Artful Gardens’ owner, Jae Gregory, inherited a love of gardening from her mother, Ramona, in Portland, Oregon, where Jae spent childhood summers happily tilling soil, planting radishes and peas, cutting flowers, and creating miniature streams through the middle of her Mother’s gardens. Yet it wasn’t until her early thirties when Jae realized she had a blossoming passion for the art and science of gardening.
While living in San Diego in the ‘80’s and early ‘90’s. , Jae found herself spending nearly every bit of free-time converting a barren former dumping spot outside her apartment into a tranquil urban oasis. Hauling debris, amending soil, adding rock paths, and planting seeds (to the delight of cheering neighbors) became Jae’s idea of a fun weekend. Their oohs and aahs upon seeing her magical cottage garden only helped fuel her obsession.
Jae moved to Colorado in April of 1997, and relished learning about an entirely new climate and growing conditions. Although traveling 3-4 days nearly every week while working for Home Depot, every spare minute was spent gardening. Forced by budget constraints to create her own new yard in 2000, she learned the hard way how to install complete landscapes. Then, nearly by accident, along came a person who said something that provided the spark that would change Jae’s life. An unwitting local compost supplier, who happened upon Jae in her backyard garden, uttered the phrase that launched a hundred garden transformations:
"You need to be doing this for a living,” she said. “This is outstanding."
From that moment forward, Artful Gardens Landscape Design was open for business, at least in her mind’s eye. Jae’s dream to one-day start a landscaping company became real when in 2001 the company she worked for tried to re-locate her position to Los Angeles. Instead of accepting the promotion, she chose to pursue Artful Gardens instead. Her own yard became her passion and her palette.
Fast-forward five years and Jae’s private grounds now serve as Artful Garden’s demonstration gardens. Jae has cultivated several distinctly different types of offerings for her clients to view: a xeric garden with some shade which gets no additional water; a south facing xeric rock garden which gets just 5-6 waterings each year; a wildflower bed; cutting garden; a fantastic water feature with tame Koi, goldfish, and bullfrogs, a French potager, and finally, colorful shrub and tree borders.
The company has maintained a diary of planting and weather conditions in the Roaring Fork Valley since 1998, and Jae continues to monitor and add to an extensive database of hundreds of plants and shrubs tested in her clients’ gardens since 2001. Jae’s Gregory’s particular skill lies in finding unusual, under utilized plants, trees, and shrubs for creating wonderful color and texture combinations that take one’s breath away.
Always eager to learn secrets of high altitude, short summer, low water gardening-- Jae is self –educated— Jae continues to devour every available tools of the garden designer’s trade. When not out transforming her clients’ yards into artful gardens, she has found the time to complete the Roaring Fork Master Gardener Program; studied hundreds of books; watched and took notes on hundreds of HGTV garden shows; subscribed to multiple trade publications; taken weekly design classes at the Front Range Community College; attended dozens of classes at Denver Botanic Gardens; and Jae faithfully attends yearly trade conferences to stay current and learn more.
Jae is a certified Advanced Master Gardener and has been a member of Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado since 2001, regularly participating in their excellent selection of classes.