dream about what a native plant nursery could offer to a local community and realized that growers of native plants will be an important piece in the puzzle of restoring native ecosystems.
Because native plants form the bottom rung of the food chain of a healthy ecosystem, Alison dreams of a world where landscaping with native plants is the norm. A world where nature-supporting native plants are familiar and sought-after by consumers. This cannot be accomplished without a network of locally-focused native plant nurseries that can both educate consumers and provide the plants that will thrive in each nursery's local context. It is Alison's hope that Piedmont Plants Nursery can serve as a model nursery for that vision!