About Beech Hollow

Beech Hollow Mission:

Beech Hollow Farm’s mission is to produce high quality, locally sourced, plant material to restore the Georgia Piedmont.

Beech Hollow Farm

is a 120 acre native plant farm just outside Lexington, Ga. It is named after the grove of centuries old Beech trees that line the banks of the creek that meanders its way through the property.  Native Georgia plants, their preservation and propagation, are our passion.

 

Our Plants, Our History:

Twenty years ago Pandra Williams started collecting native plant specimens on large woodland tracts under development in South Fulton County. By 2005, collection had turned into propagation as Williams saw a lack of native plants available for sale for homes and public spaces. In 2012 Williams and Jeff Killingsworth opened the Beech Hollow nursery in Lexington.  With a trove of diverse regional genotype species in the prop beds, BHF has been able to establish and maintain a stable and growing catalog of seeds for future propagation.

Beech Hollow currently boasts an inventory of over 235 different species of native trees, shrubs, vines, perennials, grasses and sedges.  With this inventory BHF is able to stock two direct-to-customer sales nurseries, fill special orders of various sizes, conduct both temporary and permanent installations, participate in volunteer planting activities, and donate to local eco-based charities.

All our plants are grown using sustainable practices and all seeds and other plant material are collected ethically and with permission.  We do not use neonicotinoids, or other ecology-disrupting chemicals.  

Our Team

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Founders and Owners, Mike & Pandra Williams

The idea to form Beech Hollow Farm as a native plant nursery was originally inspired by an area of southwest Atlanta strewn with large boulders and peppered with native plant species known locally as Boat Rock. Popular with rock climbers, the area had been mostly spared the developer’s bulldozer blade until the Atlanta housing boom of the 1990’s and 2000’s. The Southeast Climber’s Coalition (SCC) established a small woodland climbing preserve in 2002, but the surrounding area was still subject to the whims of land developers.  Mike and Pandra Williams, who were active members of the climbing community at the time, saw the destruction to native plant populations first hand and decided to take action.  They began by working with developers to rescue plants, seeds, and bulbs before ground-disturbing activity began in an effort to preserve local genetic plant stock. This process proved to be troublesome, and begged a larger question: why aren’t these plants just growing everywhere? on roadsides ? in front yards? In flower beds? The answer proved to be lack of supply. There were few native plant nurseries in the Atlanta area, and many existing nurseries carried very few native species. Even the few native species available were grown from non-local genetic stock and thus did nothing to preserve Georgia’s rich biodiverse plant history.

Jeff Killingsworth, Nursery Manager

Jeff is the Nursery Manager at Beech Hollow Farm.  He grew up in northern Florida and attended Florida State University where he earned a Bachelor’s in Anthropology.  He worked for the Student Conservation Association and the US Forest Service in California for 5 years before returning to the South and settling in Georgia.  He parlayed a love of vegetable gardening into a job working at a nursery in 2011 and has been propagating and advocating for native plants ever since. He earned a certificate in Native Plant Studies from the State Botanical Garden of Georgia in 2017.  When he’s not gardening he enjoys woodworking, hiking, cooking, brewing beer, and reading.

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Jessi Noreault, Operations Manager

Jessi grew up in the Adirondack Mountains in New York where he first acquired a love for nature.  He has been a lifelong avid hiker and environmental activist. In 2005 he acquired a B.F.A in Visual Arts and B.A. in English at the State University of New York at Fredonia where he created several bodies of environmental and feminist activist visual art and writings.  Since then, Jessi spent his time as a coffee shop manager and as a Bartender/Bar manager weaving in his passion for the environment by creating craft cocktail menus highlighting local and seasonal ingredients. Over the years he has become more and more passionate about his own vegetable garden and the ecological health in his surroundings. Jessi decided to take his passion out of the service industry and onto the farm.  In 2016, he started working at Beech Hollow Farm where he does various jobs from weeding the garden beds to bookkeeping and is loving every minute of it!

Clair Eisele, Grounds Manager

Clair Eisele was born and raised in San Diego, Ca., Clair served 7.5 years in the United States Air Force as a Readiness and Emergency Management Journeyman before separating honorably to pursue a career in farming.  In 2016 she earned her Associates degree in Sustainable Urban Agriculture from San Diego City College. She took her love of travel and newly acquired knowledge of small farming on the road in search of somewhere to settle and start a hobby farm.  She was a member of WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms), which lead her to north Georgia in mid 2017. In November of 2017 she purchased an old farmhouse on 2 acres in Oglethorpe County and started working at BHF in July of 2018. Clair has a history of working in landscaping and with sustainable farm operations.  Her primary responsibilities at the farm include maintaining the parent stock beds, sales, local marketing, and implementing new garden design ideas. When she’s not at the farm she is renovating her 1904 farmhouse, gardening and landscaping her 2 acre property, traveling to north Florida to spend time with her boyfriend, drawing, hiking, and exploring Georgia.

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