Our Team

At J.W. Townsend, our people make all the difference. We seek out the most qualified, passionate professionals in our field. Take a moment to meet our team and explore what literally defines “The Townsend Way”, our people.
Our Certifications & Experience
Our staff has over 550 cumulative years of horticultural experience and:
•32  Virginia Certified Horticulturists
•37  Registered Pesticide Technicians
•32  College Graduates
•2    Advanced Certified Horticulturists
•6    Certified Arborists

Administration

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    Jay Townsend Founder (retired) #
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    Jay Townsend

    Founder (retired)

    Jay is the Founder and former President of J. W. Townsend Landscapes and hold a B.S. degree in accounting from Virginia Tech. With over three decades of industry experience, Jay is a Virginia Certified Horticulturist with the Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association. Jay enjoys the outdoors, especially sailing and fishing with his sons and wife.

    Favorite plant species?
    Acer Palmatum
    What makes JW Townsend different from other landscaping companies?
    Our people
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    Leigh Townsend President #
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    Leigh Townsend

    President

    Leigh joined J. W. Townsend, Inc. in July 2010. He has a B. S. degree from Clemson University in Construction Science and Management. He is also a VNLA Certified Horticulturist, a VA Pesticide Technician, and he is a LEED accredited professional. Leigh enjoys spending time with his wife, working in his yard, hunting, fishing and Clemson football – Go Tigers!

    Favorite plant?
    Fringe tree
    Favorite tool?
    Leaf blower
    Favorite Project
    Kinloch
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    Adam Crouch Sales Manager #
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    Adam Crouch

    Sales Manager

    Adam came to JWT in 2005 as a Gardener in the Fine Gardening division and has worked in practically every division of JWT. He studied Turf and Landscape Management at Virginia Tech and is also an Advanced Horticulturist through the Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association. He has over twenty years of horticultural experience and is truly passionate about people, plants and landscape construction. When he's not working on award winning landscape projects, he enjoys spending time with his family, especially his two daughters Haden and Myla.

    Favorite Tree
    Betula nigra 'Heritage' / River Birch
    Favorite Tool
    The Airspade
    Favorite Project
    Parenting my two kids!
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    Kelley Withers Accounting Director #
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    Kelley Withers

    Accounting Director

    Kelley has an accounting degree and an English degree from VA Tech. She likes Hostas, Heuchera, Irises, Azaleas, Periwinkle, and home-grown tomatoes. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, walking and playing with her dogs, reading, hiking, and avoiding housekeeping.

    Favorite vine
    Morning Glory
    Favorite shrub
    Forsythia
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    Lynn Govoruhk Human Resources Administrator #
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    Lynn Govoruhk

    Human Resources Administrator

    Lynn has been with JWT since 2010.

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    Geoff Shaw Project Coordinator #
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    Geoff Shaw

    Project Coordinator

    Geoff hails from Maine and holds a degree in Agribusiness and Resource Management from the University of Maine in Orono. Since moving to Charlottesville in 2004, he has worked on and managed fine properties and estates throughout Albemarle county. Geoff has a class A CDL, is a VNLA certified horticulturist and holds a pesticide applicator certification. When not at J.W. Townsend, Inc., he enjoys anything to do with water and spending time with his family and dogs.

    Favorite Plant
    Nepeta / Catmint
    Favorite Tool
    The Chainsaw
    Favorite Project
    Expertly shearing rows of Boxwoods to perfectly match...
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    Todd Hyer Sales Assistant / Design #
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    Todd Hyer

    Sales Assistant / Design

    Todd is a Landscape Architect and Sales Associate. He has a B.A. degree from Gettysburg College in Environmental Studies and a Bachelor’s of Landscape Architecture from the University of Maryland College Park. He is also a Pesticide Technician and a registered Landscape Architect in Maryland and Virginia. Before joining J.W. Townsend Landscapes in 2016, Todd worked in the Baltimore area as a registered Landscape Architect and managed the Installation Team at a local landscape nursery. Todd enjoys working outside in his garden and having fun with his wife Kristen and two daughters Kendall and Meghan.

