Horticulture Spotlight: Jordyn Melino
Feb 23

Horticulture Spotlight: Jordyn Melino

By Genesis Harshell

Horticulture is the art or practice of garden cultivation and management. Without horticulture, and the people who are most passionate about it, Phipps would not be what it is today. Phipps takes pride in having elaborate, beautiful and well-kept gardens throughout the conservatory. This would not be possible without the hard-working horticulture team. In this series of profiles, we meet some of the people who make Phipps possible.

Jordyn Melino has always had a love for the outdoors, in fact her favorite thing to do no matter the location is to take long hikes. Originally growing up in Jacksonville, Florida it wasn’t until 2003 that Jordyn moved to Pittsburgh to pursue a degree at Carnegie Mellon University. It was here that she received her undergraduate degree with a major in environmental science and a minor in photography and digital media. She later obtained a master's degree in landscape architecture where she states that it was where “it really all clicked for me- the intersection of the engineering, environmental and design worlds!” Through the friends she made through school and her love for the city, it was a no-brainer decision for her to stay after college and she still calls the city home 20 years later! 

It was during her time at Carnegie Mellon that Jordyn’s interest in horticulture was sparked! She would walk around the city and consider the possibility of different built environments to incorporate plants and natural systems into the area around her, showing particular interest in how the spaces are used and how people interact within them.  

When it came to looking for a career, Jordyn wanted to be sure that she found an organization that she would be proud to work for and flourish in. It was Phipps that got Jordyn’s attention for being at the forefront of incorporating sustainable technologies and systems into their operations, she stated that it’s “definitely an organization to be proud of!” So, in April of 2009 Jordyn joined the team as she was working towards her master’s degree. While it may have had moments of difficulty juggling school and work, it was an experience that allowed Jordyn to put all of her knowledge to use! 

In the fourteen years that Jordyn has been with us at Phipps, she has come to love the diversity in the work she does each day. A potential day for Jordyn has limitless possibilities; she could be spending time designing upcoming shows and prop ideas at her desk, drawing planting plans or selecting plant varieties and sizes. At other times she could be in meetings, preparing for show installation, checking in on the plants in the greenhouses to make sure they meet the needs of the designs or reviewing prop details with the facilities team. Most people don’t know that Jordyn is also involved in managing our art collection too! She helps maintain the collection by making sure it is cleaned and has consistent oversight. She even helped get our art collection an accreditation through the American Alliance of Museums! With that being said, it’s clear that Jordyn always has something interesting to do!  

One of her favorite parts of the job is being able to see her ideas go from paper to completion. Seeing the concepts she creates for the flower shows come to life in their displays and the joy it brings the guests experiencing it is the best feeling for her. She also shared that her favorite plant was the Cercidiphyllum japonicum, otherwise referred to as the Katsura Tree, for its heart shaped leaves and sweet scent! 

Jordyn has done so many amazing things in her time here whether that be for all to see or behind the scenes, we can’t wait to see what she will be bringing to life next! 

Header photo © Phil Johnson II