Colette Buchholtz, 2nd St Vegetable Manager

When asked what it is she enjoys about plants and the outdoors, Colette Buchholtz responds, “It is just who I am. I’m not sure the what or why that involved in me, it’s just who I am!”

That inner being and passion for ecology has opened Colette, Sargent’s 2nd St. Vegetable Manager, up to a number of different perspectives in regards to plants – from botany, habitat ecology, organic gardening, permaculture, herbalism, pollinator ecology, “and how it can all tie together, along with just bringing people together to enjoy the green world,” she says. “I’m always craving to learn and understand more.”

Colette continues to learn from her fellow teammates and shares the wealth of information she has learned with them in return and also with Sargent’s customers. One of the simplest pieces of advice but of importance she likes to share with new gardeners is to, “Start out smaller than you want to. Gardening is a lot of work, albeit incredibly rewarding, and there is a lot to learn – you cannot learn it all in one season, so take your time and enjoy the learning instead of being overwhelmed by all of the unexpected things.” 

One year when growing squash, it was a very dry summer and Colette shared that she hadn’t thought to place drip irrigation tape in the garden. “While I ended up with the harvest of squash I hoped for, it became a lot more work as I had to water by hand.”

Colette continues her knowledge by trying new ideas and plants in her gardens regularly. “I’m always looking forward to growing new things, experimenting in the garden, and of course enjoying the sunshine!” A lover of tomatoes, most summers she tries a new variety or two. This year, she’s growing some Black Brandywine tomatoes. “I like tomatoes a lot and am always on the lookout for a new variety to try. Perhaps there’s one out there that tastes better,” she says!

The Rochester native grew up going up north to fish and wander the woods, catching and studying frogs and turtles, watching the birds. “To this day, I enjoy interacting with people who are excited about the natural world and seek to understand it,” Colette says. “I enjoy working with people who get excited about plants, about nature, about bugs and birds, about growing veggies and flowers.”

While working with a group of women in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in northern Alaska, she came across what would become her favorite plant. “I love so many different plants of course – so many that represent times or places I hold dear. But one that will always stand out is Moneses uniflora – for the pure magic of a time and place it represented. My friends and I came across a mossy woodland right along the river. It looked like a fairy forest, so magical.”