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    Amanda Niesen Accounts Receivable #
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    Amanda Niesen

    Accounts Receivable

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    Carol Pendergast Accounts Payable #
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    Carol Pendergast

    Accounts Payable

Garden Installation

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    Philip J. Ofrias, III Vice President / Garden Installation Manager #
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    Philip J. Ofrias, III

    Vice President / Garden Installation Manager

    Phil is Vice President and Installation Manager. He attended the University of South Carolina and Virginia Tech. Before joining J.W. Townsend in 1991, Phil worked in the nursery industry assisting with the production of field grown shade trees and ornamentals. Phil is a Certified Horticulturist with the Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association, a Licensed Commercial Pesticide Applicator and a Certified Arborist with the International Society of Arboriculture. Phil enjoys hunting, fishing and competitive shooting.


    phil@townsendlandscape.com

    Plant
    Yellowwood Tree
    Tool
    The Harley Rake
    Favorite Project
    Every single one...
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    Mike Ferguson Operations Manager #
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    Mike Ferguson

    Operations Manager

    Mike joined JWT in 2001 after studying horticulture at Piedmont Community College. In addition to his years of experience working at JWT, he is a Virginia Certified Horticulturalist, Certified Pesticide Applicator and holds a Virginia CDL class license. When he's not installing award winning landscapes, Mike enjoys hiking, target shooting and cooking BBQ.

    Favorite Tree
    Sweetbay Magnolia
    Favorite Tool
    The Long Handled Spade
    Favorite Project
    Planting perfect Boxwood hedges...
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    Marcus Bowles Operations Assistant #
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    Marcus Bowles

    Operations Assistant

    Marcus joined J.W. Townsend in 2006 and has been a Foreman for nearly that long. When he is not installing beautiful landscapes enjoys fishing, hunting, raising hunting dogs, and spending time with his family.

    Favorite things to do outside of work
    Hunting and Fishing
    Favorite Project
    Private residence at the Homestead
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    Derrin Hayes Plant Buyer #
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    Derrin Hayes

    Plant Buyer

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    Dakota Rothgeb Foreman #
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    Dakota Rothgeb

    Foreman

    Dakota grew up in the beautiful hills of Earlysville Virginia. A graduate of Albemarle High School, Dakota joined JWT in 2011 as a planting assistant. Since then, Dakota has thrived as a member of the meadow installation team as well as many other garden installation projects and recently became a VNLA certified horticulturist. In his spare time, Dakota enjoys hunting, fishing and spending time with his beautiful wife.

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    Kevin Eavey Foreman #
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    Kevin Eavey

    Foreman

    Kevin has been with J.W. Townsend Landscapes since March of 2012.

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    Reuel Sheldon IV Foreman #
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    Reuel Sheldon IV

    Foreman

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    Todd Richmond Install #
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    Todd Richmond

    Install

    Todd joined J. W. Townsend Landscapes in November 2018. He has a B. S. degree from Concord University and is a Registered Pesticide Technician. He has been installing landscapes since 2014 and has a background in design and nursery management. Todd enjoys listening to music and going to concerts when he's not creating beautiful landscapes.

Landscape Management

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    Steve Pekary Vice-President / Landscape Management Director #
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    Steve Pekary

    Vice-President / Landscape Management Director

    Steve is our Vice President and Garden Maintenance Manager. Steve was raised on his family’s farm in Orange, Virginia and studied horticulture at Piedmont Virginia Community College. He has more than 20 years of experience in the industry and is an Advanced Virginia Certified Horticulturist with the Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association as well as a Certified Arborist through the International Society of Arboriculture. Steve is a true leader; he has an infectious personality, a great attitude and truly enjoys what he does for a living. In 2016 he was awarded Young Professional of the Year by the Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association. He lives in Louisa, Virginia with his wife and three children. They enjoy gardening, hiking and traveling.

    Favorite Tree
    Nyssa Sylvatica 'Wildfire' / Black Gum
    Favorite Tool
    The Airspade
    Favorite Project
    Free Union Perennial Garden (private residence)
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    Ernesto Dovis Sales / Estimator #
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    Ernesto Dovis

    Sales / Estimator

    Ernesto rejoined our group in June 2013 after working for J.W. Townsend 2005-2010 as an installation project manager. He has over 10 years experience in the field, and has been certified by both the VLNA and ISA and holds a Class A CDL. Ernesto loves to spend time with his family and coaches his son's soccer team. His hobbies include permaculture and organic gardening. He spent a few years traveling, surfing, and working at organic farms.

    Tree
    The Majestic Oak
    Tool
    The Amazing Soil Knife..with serrated edge
    Favorite Project
    Mill Mountain Project
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    Danielle Brown Fine Gardening Team Leader #
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    Danielle Brown

    Fine Gardening Team Leader

    Danielle holds a B. S. in Psychology from JMU and a certificate in Landscape Design from University of Richmond. She is a VNLA Certified Horticulturist as well as a Registered Technician for pesticide application. Danielle joined J. W. Townsend, Inc. in April 2010 after working in sales and landscape design at a local garden center. She enjoys many outdoor activities including gardening and being on the river but she mostly enjoys spending time with her husband and two boys.

