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New Head Gardener Plants Fresh Seeds
Olivia Lohrer '23 Staff Writer
October 31, 2020

Head Gardener Jodi Tanguay is one of the many hardworking gardeners responsible for all the beautiful flora on campus. Every day, Tanguay dedicates her time to keeping Deerfield’s outside spaces looking pristine; however, not many people know about the inspiration behind Tanguay’s work.

Tanguay’s daily duties encompass a number of tasks. “I primarily take care of planting and maintaining the gardens on campus,” she said. She also detailed her smaller obligations and said they include “participating in many side projects, such as brick laying, field repair from flood damage, and lots of snow removal.” 

In describing the work of the gardeners on campus, she said, “We all may have jobs that we regularly do, but we all have to be willing and able to help wherever and whenever it is needed…It really is a team effort to make and keep the campus looking beautiful.” 

Tanguay attributes her initial interest in gardening to her mother and her experience working at a local state forest as a teenager. 

“At some point early on I realized that being outside was important to me, and gardening was a great way to make that happen,” says Tanguay. “It combines my interest in nature, liking to be physically active, and using my artistic talents to paint a canvas using plants.”

When asked about how she ended up at Deerfield, Tanguay elaborated on how she wanted to pursue a job which she found enjoyable while also benefiting from the advantages of working full time. Tanguay explained, “It was a chance encounter and conversation with Denise Dwelley, who was then the head gardener, that ultimately led to my position.” She started working at Deerfield in April 2000. 

The job does not come without its challenges. Detailing these obstacles, Tanguay said, “Enjoying my work even when the weather is bad is challenging. The rainy days and very cold ones can seem incredibly long sometimes.” On the bright side, she also is grateful to experience the rewarding satisfaction that comes with new installations and garden renovations.

Tanguay has enjoyed much of her work with the gardens on campus and struggled to find a favorite, but recalled one project that was particularly memorable.  “The brick work around the sundial that I had the opportunity to do with my sister, JJ Tanguay, who worked in the grounds department for many years. It is something that I hope to admire for a long time,” she said.

Tanguay urges students and faculty to take notice of the beauty on campus, particularly the older trees on campus. “We are lucky enough to still have many mature trees that cannot go unnoticed while walking on campus. The sycamore in front of the Main School Building still amazes me, and I try to appreciate it because even with the best care, trees are living organisms and there will come a day when that tree is no longer standing,” she said.