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. Lee also wrote a best-selling garden design book called The Ever-Blooming Flower Garden: A Blueprint for Continuous Color. (photo by Tom Prescott)
Noah Gottlieb (below, at right)
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 and 2018. 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)
(below, at left)
James is our multi-talented Head Gardener. 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 attended the all-crew trips to Japan in 2016 and 2018 and attended the Kyoto University of Art and Design program in 2018.
Liz Stanley (at left)
Liz worked as an art director, illustrator, painter and designer for 20 years after graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design. She now divides her time between gardening and her staff position at University of Maine Cooperative Extension where her motto is "no question is too weird for the Cooperative Extension." Liz is a Master Gardener and an active volunteer in many community organizations. She has worked at LSFG longer than anyone else (except Lee) and has been to Japan three times on all-crew trips. She lives in Warren, outnumbered by men but not outclassed.
(photo by Lee Sligh in Tibet)
Leslie Ferguson (above)
Leslie grew up summering on her family's farm in New York, but didn't start honing her gardening skills until moving to Maine in the 1970s. After working in nurseries and on a fabulous fine gardening crew for 20 years, she joined LSFG to explore Japanese gardening and design principles. When not working for LSFG, she works with kids in an alternative program growing kelp and instilling the concepts of mindfulness and stewardship as she continues her own search for simplicity, inner peace and wisdom. Leslie attended the all-crew trips to Japan in 2016 and 2018.
(photo by Lee Sligh)
Becky Hinsey (at left)
Becky comes to Maine, and to LSFG, from the state of Illinois, where gardening consisted of even parallel rows of zinnias, marigolds and begonias. Becky is now in garden heaven, where there are never any rows, but bursts of color within organic designs. At LSFG, Becky specializes in garden maintenance and pond care. She attended the all-crew trip to Japan in 2018.
Kelsey Kraft (at right)
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 all-crew trip to Japan, and she contributes volition with thoughtfulness at LSFG - a rare combination in the gardening world.
Sarah Bartz (at left)
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. 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.
three photos above (right) and one at lower left: Liz Stanley
photo above: E. Benjamin