    Tree
    Stewartia
    Tool
    Felco Hand Pruners
    Favorite Project
    Garden Week 2010
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    Avery Ellis Hotpots / Team Leader #
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    Avery Ellis

    Hotpots / Team Leader

    Avery joined our team last fall after working at Monticello's Center for Historic Plants. She earned a Bachelor's in Environmental Science from UVA and is an Advanced Virginia Certified Horticulturist with the Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association.

    Favorite Plants
    Fothergilla 'Mount Airy', Witch hazel, Lavendar and Zinnias.
    Favorite Activities
    Cooking, hiking and swimming.
    Favorite Musician
    Gillian Welch
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    Rollin Larrick Shop Manager / Team Leader #
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    Rollin Larrick

    Shop Manager / Team Leader

    Rollin was born and raised in Indiana. He joined J.W. Townsend in 2013 and quickly became a VNLA certified horticulturist. Outside of work, he enjoys watching sports with friends and playing music. He also loves to travel and has a goal of visiting all 50 states!

    Favorite Plant
    Giant Sequoia
    Favorite Tool
    Felco #11's
    Favorite Project
    Farm work at Private Farm in Charlottesville
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    Luke Puglia Fine Gardening Team Leader #
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    Luke Puglia

    Fine Gardening Team Leader

    Luke is a Penn State graduate with a B. S. in horticulture and has over 10 years of experience in the industry. He is a VNLA certified horticulturist and holds a commercial pesticide applicators license. Luke joined the team in 2014 after moving from his home in Philadelphia. He enjoys traveling, hiking and snowboarding with his wife as well as playing music with friends.

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    Kyle Wensel Special Projects Team Leader #
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    Kyle Wensel

    Special Projects Team Leader

    Kyle has a B. S. degree in Education and Social Studies/History. He is a VNLA Certified Horticulturist, pesticide applicator, and a certified payload operator. He joined J. W. Townsend Landscapes in August 2017. Earlier in his career, he was a teacher and taught high school Social Studies, Environmental Studies, and World Centuries. He enjoys all outdoor activities, especially vegetable gardening, fly fishing for trout and archery.

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    Brandon Oishi Plant Health Care Specialist #
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    Brandon Oishi

    Plant Health Care Specialist

    Brandon Oishi started working with us in 2017. He is an ISA Certified Arborist, a certified VNLA horticulturalist, and commercial applicator. In addition to his three years with J. W. Townsend, he has 10 years of previous experience from landscaping companies in Canada in parascape landscaping and Bishop landscaping.

    Favorite Plant
    Arbutus Menziesii
    Favorite Activity
    Hiking with his son
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    Edward “Bud” Smith Turf Manager #
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    Edward “Bud” Smith

    Turf Manager

    Edward (Bud) moved to the Charlottesville area in 2006, and joined J. W. Townsend, Inc. in 2007. He is a graduate of N. C. State University. He is a member of the Virginia Turfgrass Council, and is a VNLA Certified Horticulturist and commercial pesticide applicator. He looks forward to travelling across the country again soon; in the meantime, he enjoys gardening, hiking, and reading.

    Plant
    Maple Tree
    Tool
    The Mighty Wheel Barrow
    Favorite Project
    Teaching the Certified Fertilizer Applicator Training program

Leads / Head Gardeners

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    Elliot Davies Project Lead #

    Elliot Davies

    Project Lead

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    Cory Hash Project Lead #
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    Cory Hash

    Project Lead

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    Augustin Ortiz Project Lead #

    Augustin Ortiz

    Project Lead

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    Hillary Whitehead Project Lead #
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    Hillary Whitehead

    Project Lead

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    Thomas Collier Turf Lead #
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    Thomas Collier

    Turf Lead

    Thomas joined J.W.T. in the fall of 2016. He studied horticulture and landscape design at PVCC, has 22 years of landscaping experience, and is a VNLA certified horticulturalist and registered pesticide technician.

    Favorite Plant
    Turf
    Favorite Activity
    Spending time with his kids
    Favorite Project
    Moving turf
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    Brandon Ellis Turf Lead #

    Brandon Ellis

    Turf Lead

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    Brandon Layne Turf Lead / Turf Care Specialist #
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    Brandon Layne

    Turf Lead / Turf Care Specialist

    Brandon started with us originally in April of 2016 and returned in 2020 after a brief hiatus. He holds the VNLA certification, certified Crew Manager certification, and both certified fertilizer applicator and commercial applicator certifications.

    Favorite Plant
    Quercus Virginiania / Live Oak
    Favorite Activity
    Hiking & traveling
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    Caleb Robertson Turf Lead #
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    Caleb Robertson

    Turf Lead

    Caleb joined our team in the spring of 2019 with prior experience as Groundskeeper at Farmington Country Club.

