Leslie F. Halleck
Me? I'm a professional plant geek who is good at business. 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 business of the horticulture industry. I've spent the last 27 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 professional experience to good use helping green industry companies grow their game with my business consulting and marketing services; and educating consumers through my books and social media.
Because I'm both a plant geek and a multi-passion entrepreneur and modern day renaissance woman, I prefer to keep a few different pots stirring simultaneously. In addition to my marketing and business consulting services for green industry companies, I continue to provide high-level horticultural consulting services to green industry commercial companies and select residential clients; as well as offer up lots of helpful horticulture tips to consumers via my books "Gardening Under Lights: The Complete Guide for Indoor Growers" (Timber Press, 2018) and "Plant Parenting: Easy Ways to Make More Houseplants, Vegetables, and Flowers" (Timber Press, 2019), my Plantgeek Chic blog, my E-Newsletter and social media.
I’m a Degreed & Certified Professional Horticulturist with 27 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 rain forests 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 served for many years as a test gardener for Organic Gardening Magazine and have twice served as an All-America Selections Trial Judge (AAS).
I launched Halleck Horticultural in 2000, an independent business through which I now provide consulting services full time 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 charge of their landscape maintenance division. 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 marketing 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.
As a woman entrepreneur I'm also passionate about helping to empower other women in my industry. In 2020 I completed both the Women in Leadership and Executive Women in Leadership Certificate programs from Cornell University. I speak across the country on issues related to women in horticulture and company culture in the green industry.
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).
Over the last quarter of a century (ok, that makes me sound old) I've given many professional talks for industry conferences, as well as keynotes, and taught countless classes on a multitude of gardening topics for consumers. 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 columnist for D Home Magazine.
In November 2020 UCLA Extension hired me as an Instructor to develop and teach remote/online coursework that is part of their Horticulture Certificate program. During the winter 2021 quarter, I am developing and teaching a new course "Indoor Plants: Care and Maintenance". I'm a regular expert guest on many of the new popular plant-related podcasts, such as Bloom and Grow Radio, Epic Gardening, On the Ledge, and Joe Gardener.
Since 2013, 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. I currently serve on the GIE Media Editorial Advisory Board.
As an author, consider me your Botanical BFF. My niche is to digest horticultural and botanical science and technique down into bites that are friendly, easily understandable, and executable for the home hobbyist. Horticulture is hip! I also believe gardening and plant keeping are healthy habits important to physical and mental well-being.
My book Gardening Under Lights; The Complete Guide for Indoor Growers is available in book shops and on Amazon. Signed copies in my SHOP.
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 served for several years on the Environmental and Trials Sub-Committees 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), The National Garden Bureau, 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, illustration, and watercolor painting. I'm also a member of the Southwestern Watercolor Society. Art has been a lifelong passion and I enjoy drawing detailed renderings of plants and insects, as well as nature-focused and abstract watercolor.