Brigitte Wagnon-Heublein, Greenhouse Production Supervisor
“As a child my mother read the books of Mark Twain. I became a big fan so I had to come and explore the mighty Mississippi,” says Brigitte Wagnon-Heublein, Sargent’s Greenhouse Production Supervisor. “Sometimes you make your dreams come true!”
And so, a little over 50 years ago, Brigitte moved to Minnesota from her home of Rennes, France to teach French at the College of Saint Teresa in Winona and further explore the midwest. Her love of exploring then led her to a career as a travel consultant allowing her to see many incredible destinations, full of natural beauty.
“I always love to surround myself with beautiful plants and flowers, to learn to grow them, to identify them, to learn about their medicinal properties also. Plants are here to heal us. Without them life would be pretty dull. Over the years, it has become a real passion. It is so exciting to discover what mother nature has to offer. That’s why we need to protect her,” she says.
That passion for nature’s beauty brought her to Sargent’s 10 years ago. “The satisfaction to grow beautiful plants that you know will beautify the world and make people happier” is one of many joys Brigitte shares about her time working in the greenhouses. “But also I love to work with all the people here. My colleagues are from all different ages. We all help each other in our work and learn from each other. We all have unique knowledge and specialties. We learn to recognize them and use them to create a great team.”
“Brigitte is one of those employees who I consider a valued friend. She has worked in both retail and plant production for Sargent’s for years, and is such a joyful addition wherever she works,” Nick Sargent says of his team member. Jay Maier, General Manager, adds, “She’s a gem in our company. Her smile and gentle approach could lead you to believe she is soft and slow-paced. But that could not be further from the truth. This is a woman who all her team members say of her, “That girl can work!” You mix her skill, drive and empathy and you get an ideal teammate. That is Brigitte!”
Her peaceful spirit of joy in working with nature rings true when talking about gardening. “If you learn to appreciate, in general, all the beauty that mother nature has to offer us, it will give you inner peace and help deal with our busy life. It has a calming effect.”
“Gardening is creating a painting on canvas to enjoy throughout your life,” she says. “When planting a garden, you want to create a visual effect. Mass planting of a group of three or more plants will give that effect. So when the plants bloom, they will jump at you. Also I advise people to plan so the plants bloom or offer an interesting characteristic for each season. And let’s not forget you want to attract beautiful birds and butterflies so your garden is buzzing at all times!”
When not in her garden or working around plants, she likes to continue her exploration of the Mississippi River valley through state parks in the region saying, “Trempealeau State Park and Whitewater State Park are some of my preferred ones. They are a gold mine for all the plants and flowers they offer at different seasons. We are so blessed to have parks like these in our region.”
Our nature loving, river exploring, joy filled Brigitte closes with a little recommendation to others, “Don’t be afraid to get your hands…. and sometimes your feet, in the dirt! You will feel more connected to this beautiful planet we live in and become more responsible to preserve it for generations to come.”