Meet Our Staff
RIP - Gone but never forgotten!
Pat McCracken – Owner
Pat’s passion for plants started at a very young age. He still remembers all of the plants in the garden he moved from when he was five years old. He followed his love of plants by getting a BS and MS in Ornamental Horticulture and Landscape Design at the University of Tennessee and has worked in the nursery industry for over thirty years. He has an extensive background in research, plant propagation and production. Pat has an insatiable desire for collecting plants and has been collecting plants most of his life. The collections have changed over the years but have included huge numbers of African Violets, bromeliads, arid plants, tropical plants, Japanese maples, magnolias and Camellias. His current collections of many thousands of rare and unusual plants is planted on about five acres on his farm is Zebulon, North Carolina. Pat has travelled to nineteen countries in pursuit of new plants for his collections. Additionally he has found many new mutations and unusual seedlings that he has propagated and evaluated for landscape worthiness and has a special fondness for variegated or golden plants. He also has an active breeding program for Hibiscus, Southern magnolias, and Camellias. In his spare time he loves to cook, paint, and does pottery.
Mike Lowe – Production, Tropical and Carnivorous Plant Manager
Mike has been working for 27 years at NCSU’s vet school as a surgery tech. He is an avid fisherman and participates in competitive kayak fishing tournaments regularly. Mike has been an avid gardener from a very young age and is particularly fond of tropical plants and carnivorous plants. He maintains a large collection of carnivorous plants in Raleigh NC where he has been growing them ever since he was bitten by the carnivorous plant collecting bug 25 years ago. He also has won numerous blue ribbons for his plants and garden displays at the NC State Fair.
Cheryl Kerns – Advertising
Cheryl Kearns is a life-long gardener, having begun as a child on her parent’s farm in Vermont’s Zone 3. In her home in England some years later, she vastly expanded her choice of plants to suit the milder climate, thus enriching her love of diversity in plants’ forms, leaf shapes, and flowers. Since moving to North Carolina in 1992, she has turned a 3-acre lot from pines and sweetgums into a series of gardens, many of them in shade. By adding the shade gardens, she achieved her goal of having flowers blossoming in her garden 365 days a year. Her work in nurseries and extensive international travel have helped inform her plant choices and designs which she has enjoyed sharing with classes at Wake Tech, the JC Raulston Arboretum, and various garden clubs.