    Favorite Activity
    Fishing
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    Robert Slechta Turf Lead #
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    Robert Slechta

    Turf Lead

    Robert is an Alliance College graduate with a B. S. in Business Management, is a registered pesticide technician, and is a certified VNLA horticulturist. He began his career in the industry right here in Charlottesville 25 years ago. When he is not working, he likes to spend time with friends and go hiking and camping. Go Hoos.

    Favorite Pastime
    Attending sporting events.
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    Patrick Baker Head Gardener #
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    Patrick Baker

    Head Gardener

    Patrick started with us in the summer of 2019. With his BA in Philosophy and Religion Studies from Christopher Newport University, and registered pesticide technician certification he worked for two Parks & Recreation departments before coming to J.W.T.

    Favorite Plant
    Prunus Sargentii / Sargent Cherry
    Favorite Activity
    Hiking & cooking
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    Trevor Brown Head Gardener #
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    Trevor Brown

    Head Gardener

    Trevor joined our team in March of 2017. He studied at PVCC, and is working towards his pesticides and VNLA certifications. Since joining J.W.T. he's held positions as Head Gardener in our HotPots and Residential divisions.

    Favorite Plant
    Metasequoia Glyptostroboides / Dawn Redwood
    Favorite Activity
    Spending quality time with his wife & two dogs
    Favorite Project
    Tadler Private Residence
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    Sabrina Coles Head Gardener #
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    Sabrina Coles

    Head Gardener

    Sabrina joined J.W.T. in the spring of 2018. She studied at PVCC and is a certified pesticide applicator.

    Favorite Plant
    Vegetables and Roses
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    Sierra Donovan Head Gardener #
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    Sierra Donovan

    Head Gardener

    Sierra was born and raised in Michigan. She joined J.W. Townsend in 2017 and recently became a VNLA certified horticulturalist. Outside of work, she enjoys seeing live music with friends, bonsai, and camping. She also loves brewing mead and kombucha.

    Favorite Plant
    Always changing... but loves roses, Japanese maples, and ferns.
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    Tate Holden Head Gardener #
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    Tate Holden

    Head Gardener

    Tate started with us in the summer of 2017 and is a VNLA-VCH certified horticulturalist, ISA certified arborist, and licensed pesticide & fertilizer applicator, and passionate home gardener.

    Favorite Plant
    Heuchera
    Favorite Activity
    Watching sci-fi shows
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    Sam New Head Gardener #
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    Sam New

    Head Gardener

    Sam joined our team in 2019 and studied horticulture at the University of Illinois. Her experience is in sustainable farming; during college she worked harvesting and working in local farmer's markets and assisting in research or graving strawberries hydroponically. She is currently working towards VNLA and pesticide licenses and certifications.

    Favorite Plant
    Lavender
    Favorite Activity
    Yoga & being outdoors
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    Gerard Podoba Head Gardener #
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    Gerard Podoba

    Head Gardener

    Gerard was raised in Poland before moving to the U.S. in the late 80's. Having the privilege to see both sides of the world allowed him much insight into how beautiful it is outdoors. Gerard found his true passion when he joined JWT as a horticulturalist in 2012. He enjoys the seemingly endless task of garden planning and loves inspiring people to get outdoors and enjoy nature!

    Favorite Plant
    Chinese Wisteria
    Favorite Tool
    Chain Saw
    Favorite Project
    Pruning espalier trees...
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    Jennifer “Pele” Prescott Head Gardener #
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    Jennifer “Pele” Prescott

    Head Gardener

    Pele joined J.W. Townsend in 2020. She holds a B.S. in Biochemistry from Albright College in Pennsylvania; she also has 6 years in Virginia landscape gardening experience and 15 years of organic vegetable gardening experience in VA and PA.

    Favorite Plant
    Eastern Hemlock & "Silver Falls" Dichondra
    Favorite Activity
    Hiking in Shenandoah National Park
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    Alfredo Reyes Head Gardener #
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    Alfredo Reyes

    Head Gardener

    Alfredo has been a valuable member of our team since 2011.

    Favorite Plant
    Roses
    Favorite Activity
    Soccer
    Favorite Project
    Perfecting everything
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    Todd Stackhouse Head Gardener #
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    Todd Stackhouse

    Head Gardener

    William (Todd) has a B. S. degree in horticulture from Virginia Tech. He is a VNLA Certified Horticulturist and is a pesticide applicator. He joined J. W. Townsend, Inc. in March 2006. Earlier in his career, he owned a nursery as well as a landscape construction company that specialized in patios, walkways, and water features. He is a great cook, and also enjoys spending time with his family, running, hiking, and woodworking.

    Color
    Red
    Tree
    Coffee Tree
    Favorite Project
    My favorite project is the summer garden at Monticello.

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