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 3rd 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

Forrest is our newest addition to the garden team of 2019! Passionate about health, working out and fungi - Forrest was drawn to work at the Trial Gardens because he realized had become passionate about nature too. A current Psychology student, Forrest wishes to keep his passion of working with plants alive, he "wants to grow plants forever" on his own organic farm one day! Forrest is our 'muscle man' and appropriately, he is here pictured with his favorite garden tool - the Super Bronco, our soil tiller. 

Forrest Logan
Student Worker
Deanna Negru

"D", the person behind the tech of our social media accounts, databases, and more! Other than being the Official-Label-Maker for our plants, she is a Biological Engineering major pursuing a minor in Horticulture. She loves nature, the environment and dreams of doing research and developing bio-materials in the engineering field - as well as one day opening a business related to hollistic wellness! In her free time, Deanna enjoys taking care of her 'tropical forrest' of houseplants, spending time with her family, and creating art. 

Deanna Negru
Marketing Director
Emily Newsome

Facing Senior-Itis, "Milly" is our soon-to-be Trial Gardens Veteran, finishing her studies in Horticulture this next year. Her time in the Gardens has been spent chasing lizards and feeding her plant-addiction, "I've saved so many plants I've lost count, I also have no more space on my porch!". When she's not at the Gardens, Emily loves spending time with her dog, Sequioa (get the reference there?) After she graduates, she wants to pursue her Horticulture interests of ornamentals, herbs and interesting plants in home-sweet-home Georgia. 

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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