Virginia R. Rockwell, VSLD, VCH, LEED Green Associate, APLD Associate, is Principal Designer & Owner of Gentle Gardener Green Design. She is certified as a Landscape Designer by the Virginia Society of Landscape Designers, as a Horticulturalist by the Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association, and is an Associate member of APLD (Association of Professional Landscape Designers). Virginia holds a Garden Design Certificate from the Royal Botanic Garden at Kew, London, a Permaculture Design Certificate in ecological and ethical design, and spent a hands-in-dirt apprenticeship at The Findhorn Foundation, Scotland. Virginia is also a member of Green Plants for Green Buildings (GPGB), the James River Green Building Council (JRGBC), and is a US Green Building Council LEED Green Associate. Gentle Gardener Green Design is a licensed nursery stock dealer, providing custom plant sourcing for the firm's design clients only.
In a prior incarnation, Virginia worked in advertising and marketing strategy for major brands including Coca-Cola after receiving her MBA from Columbia in New York. Virginia’s commitment to sustainable, green education and enterprise extends to teaching at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners; appearing on WCVE PBS television’s Virginia Home Grown; volunteering for the Orange Downtown Alliance, Rappahannock River Basin Commission and Orange County 4H; and to helping husband Robert and daughter Stella on the family cattle and timber farm in Orange County, Virginia.
Make an appointment with Virginia
Alumnae Magazine, Fall 2000, p. 29
Rockwell '79 resides
in a gentle world surrounded by nature, new life and a special
calling. That calling was awakened in a political science
class taught by former Agnes Scott professor David Orr, a
leader in environmental issues. But time passed before Rockwell
Rockwell is among
those talented individuals who squeeze several lifetimes
into one. After graduating from Agnes Scott, she earned
an M.B.A. from Columbia University in New York. The successful
marketing and advertising career that followed included
a stint with Coca-Cola. During this time gardening was an
antidote to corporate stress.
In 1993, Rockwell
stepped off the corporate ladder and landed in Scotland.
An extended retreat at The Findhorn Foundation became her
hands-in-the-dirt apprenticeship in organic gardening.
Rockwell's fascination with sustainability, the interest
sparked by Orr. "Dr. Orr is the type of inspiring, mind
expanding professor that Agnes Scott attracts," says Rockwell.
her renewed interest to the Royal Botanic Garden at Kew,
London. Studying with John Brookes, she earned a Garden
In 1995, she was designated
a Master Gardener, and in 1999 was inducted into
the Virginia Society of Landscape Designers. Rockwell's
liberal arts education prepared her for this latest career
incarnation. "Landscape design integrates many disciplines
and you must understand all of them."
In 1995, Rockwell settled
in a rural area of the Virginia Piedmont where she met and
married Robert Bradford, a cattle farmer and building
1996,she opened The Gentle Gardener, a retail garden
center and landscape design firm (www.gentlegardener.com).
Her slogan, "For a garden as pleasing to nature as to the
eye," underscores Rockwell's commitment to biodiversity and
sustainability. These practices aided survival of her plant
inventory during last summer's drought.
In true Rockwellian fashion, she embraced
the challenge, winning a blue ribbon for a garden display
of drought-resistant plants. The Orange County Fair in Montpelier,
Va., was the venue for Rockwell's prize -her third blue
ribbon in a row. When not designing award-winning gardens,
she teaches a series of landscape design workshops geared
Her latest creation, daughter
Stella Rockwell Bradford, was born the first day of spring,
March 20, 2000.
A guiding principle of The Gentle
Gardener is, "Call forth body, mind and spirit to walk in
beauty." Virginia Rockwell's path is guided by her passion
for creating beauty and her quest for knowledge. "You could
say I'm a proponent of lifelong learning. Agnes Scott prepares
you for that."
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