Me? I'm a plant geek. If you're really interested in all the specifics, you can scroll down for full disclosure. The most important thing you should know about me is that I'm dedicated to and seriously passionate about plants, gardening, and the horticulture industry. I've spent the last 25 years working in different segments of horticulture; from research and trials, to landscaping, to garden center retail, to green industry marketing and business development. These days I concentrate on putting my experience to good use helping green industry companies grow their game.
Because I'm a plant geek first, and also consider myself a multi-passion entrepreneur and modern day renaissance woman, I prefer to keep a few different pots stirring simultaneously. As such, I continue to provide select horticultural consulting services to residential clients, as well as offer up lots of free helpful horticulture tips via my Plantgeek Chic blog, E-mail and garden library to all you wanna-be green thumbs out there. I've also added book author to my to do list, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled in spring of 2018 for my upcoming book on Growing Plants Under Lights, to be published by Timber Press, with another book for a 2019 release in development.
I’m a Degreed & Certified Professional Horticulturist with 25 years of Green Industry experience and many more of hands on gardening. I earned my Masters of Science degree in Horticulture at Michigan State University (MSU). Prior to attending MSU I earned my Bachelors of Science degree in Biology from the University of North Texas (UNT), where my studies focused on botany and plant ecology. I'm a Certified Professional Horticulturist (CPH) #30067, via ASHS, The American Society for Horticulture Science. I've worked and published on post-impact vegetative research for both The University of North Texas and The University of Puerto Rico. Yes, I got to live in the jungle! I’ve traveled the world studying rainforests and formal gardens alike.
Work, Work, Work...
I began my career in Horticulture in 1992, where I worked at and helped run a retail plant nursery and also operated my own small gardening business. In December of 1998 I began my position at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden (DABS). As Curator of Plants, and then Director of Horticulture Research, my specific activities included the creation of their nationally recognized plant trials program and gardens, design and plant selection for all the display gardens, plant collections management, teaching, and website development. In 2001, I was selected as an All-American Selections Judge and established an official AAS test garden at the Arboretum. I maintained a joint appointment with Texas A&M University. Two important projects that resulted from this cooperative effort are the Benny J. Simpson Texas Native Trees and Texas Native Shrubs websites.
I launched Halleck Horticultural in 2000, an independent business through which I now provide consulting services to green industry businesses. After making the decision to move on from the Arboretum in 2003, I spent two years editing and producing an organic gardening magazine, website and forum and working with Roundtree Landscaping in Dallas. In January of 2005 I accepted the position of General Manager for North Haven Gardens, an innovative independent garden center in Dallas, Texas where I spent 8 years managing all aspects of the business. I chose to leave NHG at the end of December 2012 to run Halleck Horticultural, LLC full time.
Through Halleck Horticultural, I provide a variety of services to the green industry, including horticultural consulting, business strategy and development consulting, company and product branding, digital content marketing, and copywriting. I have won multiple awards for writing, creative direction, and marketing from TOCA, the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association; including the coveted Gardner Award for Writing in 2017.
Publishing & Media
During my career, I’ve written hundreds of articles for local, regional and national publications such as Fine Gardening, D Home and Garden, Neil Sperry’s Gardens, Edible Dallas & Fort Worth, Lawn & Garden Retailer, Garden Center Magazine, Greenhouse Management Magazine, Nursery Management Magazine, Produce Grower Magazine, and published scientific research in The Journal of Tropical Ecology, The Hosta Journal, Greenhouse Grower and Grower Talks. I currently provide regular print interviews to any number of publications such as The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News, The Dallas Observer and more; and also provide regular radio and TV interviews for local media outlets. I spent a year co-hosting the Saturday morning radio home & garden show on KLIF 570 (that was fun). I served for many years as a test gardener for Organic Gardening Magazine and have twice served as an All-America Selections Trial Judge (AAS).
Over the last quarter of a century (ok, that makes me sound old) I've taught countless classes on a multitude of gardening topics as well as provided many professional lectures for industry events and conferences. In 2007, I launched my Plantgeek Chic garden blog, where I offer updates on my own garden goings-on plus helpful gardening tips. I was a regular gardening contributor to WFAA Channel 8's Good Morning Texas TV program for 2 years. I also spent a couple of years as the weekly garden blogger and print colunmist for D Home Magazine.
For the last 4 years I've written monthly features and columns for GIE Media's Garden Center Magazine, Greenhouse Management Magazine, and Produce Grower Magazine. You may also see my articles featured in Nursery Management Magazine.
Leslie's new book "Gardening Under Lights; The Complete Guide for Indoor Growers" is now available for pre-order on Amazon, and will be released by Timber Press in Spring 2018.
I'm a member of the Perennial Plant Association (PPA) and just completed two terms as the Southern Region Director, the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) and a certified CPH; I also sit on the ASHS Horticulture Certification Board. I serve on the Environmental and Trials Sub-Committes for the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Society (DABS). I am also a member of Texas Nursery & Landscape Association (TNLA), the Garden Writers Association (GWA), AmericanHort, The Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA), The American Horticultural Society (AHS) and twice past president of the Trinity Blacklands Urban Forestry Council (TBUFC).
In addition to gardening, I enjoy hobbies such as beekeeping and backyard chicken keeping. I'm a member the Collin County Hobby Beekeeper's Association (CCHBA). I also enjoy metal jewelry making and silversmithing and watercolor painting. Art has been a lifelong passion and I enjoy drawing detailed renderings of plants and insects, as well as nature-focused and abstract watercolor.