Garden Talent: Rizaniño “Riz” Reyes

Posted by on December 17, 2013



Going forward…

These are the bright young minds going forward into the field of horticulture.

Meet  Rizaniño “Riz” Reyes. Riz, thanks for sharing with Gardening with Confidence! And thank you for all you do!

Please visit the Gardeners going forward category (on this blog) for other interviews of bright young minds.

r4_p5ZhNvT7z4voAVTLfcdc9hj68M0oR965p26R1-54Name: Rizaniño “Riz” Reyes

Age: 31

Occupation: Horticulturist

Place of Employment: Seattle, WA

Where you went to college: University of Washington

What is your earliest garden memory?

Roaming around in our front yard in the Philippines where we had a jungle of a garden with various tropical plants and fruits. Earliest gardening memory probably has to be begging my mom and aunt to buy me three bareroot roses.

What made you decide to enter the field of horticulture?

The combination of art and science and how plants and flowers made people happy.

Please tell me about your specific horticultural position?

I am a part-time gardener for the University of Washington Botanic Garden at the Center for Urban Horticulture in Seattle and I also run my own horticultural design, consulting and maintenance firm called RHR Horticulture.

How long have you been in the horticulture business?

About 15 years.

What is your personal garden style?

I’ve never been asked this before. I’d like to think that I’m fairly versatile designer, but I put more emphasis on the plant materials I choose for projects. I like bold and architectural foliage, definite lines, but my own personal garden is a collector’s style with incredible diversity, but with definition and intent.

Tell me about your first plant love?

Jasminum sambac, which we call “Sampaguita” in the Philippines. It is the national flower and it has the most captivating scent that reminds me of my childhood and my homeland.

Who inspired you in your career and how?

I’ve many mentors who took me under their wings to expose me to the wonderful world of plants and flowers.

I grew up watching public television and was particularly fond of “The Victory Garden” Roger Swain, Peter Seabrook, and their guest hosts all were inspiring and made me think “WOW, I want to do that!”

Also through PBS, “Gardens of the World with Audrey Hepburn” was another early inspiration. I dreamed of having more old garden roses than Empress Josephine ever had.

Plant Explorer, Dan Hinkley, and his former nursery, Heronswood, inspired a passion for rare and unusual plants from around the world and using them in our wonder Pacific Northwest landscape. I started a small specialty nursery of my own, propagating rare and unusual plants for our gardening community.

Even Martha Stewart played a role in pursuing a career when I would watch her gardening segments and realized that I knew more than her.

What is your favorite garden setting?

I’ve many, but the first that comes to mind is: walking through a fragrant perennial border during sunrise and cutting blooms for a bouquet.

What is your favorite planting style?


What advice can you give others considering entering the field of horticulture?

Understand its importance in people’s lives and prepare to be patient, genuine, kind, and respectful of others in the field.

It does not make much money so you have to absolutely love what you do and be prepared to take on another job if necessary to support the kind of lifestyle you want for yourself.

If you could go anywhere to see gardens, where would that be?

Ireland and South Africa….to start..

If you could go with any one person, who would it be?

A close gardening buddy.

What was your most valuable training?

Undergraduate degree and simply working in various gardens.

How can people contact you: email, fb, LinkedIn, Twitter, website, etc.?
Twitter: NextGenGardener

Anything else you would like to share?

Helen rocks.


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3 Responses to “Garden Talent: Rizaniño “Riz” Reyes”

  1. LaJuana says:

    LOVE this interview and this young man’s thoughts on gardening! Love that he was impacted by the gardening programs on PBS. I’m twice his age and those same programs have influenced me as well. Even though we have a network with GARDEN in it’s name, it’s only PBS that really gives us any true garden programs. I wish him well in his future and hope he can live the life he chooses doing the work he has a passion for!

  2. Thanks for introducing us to this gentleman. I’m so enjoying this series. These folks are very inspiring!

  3. Joe Lamp'l says:

    A bright star in the world of horticulture trail blazers. Love Riz!

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