A Canadian by way of California, Keith’s first success with plants was cultivating a packet of Eschscholzia californica procured from the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve near his home in the Mojave Desert. His first foray into the diversity of Kingdom Plantae came at Live Power Community Farm, a draft horse powered, biodynamic, vegetable CSA in Covelo, CA. He spent the next 3 growing seasons as a paid farmworker tending peach orchards and cut flowers in Santa Cruz County, managing pasture and milking 230 cows daily in Southeastern Ohio, and farming taro, coconut and Kona coffee on the Big Island of Hawai’i.
Through agricultural pursuits, Keith discovered a love of taxonomy and paleobotany, which informed his travels to botanical gardens and arboreta to discover new landscapes. His mission is to learn as many plant binomial names as possible in his lifetime. This quest was fostered over the course of three and a half years while working at Xera Plants, Inc. in Sherwood, Oregon, a wholesale nursery growing over 1,300 species of drought-tolerant plants from around the world.
In 2012, Keith completed a B.S. degree cum laude in Environmental Studies from Portland State University with a minor in Geography. At PSU, Keith worked as the Garden Liaison, spearheading the installation of 6 new landscapes on campus, including a small fruits orchard, an ecoroof/vertical garden plaza, and a white oak savannah. Post graduation, Keith went to work as the Green Space Specialist for the non-profit Friends of Trees, helping thousands of volunteers to plant native species.
Keith is excited to begin research on rare species conservation at his new home on the U.S. East Coast. He expects to get involved in research at Longwood’s newest addition, the expanded meadow garden. Keith hopes to use knowledge gained in the LGP to work at the interface of public gardens and ecological restoration in his future career.