The Garden Team

The credibility and world-wide visibility of the Gardens at Athens did not happen overnight or because of any one individual. The Gardens is managed and maintained by a group of dedicated people, each of whom believe in the basic missions of the gardens: research, teaching, and new crop introduction.

Brandon Coker

Brandon has managed the garden since February 2017. He's a UGA alumni with a bachelor's degree in Agricultural Science and Environmental Systems. He loves working at the garden; growing, maintaining, and tending to the plants leaves him a sense of gratification. Brandon spends most of his free time with his wife, Heather, and their two small girls, who love finding new ways to get into trouble. They enjoy activities like gardening, taking walks, and exploring Athens.

Brandon Coker
Garden Manager
Gabrielle Daniels

Gabrielle was first introduced to the Gardens while volunteering for Experience UGA, her interest in the Trial Gardens got her a job in late 2018. She is a 2nd year Horticulture major with an ultimate goal to "heal people with plants", either through sustainable agriculture or with medicinal hollistic methods. Gabrielle loves art and music; in her spare time she indulges in painting, singing, and contra-dancing - which is a unique line-dancing style with swing elements.

Gabrielle Daniels
Student Worker
B.J. Garrett

B.J. Garrett is more than a Master Gardener Volunteer. She helps out in the Trial Gardens tremendously. Her service to us is invaluable.

B.J. Garrett
Head Volunteer
Forrest Logan
Student Worker
Deanna Negru

Deanna's journey at the Trial Gardens started as a summer-job in 2018. She is a 2nd year Biological Engineering major pursuing a minor in Horticulture. She loves all things green and dreams of doing research and developing bio-materials in the engineering field - as well as opening a business related to hollistic self-care! When she's not taking care of plants at the Gardens, she's studying, taking care of her houseplants, spending time with loved ones, hiking and making art!

Deanna Negru
Marketing Director
Emily Newsome

Emily came to UGA as an undecided CAES major, but after being roommates with a Horticulture major, she fell in love with the field. She is now a 3rd year Horticulture major and her main focus is on ornamental production, but she's also interested in herbs. Emily has her own collection of japanese maples, which she calls an "investment in her future". In her free time, she enjoys being outdoors, climbing, and painting.

Emily Newsome
Student Worker
Dr. John Ruter

Dr. Ruter hails from Los Angeles, California, where he grew up surfing waves and sidewalks. Today, he's the director of the Trial Gardens, professor, and ornamental plant breeder at UGA. Many of his specimens can be found planted right here in the garden. When he's not researching, writing books, attending conferences, or teaching classes, Dr. Ruter enjoys traveling, and "doing whatever his kids want to do". His favorite place to travel is to the mountains of the Western U.S, the plant life there is something he finds remarkable.

Dr. John Ruter
Fearless Leader

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