Spreading a Love of Horticulture

By Laura Tomlin

This December, I had the opportunity to share with about 20 Southern Land Company fellow employees my design techniques of making a gorgeous, display-ready Christmas tree.

That class may seem like a small event, but that “Lunch and Learn” seminar exemplifies a deep-rooted value at our company: we are stronger through sharing knowledge. If an employee possesses a valuable perspective, Tim Downey, our CEO tries to figure out a way to spread that expertise horizontally through the company.

We are blessed here at SLC to have educated, experienced experts in many different fields including architecture, finance, and land acquisitions, to name a few.  My area of expertise is horticulture. Three years ago, I joined Southern Land as the Director of Floriculture. Basically, my job is to use my knowledge of landscape design to beautify our properties in the Greater Nashville area. My striking use of annual color can really make a space shine. I’ve learned other best practices over the years too. For example: odd numbers of decorative elements almost always look better in design. That’s just something I’ve learned from experience – seven ornaments will always look better on a Christmas tree than six.

The fact that I’m asked to share what I know speaks to Tim’s vision. Though he is not a horticulturalist, he has an unbelievable gift, his eye for design. He knows what he likes and he communicates that to me, which enables me to not only execute his vision but to communicate to others – both homeowners as well as coworkers. That open line of communication runs throughout Southern Land Company and applies to all aspects of our developments – especially horticulture, which many companies neglect to prioritize. The end result is, for one, our employees have a deep understanding of the communities we create. Second, our ability to share our skill sets is one of the key reasons that our communities are so strikingly beautiful and provide such a desirable, rich, sellable lifestyle for our property customers.

I really do believe that Tim is doing more than just creating beautiful living spaces. He’s also creating a legacy by educating all of us and encouraging us to educate each other, as well as the homeowner.  I feel grateful to be a contributor to the legacy we create here at SLC.