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Our Gardeners

A team behind it all

Our Gardeners

Meet the gardeners who make the grounds at Fearrington so beautiful every season! The Village Center is divided into a quadrant system, each section overseen by a different gardener. A grounds crew keeps lawns looking lush and handles heavy pruning.

Many escaped colder climates to pursue their passion year round but with an average tenure at Fearrington of about 15 years, it’s one of the most experienced gardening teams around.

Meet the Team

Ryan Cadwalader

Ryan Cadwalader, Arborist & Gardener

Ryan’s love of nature was seeded in Northeast Ohio, and a career spent in the food and beverage industry did nothing to dampen his passion for plants. After changing careers, he has worked in landscape management and greenhouse production. He has an AAS in Landscape Gardening, is an ISA Certified Arborist, and a NC Certified Plant Professional. Ryan devotes time to conserving the Longleaf Pine Ecosystem, is a volunteer wildland firefighter and is currently pursuing an Invasive Species Management Certification. Among his responsibilities here, he takes care of the trees in the Village Center and Camden Park.

Jorge Castro

Jorge Castro, Grounds Superintendent

Born in Costa Rica to a family of coffee growers, Jorge attended the University of Costa Rica before moving to New Jersey in 1992 where he worked for an indoor plant nursery. In 1995, attracted by the prospect of outdoor year-round gardening, he and his family moved to Pittsboro, and soon thereafter he started working at Fearrington. Today, Jorge manages the grounds crew, handling pruning, mowing, irrigation and so on for over 40 acres. In his spare time, he volunteers for the local youth soccer league and at home, he cultivates espaliered fruit trees.

portrait of culinary gardener named emily

Emily Houck, Culinary Gardener

Emily comes to Fearrington after many years working on small organic production farms in the triangle selling at farmers markets and working in fine dining restaurants. As the culinary gardener, she works with our restaurants to grow specialty produce like cucamelons, amaranth, black garlic and borage that we can cook up and serve to our guests. Emily incorporates methods like permaculture and companion planting, and bee and bird husbandry practices to encourage a thriving garden and healthy community.


Donna Mears

Donna Mears, Gardener

After growing up in eastern North Carolina, Donna pursued a major in late medieval history at UNC. After graduation, she worked as a preschool teacher and chef. A lifelong gardener, she joined Fearrington in 1991 and earned a Certified Plant Professional certificate in 2012. She maintains the gardens around The Belted Goat and McIntyre’s Books, the central lawn gardens and the cutting gardens for our florists. She especially enjoys tiny flowering plants, plants that smell good, and is an avid English soccer fan (“Go Toffees!”).

Wendy Moses

Wendy Moses, Gardener

Wendy’s roots are in the Midwest, but North Carolina is home. After earning a Bachelor of Arts from Indiana University and a Master of Landscape Architecture from NCSU, Wendy worked as a landscape architect, in a sculpture foundry and as a garden/floral designer prior to joining Fearrington in 2005.  Habits besides gardening: reading, drawing and exploring cultivated and natural areas in the US and UK. The beds around the Inn Building, including reception, courtyard, Jenny’s Garden and the Willow Oaks, are Wendy’s domain.