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Life & Work with Tanya Ray

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tanya Ray.

Hi Tanya, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
So, I’ve always loved gardening since I was a toddler. Both of my grandmothers were avid gardeners; my paternal grandmother won awards for her gardens. In 2010, I was looking to earn a little side money to pay for music lessons for my children. I took a part-time job as a merchandiser for Plant Partners-Metrolina Nurseries, the company that services Lowe’s and Walmart’s garden center. When the season ended, I found an ad for a garden helper on Craigslist. I visited homes in the Loyola University/Homewood neighborhoods to do the gardening. I eventually went out on my own. At one point, I had over 30 customers from Randallstown to Middle River.

My goal was to create a nonprofit gardening service/nursery for youth and seniors. Fast forward 11 years, Gorgeous Garden & Sandy Farms, Inc is now a nonprofit serving seniors. I hope to begin programs for the youth, teaching them gardening skills and pairing them with a senior buddy. I love the joy I see in my client’s eyes and the beautiful smiles!

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
There hasn’t really been any struggles. We were positively affected by COVID-19. So many people were home and needing assistance with their gardens.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
My background is in the biological sciences. I worked at Johns Hopkins University for 18.5 years before leaving and starting a contract lab where I processed tissue samples and sold lab reagents. I always saw the similarities in cell culture (establishing/growing cells) and gardening (planting seeds/growing plants). It’s been fun using my science background and business background to start my garden business. I have even been able to incorporate my faith in my garden work. I appreciate Pope Francis making care for the earth a work of mercy. I do that every day!

Can you talk to us about how you think about risk?
I took a major risk when I left Hopkins with no new employer lined up. I knew we’d be fine financially but it was a risk especially with all that was going on economically in 2008.

Pricing:

  • 4″ pots of annuals $2.75
  • 4″ pots of perennials $6.99
  • Large hanging baskets $20-25
  • Gardening Service $15/hr ($12/hr for seniors)

Contact Info:

  • Email: gorgeousgardens1984@gmail.com
  • Facebook: @gorgeousgardens1984

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