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Besa has an impressive knowledge of native plant horticulture. I've hired her to work with me in my yard on several occasions. She was extremely attentive to my goals for the projects on which we worked, making excellent observations that helped me in my decisions. Her ideas were extremely helpful to me. Her pruning skills are impressive.  My shrubs and small trees have never looked so good. Besa is artistic and efficient in her work.   She is punctual and reliable. I'm looking forward to working with her again in September.


Besa has been an invaluable resource for me as I have begun the journey of transforming my small backyard into a more viable native plant and insect friendly environment. She listened to my questions and concerns, explored and evaluated what I have and what was available, considering my time and budgeting requirements. She plotted out a three-year plan that was quite doable. She sketched out what I have currently, building in where I want to go and made suggestions as to what to add as well as what to remove. It's been quite easy to implement the suggestions she made and I'm looking forward to continuing the journey. I would definitely call on Besa again.


Our school had a significant challenge ahead of us when we chose to build our new learning center to meet the "Living Building Challenge". The challenge required us to create a native landscape that would reflect the surrounding natural community.

Fortunately, I knew Besa Schweitzer. Besa was a student at our school when she was much younger. We had kept in touch through events at Shaw Nature Reserve and we. Shared a common interest in sustainable native landscapes. I was really please when she agreed to consult on the landscape design and implementation at the new Jan Phillips Learning Center(JPLC).

Our first step was finding sources for plants. Besa was able to facilitate a grant through St Louis Wild Ones for potted natives from Missouri Wildflower Nursery. She also helped us get 100 3- gallon trees and shrubs  through Forest Releaf. A final group of plants came from Monarch Watch.

Because we are an Educational Institution, we were able, once again with Besa's help, get a substantial amount of local seed from Shaw through Scott Woodberry and Grace Johnson. We stratified and planted about 30 types of seed in our school greenhouse.  We were able to grow over 1500 plants that were then planted around the learning center.

As spring progressed students came out in groups and under Besa's guidance they planted the many trees and shrubs and the hundreds of plants. As spring turned to summer the diverse group of plants evolved into a beautiful landscape and an incredible source is food and habitat for a wide variety of pollinators.

Besa's vision and determination made the garden possible. She has remained part of the project as it continues to evolve into a more self-sustaining landscape design.

Tim Wood
Sustainability Coordinator, The College School 

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