Meet the Team: Vanessa Queen

Meet the Team: Vanessa Queen

It’s a wonderful day to Meet the Team! For December, we are happy to spotlight Vanessa Queen, our Controller. Vanessa keeps our finances going smoothly. We appreciate you Vanessa!

1. How long have you worked at Madrone?

Over a year. I started at Madrone in August 2019.

2. What is your favorite thing about working at Madrone?

The teamwork and values everyone at Madrone has/holds. From work ethic to environmental concern, everyone is all-around awesome.

3. What’s your favorite project you’ve worked on and why?

Any project where the client is enthusiastic and excited to work with us is great!

4. What is your favorite or least favorite plant, and why?

My favorite plant is agave or echevena succulents. My least favorite is shrubs – all shrubs. They get filled with spiders and then in the morning you can see all the webs.

5. What are some of your favorite hobbies outside of work?

I love refinishing furniture and being crafty. My husband will tell you that I always have at least one half-finished project in our garage — it’s currently a dining table and four chairs that I’m repainting and two benches we made form a headboard/footboard!

6. Give us a fun fact about you:

  • My husband and I only dated for six months before we got married and have been married for 15 years. We went to the same high school but didn’t really know each other.
  • I’ve never broken a bone.
  • I’m a pen clicker.
Meet the Team: Jill Bleher

Meet the Team: Jill Bleher

For November we are highlighting landscape designer Jill Bleher, who has been with Madrone for nine glorious months. She says one of her favorite things about working at Madrone is the positive team energy. We feel the same way about you, Jill – we’re so glad you joined our team!

What is your favorite thing about working at Madrone?

What I enjoy most about working at Madrone is the positive team energy and the fact that every day I get to work on interesting projects.

I really appreciate being able to bounce ideas off of my teammates. The feedback I receive from my managers and peers helps me to delve deeper into my designs and develop my ideas. Sometimes you just need someone else to look at a design in progress and question you or offer their opinion in order to arrive at the best possible solution for a space. This creative collaboration is my favorite thing about working at Madrone.

What is your favorite project that you’ve worked on and why?

I have enjoyed so many things about so many different projects, but my favorite projects are those that integrate old with new. I like the challenge of tying together existing features – especially those with history – with new aspects of a design, knitting it all together into a cohesive design.

One such project is a backyard in SLO. The property slopes steeply down to a creek and my first view of the site was just a sea of nasturtiums and weeds beneath ancient Sycamore trees. Cleanup of the site revealed several stone and mortar walls that spoke of the history of the place. These walls are featured in the new landscape, along with a new wall built to match the same rustic style. The design also blends in contemporary features such as poured in place concrete pavers of varying sizes and cable railing on the upper wood deck.

Ultimately this project reminded me of the tale of the Secret Garden. Old can be made refreshed and revitalized with love and attention to detail! What sealed this job as a favorite for me was getting to know the owners through the process of design and installation, and seeing their joy as it developed. One vision that sticks with me is of the family’s young daughter sitting on a stepping stone, feeling the plants and looking quite happy.


What is your favorite, or least favorite, plant and why?

As a designer I tend to picture plants in terms of colors and textures. I’m hard pressed to pick a favorite, but these are a few plants which I come back to again and again:  

1. Calylopus (Sundrops) is a plant I love for its bright yellow pop when in bloom. I especially like using it to brighten a rockscape or spill over a wall or container.

2. Euphorbia characias (Mediterranean Spurge) is one of my favorite plant species because of its unique forms and colors. It’s a great year-round background of filler plant that will pop out at you when it blooms. ‘Blackbird’ is an especially neat specimen for interesting foliage!

3. Agave ‘Blue Glow’ is in my top plants list for its beautiful symmetry and year-round interest. This is a great stand-alone feature plant or planted en masse for a striking landscape.

My least favorite plant would be Stipa tenuissima (Mexican Feather Grass), because although it is beautiful it spreads everywhere and is a pain to get rid of! Early in my design career I used it in a few landscapes only to be dismayed by how it took over everything else, so now I fervently steer clear of using it.

What are some of your favorite hobbies outside of work?

I’m an avid vegetable gardener and collector of interesting succulents. I also enjoy hiking and identifying our local native plants. Indoors you can usually find me doing something creative like knitting, baking, drawing or playing cello.

Give us a fun fact about you!

On sunny days you might see me walking around town with a lizard on my shoulder. Her name is Aurora and she’s a bearded dragon. My husband Alec and I have had her for about 5 years and love to take her places with us. It’s a great conversation starter.

Meet the Team: Angie McCamy

Meet the Team: Angie McCamy

It’s a wonderful day to Meet the Team! For October, we are happy to spotlight Angie McCamy, our Office Manager.  While many of us have worked from home, Angie has gone into the office nearly every day, making sure things run smoothly. We appreciate you Angie!

1. What’s your favorite thing about working at Madrone?

It’s a relaxed and productive atmosphere.

2. What’s your favorite project that you’ve worked on and why?

My favorite project is the one I’m working on currently. 

3. What’s your favorite plant and why?

My favorite plant is Plumeria – it has beautiful flowers and smells awesome!

4. What are some of your favorite hobbies outside of work?

Bike riding, rollerskating, hanging out with family and friends.  

5. Share a fun fact about yourself.

I’m afraid of heights … but I love to zipline!

Celebrating Ten Years with Ramiro Hernandez

Celebrating Ten Years with Ramiro Hernandez

Ramiro “Romy” Hernandez is a driven leader and a skilled craftsman who aspires to get better at everything he does.

Romy has been a project manager at Madrone Landscapes for 10 years and had decades of landscape construction experience before Madrone.

He is always jovial and looking to make people smile with a joke or a compliment. Even while having fun on his job, his dedication to doing quality work and working efficiently goes down to the minute. “Almost doesn’t count” is his famous catchphrase, because he is not satisfied until the job is done and done well. He takes enormous pride in his work and great satisfaction from a happy client.

His crew leadership is a comradery that transforms a group of people into a single body working seamlessly to complete the job. Romy’s character, discipline, and leadership have always been impressive.

After ten years, we are so proud he is part of our Madrone Family!

Celebrating Ten Years with Humberto Hernandez

Celebrating Ten Years with Humberto Hernandez

Humberto “Beto” Hernandez is one of the best crew members at Madrone. Literally any crew would take him in a heartbeat and when he does get to work with other crews, those crews perform better.

With several decades of experience in the field, he knows all aspects of landscape installation inside and out. A man of few words, Beto lets his work do the talking. His ability to know the next step and his stamina to work longer and harder than most makes him an invaluable team member.

His confidence and pride translates to his suave style, generally making him the sharpest dressed at the yearly Christmas Party.

Beto’s loyalty to his crew, commitment to hard work and pride in being a master of his craft make him an all-star. Happy 10-years, Beto!