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  • Writer's pictureCat Meholic

Eva Monheim

Our Featured Horticulturist for March! Eva has many horticulture goals, and is making them happen!

WinH: What are your current roles in horticulture?

EvM: I recently left my position of 12+ years as an Assistant Professor of Horticulture at Temple University.

•Since 2009, I have been teaching at Longwood Gardens in the Professional Gardener Program. I teach Woody Plants and Arboriculture.

•I am now writing a book on my experiences as a florist. Years ago, I owned and operated a floral shop in Glenside, Pennsylvania. Owning a floral shop is not what it appears to be – it is so much more than flowers

•In addition, I am writing a book on Color – a long fascination of mine – it will include horticultural components using students’ research, including landscape architecture, etc.

•I have numerous upcoming writing assignments – subjects include shrubs and genetically engineered crops, etc.

•Continue to work with the Garden Communicators Association (GWA) as a member of the Membership Committee and the Sustainable Committee

•Continuing to lecture on horticulture – all sorts of topics and will be teaching at the Barnes this May presenting a workshop on container gardening and a lecture for the Potomac Rose Society

•Just this past week I was elected into the International Dendrology Society – I will be leading a tour for them in October – here in the Philadelphia Region

•Painting and preparing for a one woman show – stay tuned. The subject matter is nature related

WinH: How did you get interested in horticulture?

EvM: My grandmother was a huge influence on me. She was the one who showed me how to propagate roses under a glass jar in the garden. I thought this was magic. My mom was also a huge influence - she grew prize winning African violets. My mom and dad loved to preserve food so spending time visiting farms – buying produce and jarring fruits and vegetables was always fun to me and it was great opening summer in the dead of winter. My Godmother was also a huge influence on me. I spent many childhood days on the farm learning to grow and pick and maintain strawberries and other field crops.

WinH: What inspired you to write your upcoming book?

EvM: Since the age of eight, I have written diaries. They were and are a cathartic therapy. I have filled book upon book with extensive diaries and now it’s time for me to share the raw emotion that comes with being a business owner, mother, wife and daughter. The flower shop is the perfect vehicle to take the reader on a journey – smelling the beautiful fragrances amid the joys and sorrows of life.

Photo: "Finishing touches on a wedding that I designed with colleagues" -Eva Monheim

WinH: As an advocate for Women in Horticulture, what are some issues in the green industry we should work on improving? Any suggestions for how?

EvM: One thing that I have noticed over time in our industry – where ever women go within the industry where it was a traditionally man’s position – the salaries have dropped. The valuation of women in the work force needs to change. Equal pay for equal work. If we are educated women we should be getting salaries that reflect our efforts to educate ourselves. We should not be getting low wages when we have a treasure trove of skills that others do not have. Exploitation is not acceptable. $15 should be the lowest amount anyone person should be receiving in our industry – yet we still see lower wages per hour.

WinH: What advice do you have for women that wish to advance their careers in horticulture?

EvM: As I mentioned above, be open to opportunity and to explore new avenues. If you have an excellent idea – follow your own lead. Make sure to get the best education you can and continue to educate yourself throughout life – this will make you relevant if you want to continue to be relevant. You will never be obsolete. Partner, share experiences and find a mentor. I continue to seek out mentors that will inspire me and I can inspire them. A mentor for each of your areas of interest. E.g. I have a mentor for garden writing and I have a mentor for writing my books. These are two different people that give me diverse feedback and inspiration. Each successful in their own right – I can be that same league.

Thank you Eva Monheim for taking the time to do this Q&A and for sharing your wisdom!

*Photo: "Apple tasting in my Food Crops class at Temple University-over 22 varieties tasted." -Eva Monheim

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