Abbi Hayes's Profile

A native of Indiana, Abbi has enjoyed gardening since she was a young child. “I remember my parents gardening when I was younger. Especially, my Dad, he always has an outdoor project in the works. We had a small yard and I would help pull weeds with my sister, well sometimes.” Through family camping trips, hiking, and environmental education, Abbi developed a love of nature.

She attended Indiana University where she studied geography. It was the summer after her sophomore year that she began her career in gardening through a position with a landscaping company, Nature’s Way. The following two years she worked on a flower farm where she continued to grow her skills.

After graduation, Abbi pursued a traditional desk job with an internship in the environmental department at an energy company, yet realized fairly soon that she missed working outdoors. After a couple of seasons as the City of Bloomington’s landscape supervisor, she moved to Oregon to begin a master’s degree in landscape architecture. While there she worked with a large landscaping company in Portland as the only female landscaper.

Missing the Midwest, Abbi returned to Indiana in 2006 and began a position with Designscape. Designscape is a landscape contracting company that serves Bloomington, Indiana and surrounding communities. At Designscape, Abbi was responsible for several large residential landscapes, annual flower orders, designing and installing interior plant and holiday decor, and drafting small exterior bed designs.

In 2008, Abbi received her certification as a horticulturist with the Indiana Nursery and Landscape Association. The following year, she purchased a house and has enjoyed having a yard to garden in, particularly growing flower beds. Abbi and her husband enjoy food gardening and have added five beds dedicated to many varieties of fruits and vegetables. Her husband enjoys harvesting and cooking the vegetables. Combined with Abbi’s green thumb, they make a great pair. Recently, they have started canning the vegetables to make salsas, pasta sauces and jams.

Over the years, Abbi has developed an expertise in container gardening. She is said to have a “ridiculous amount of houseplants” in her current home. One of the first houseplants she received was while living in a dorm at Indiana University. Her skills have proven themselves as she has kept the plant alive and growing for more than ten years!

In the spring of 2013, Abbi decided it was time to make the change to business owner. Abbi started NittyGrittyGardener that specializes in earth-friendly landscape maintenance, consulting, and design. She especially enjoys meeting new clients and in having more opportunities for creativity. To read more about Abbi’s home gardening projects and her new business, visit her website at

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