Get to Know Sara

Among the many hats Sara wears at Painters she is our tree & shrub expert and will be one of the staff on the retail floor this fall answering your tree & shrub questions.

As we continue to introduce you to our wonderful staff we thought it was important to highlight Sara this week - our Office & Financial Manager and Shrub & Tree Program Coordinator.  Among the many hats Sara wears at Painters she will be on the retail floor this fall to answer your tree & shrub questions.

On any given day you can find Sara doing payroll, responding to emails, placing orders, driving the forklift or tractor, helping with propagation, and so much more. She is great at responding to the many needs of the greenhouse - her initiative, flexibility, and wide-ranging skills are essential to making our business run smoothly. We honestly don't know what we'd do without her! She is always there to lend a hand, answer a question, and make you laugh. When we consider all she does at Painters along with her many talents and projects at home, we question if she may in fact have super powers.

Sara grew up in the suburbs of Raleigh and found her connection to nature in high school when she discovered a wetland area near her home. You can feel her passion when she recounts her time spent there - falling in love with buttonbush, and how the first time she saw a passion flower bloom, it "knocked her socks off."

Sara studied Ecology and Field Biology with a focus in Botany at UNCA. While in Western North Carolina she started gardening, worked on the landscape crew at Biltmore, met her partner (who just so happens to be a master arborist), and now has her own land to tend in Old Fort.

What is the first word that comes to Sara's mind when asked for tree & shrub advice?


In our business, trees & shrubs are the most permanent thing you can buy and should be treated as big investments for the future. Hopefully, they will outlive us - that's what makes them so wonderful. They certainly aren't an impulse purchase and Sara recommends doing your homework before you buy. Walk around an arboretum and see what you like, research what different things look like at different times of year (these will be the bones of your landscape in winter!), understand the plant's needs, know how big it will get, and place it accordingly. You're going to have these plants for a long time, so find what you like, be intentional, and most importantly, have patience. Because of the lifespan of trees and shrubs they often take a long time to become what you want, so learn to love them along the way.

One of Sara's favorite trees is a Magnolia virginiana that she planted when she first moved into her home. Having patience and watching it grow has been extremely rewarding. She also loves Linden (American Basswood) for it's sentimental reasons and cherishes the gifts it gives to wildlife year-round. And she hasn't forgotten her early love for buttonbush which is a great wetlands plant and wonderful for pollinators.

Sara is a true tree lover, she just germinated her second batch of Pawpaws from seed at home and is really excited for them! She's also an amazing cook and has been busy making, eating, and freezing large batches of pesto this summer.

Come meet Sara, and our other knowledgeable staff, when we reopen on September 30th and ask your tree & shrub questions - but remember, do your homework first so you get the best results in your garden!