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Certified by Maine

DEP in Erosion

Control Practices as required by law for working in the Shoreland Zone

photo: Caroline Parsons

James Appleby

(at left in photo at right)

James is now the head designer at Lee Schneller Fine Gardens, which he joined in 2016. He received degrees in Philosophy and Anthropology from Colorado State University and attended the Plants and Soils course at Southern Maine Community College. His gardening experience includes over 15 years as Nursery Manager, Lead Horticulturist and Crew Foreman at several top Maine gardening businesses, and work as an independent fine gardener. James has been to Japan with LSFG five times, and he attended the Kyoto University of Art and Design program in 2018.


Eli Appleby

Eli has worked at LSFG since his early teen years and is now in charge of the garden maintenance operation as well as running the office.  Thanks to his father, James, Eli was born and raised in the gardening tradition and has always been very attuned to the outdoors.  He enjoys perennial propagation, moss gardening and ornamental pruning.  Eli has been on the all-crew Japan trips twice and has been making steady progress in his study of the Japanese language.  In his free time, Eli has a passion for music, photography and "all things Japanese".


Noah Gottlieb (at right in photo above)

Noah graduated from the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, then worked for three years at Asticou Azalea Garden in Northeast Harbor with our good friend, Mary Roper, the Head Gardener. Noah joined our company in 2004, and in 2006 he attended the Kyoto University of Art and Design program and studied gardens in Japan for a month.  He also attended the all-crew Japan tours in 2013, 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2022. In addition to his skills with stone, Noah brings a love and talent for sculpture to our crew, building everything from faux bois to Tiki totems to cedar branch and log structures.  Noah is fluent in French and has many other hidden talents.  (photo by Lee Sligh)

Lee Schneller Sligh

Lee earned degrees in Chinese Language and Literature and Asian History, studied in China and lived in Japan for four years.  She worked as a Japanese technical translator for ten years before founding Lee Schneller Fine Gardens in 1995, naively believing that gardening would be an idyllic profession.  Although not at all idyllic, she is grateful for the company of her wonderful crew and for the confidence of clients who have allowed her and the crew to design and build over 300 gardens in Maine.  She attended the Kyoto University of Art and Design Intensive Seminar on Japanese Gardens in 2003, and wrote the popular garden design book The Ever-Blooming Flower Garden: A Blueprint for Continuous Color. Lee is now mostly retired. (photo by Tom Prescott)

Kelsey Kraft

Kelsey is an anchor in our projects team and, along with Noah, has mastered the art of driving Daisy, our miniature Kubota excavator.  Kelsey contributes seriously to LSFG in terms of design, organization and positive impulse. 

Since college Kelsey has been going everywhere and doing everything, from sailing on schooners and getting her captain's license to gathering maple syrup in the wilds of Maine, raising oysters, cooking, and even working on the set of Saturday Night Live.  We count ourselves very lucky to have her among us when she's not off on another gig. Kelsey went on the 2016 and 2022 all-crew trips to Japan, and she contributes volition with thoughtfulness at LSFG - a rare combination in the gardening world.  Winters find Kelsey working as a carpenter, playing pond hockey, snowboarding and jetting off occasionally to snorkel with her folks.


Sarah Bartz

After earning a degree in Environmental Studies, Sarah worked at farms and in gardens everywhere from her native Minnesota to New England, Washington and Alaska, before finding her "forever" home here in Maine.  The travel bug still bites her these days, inspiring trips to far flung places like Italy and New Zealand, and she went to Japan on the 2022 Crew Trip. Sarah joined LSFG in 2019 after several years of cooking and working in kitchens, happy to be outside again digging in the dirt and growing things every day for work and for fun.  She grows all her own vegetables (except for ginger and potatoes) and throws in the occasional gigantic rutabaga just for show.


Michelle Boudreau

Michelle adores caring for the many beautiful flowers in clients' gardens and also enjoys organizational tasks, recently taking on the added role of executive assistant at LSFG.  Her previous work focused on caring for adults and children facing various life challenges, and the instinct to nurture shows through clearly in all her work.  In her spare time Michelle enjoys nature walks, meditation, working in her own gardens, spending time with family, friends and animals, as well as pursuing a life that focuses on gratitude, mindfulness, and becoming more self-sufficient.

Lee _ Noah making Cheever waterfall 2017
DIRT Kyoto 16.JPG
Tom Tian Chywan.jpg
Noah Ray.jpg

photo above: E. Benjamin

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