5 Minutes With … Ashley Molion
Ashley Molion is director of marketing and communications at McDonald Garden Center in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
How did you get involved in horticulture?
When I was growing up, my mom kept a pristine garden. I always remember that “Yard of the Month” sign welcoming me off the bus from school like a beacon, flanked by perfectly pruned boxwoods, enveloped into a bed of black-eyed Susans, one of mom’s favorites. But the real passion came when I stumbled into this position [at McDonald Garden Center]. Even though I had a background in business development in the landscape architectural industry, something about moving into the retail side of horticulture ignited a lifelong passion — so much so, there may have even been a Yard of the Month sign on my own front lawn, complete with black-eyed Susans.
What do you love about your job?
More than anything, it’s got to be the amazing team of people I am lucky enough to create with. Seeing the process of an idea unfolding, then manifesting into something we are able to bring to our customers for them to then take and enjoy is very rewarding. When you lead each day with the mission of how we can bring the happiness of horticulture to our community, how can you go wrong?
What keeps you up at night?
Honestly, not much! I sleep with our 100-pound Doberman, so sometimes he can get in the way. If there is anything, I do seem to be the most creative in the middle of the night (I know, not the most convenient time, right?), so I have gotten used to getting up and writing just a few notes of whatever idea I’ve had and then going back to sleep. Some of our more successful campaigns have come from those late-night iPhone notes!
What advice would you give to someone just starting out in hort?
Don’t be afraid to fail. I work with some of the leaders in the industry, including our company’s founder, Eddie Anderson, who I dare anyone to go toe-to-toe with when it comes to growing just about anything (that man has a golden thumb!), and he will even tell you about all the times he’s failed. No one is perfect.
What’s something that few people know about you?
In addition to being a marketer, I also love group fitness. I’ve been teaching fitness classes for nearly 20 years, including three years in Paris, France.
Favorite plant to grow? Why?
Although my obsession is houseplants, I have had so much fun with Proven Winners’ ‘Supertunia Vista Bubblegum’. It’s a tried-and-true performer in both containers and in the landscape. One year, we had an awesome hanging basket sale, so I nabbed some and planted them in an empty bed where I knew they’d be happy. And happy they were — by summer, my neighbors all commented on the mounding heaps of bright pink clouds.
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