Horticulturist Green With Plant Passion
Roishina C. Henderson
When Abra Lee discusses plants and flowers, her passion shines through her smile and body language. She clearly wants you to appreciate foliage and its importance to the Earth.
On any given day, Lee, Hartsfield-Jackson’s landscape manager, can be found on the Airport’s 130 acres surveying grounds, pruning, digging or cleaning the terminal area. She takes pride in making sure plants are aesthetically pleasing.
“I think this job is so important because the landscape is the first thing so many visitors and guests from all over the world see and the last thing they remember,” Lee said. “Since great landscape is memorable, we work hard to produce a clean and balanced look for the Airport.”
Lee’s passion is evident. Just mention flowers such as “Dragon Wings” and “Indian Hawthorn,” and you instantly get this veteran horticulturist’s attention. Lee has been in the landscaping industry for about 10 years and at Hartsfield-Jackson since January 2007. She’s a graduate of Auburn University with a degree in landscape horticulture. Previously, she has worked for Russell Landscape Group, Initial Tropical Plants and City of Atlanta’s Department of Parks as an arborist.
Lee and her maintenance team at the Airport have adopted a “xeriscape” method, which involves strengthening plants by using proper pruning and fertilization techniques. “I’m all about details — plus consistency equals quality,” said Lee. “I also advise and make sure we install seasonal flowers. We have to make sure we have plants that are conducive to the environment here. I love my plants and love landscaping.”
So what’s new at Hartsfield-Jackson?
“We have a big bulb installation in the spring and summer. For summer seasonal color plants, we will be putting in the flower beds at the terminal and adding new shrubbery,” she said. “Earlier this year, we planted daffodils, which are perennials and they keep rodents away. Those flowers have been placed all over the South Terminal and in the taxi assembly stand area.”
Also, one of the prime locations for some of the new flower beds will be at the “Welcome to Atlanta” electronic message sign near the Interstate 85 North exit.
Lee’s team uses recycled rainwater for plants as part of the Airport’s ongoing environmental program. Large cisterns have been ordered that can capture as much as 2,500 gallons of rainwater per barrel. “What’s great about this is that we’ll be able to use the water for more than plants. We can also clean equipment and supplies with the same rainwater,” said Lee.
The horticulturist is serious about promoting good
plant health at Hartsfield-Jackson. “I won’t be satisfied
until we become award-winners for our plants and flowers. I’m
striving toward that.”
© 2008 Hartsfield-Jackson News. A Publication from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. All rights reserved.