Expert in Grass Ecology and sustainable Planting Design
John Greenlee was the founder of Greenlee Nursery, the oldest specialty grass nursery on the West Coast. He is the author of The Encyclopedia of Ornamental Grasses and The American Meadow Garden. John currently creates meadow gardens with his own landscape design firm, Greenlee & Associates.
John has been creating grass ecologies in public and private gardens for thirty years, such as LA’s Norton Simon and the Getty Museum, Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida, and the San Diego Zoo. He has worked as an advisor to landscape architects including Pamela Burton, Andrea Cochran, HM White Site Architects, Peter Walker and Partners, and James Corner Field Operations. He has designed private gardens for Diane Keaton, Katherine Bigelow, Ellen DeGeneres and Portia DeRossi, Ed Harris, Tea Leoni, and Steven Spielberg.
His movement to reinvent America’s turf-lawn culture has grabbed headlines in major media sources such as The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Architectural Digest, Garden Design, the Los Angeles Times, and Sunset magazine. John lectures widely, appearing recently in Washington DC, Philadelphia, Maine, Victoria BC, Oregon, and throughout California. His lectures, like his gardens, rally for the transformation of lawns from staid, wasteful monocultures to sustainable, lively meadow gardens.
“John did for horticulture what Jack Kerouac did for literature,” says Jim Marshall, general manager or Suncrest Nurseries in Watsonville. “Historically a garden has been an attempt to create order. The fallacy of that is that nature eventually dominates and the order at some point is going to be rendered unto nature. John brought nature into the garden in a way that transcended the need for order.”
From 1985 to 2010, John operated a nursery in southern California called Greenlee Nursery. It was established in Malibu, moved to Pomona, before finally resting in Chino. With the onset of the 2008 recession, the decision was made to shut Greenlee Nursery down and it was officially closed in April of 2010. Some of the inventory from the nursery stayed to create the delightful “Pomona Gallery” in Pomona, CA. However, most of the Greenlee Nursery inventory was purchased by Suncrest Nurseries in Watsonville, CA and they are now our growing partners. Working closely with Suncrest as a wholesale nursery operation has enabled Greenlee & Associates to become a premier garden design firm even as the meadow program at Suncrest continues to supply the vanguard of horticultural trends. This relationship provides Greenlee & Associates with access to wholesale prices of the highest quality plant material while enabling Suncrest to grow the unique, ornamental grasses John has continually developed through his gorgeous meadow gardens.