Julia Sampson

Garden Center Manager, julia@fgsdurham.com

Julia is from Pembroke, NC, but now lives in Durham, NC.  Her professional background began in agriculture where she focused on the aggregation of local NC food.  She is incredibly passionate about supporting local farms, so she is a perfect fit for sourcing locally grown plants here in NC at our Garden Center.  Julia loves small businesses and is delighted to be able to further her career here at FGS where she can continue to foster her passion for plants.  She loves personal finance and can often be found making monthly budgets.  When she isn’t visiting gardens or other local nurseries in her free time, she is avidly gardening and caring for her cat, Loaf.

Ann Milam

Sales Department Lead, ann@fgsdurham.com

Ann is a native of New York and grew up in New York City.  She left the big city behind 13 years ago and moved down here to NC.  She lives with her husband and dogs in Durham.  Prior to managing our garden center, Ann was a teacher and worked in social services.  However, she has always had a soft spot for gardening and would do gardening jobs on the side.  She is a life-long gardener, and she loves helping people finding the right plant for the right place in their gardens and helping new gardeners overcome their fears.  She spends free time with her dogs, kayaking or tracing her family tree.

Joey Pierce

Sales Department Lead, joey@fgsdurham.com

Joey grew up in Greensboro, NC, and lives there now, but is relocating to Durham soon.  Before finding his passion for houseplants, Joey worked extensively in the service industry.  But he discovered that what he really enjoyed was working around and with plants, and helping people find the perfect plant for them.  This made him a perfect fit for the FGS Houseplant Department Sales Lead.  When Joey isn’t ordering or tending to the houseplants of FGS, he spends his free time hiking, especially along the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Appalachian mountains.  He loves touring botanical gardens and discovering new music, particularly music that makes you want to move your feet!

Mariah Jefferson

Sales Department Lead, mariah@fgsdurham.com

Mariah is the pottery queen around here.  Originally from Mid-coast Maine where she grew up with 7 other siblings, Mariah has now been in Durham, NC for the past three years.  She spent most of her career in grocery retail, but her love for plants and the green industry brought her to us.  Mariah’s love for all things green grew out of spending summers working in landscaping.  Her hard-work and willingness to be a team player, plus her exceptional eye for color and display make her the perfect fit for our Pottery Department Sales Lead role.  When she isn’t perfectly placing pots or helping customers at FGS, she is cooking, gardening, camping or hiking with her husband.

Jen Swift

Sales Department Lead, jennifer@fgsdurham.com

Jen is originally from Coachella Valley, California, but also lived in San Diego and San Francisco before moving to North Carolina in 2001.  She currently lives in Garner with her daughter and cats.  Although she originally received her degree in English literature, she discovered her passion was in horticulture.  So she went on to earn her Master’s degree at NC State and participated in a number of different research teams there.  During the pandemic, she transitioned to working in garden centers and eventually ended up here with us at FGS.  Her friendly, outgoing personality and her plant knowledge make her a perfect fit for our team.  Jen spends her free time hanging with her daughter and cats, reading great fiction and fixing up her house. 

Sunshine Jull

Grounds Department Lead, sunshine@fgsdurham.com

Sunshine lives in Hillsborough, NC with her family.  Her brother was the one who named her Sunshine before she was even born. She joined our team in 2019 and has transitioned from part-time staff to the Grounds and Hardgoods Department Sales Lead.  She has always had a love for plants that was cultivated and passed down from her family–especially her grandfather.  She knows a lot about plants and chances are, if you have a question about one, she will likely have the answer.  Sunshine excels at streamlining typically “mundane” tasks and making them more efficient and effective.  In her free time, you will find her in her own garden tending to the thousands of plants she has, creating beautiful art, playing with her adorable cats, writing, hiking or visiting arboretums. 

Judy Rosenberger

Houseplant Specialist, judy@fgsdurham.com

Judy cannot call one particular place “where she grew up” because she lived in multiple coastal cities in the US and Japan.  Judy has placed roots in Cedar Grove, near Hillsborough, NC where she lives with her husband, dogs, cats and Budgie Birds.  Before working in garden centers and becoming our houseplant guru, Judy was a Certified Dental Assistant.  We are so glad she chose plants over teeth.  If you can’t find Judy tending to all the houseplants, she is likely spending time with her grandchildren, fishing in her lake, playing with her animals, or tending to her garden.

Morgan Billick

Garden Center Administrative Assistant, morgan@fgsdurham.com

Morgan is originally from sunny Encinitas, California, but we were fortunate she made the decision to move to NC in 2021. Interestingly, she has quite a bit of training in marine microbiology, but her passion for plants and retail brought her to us and we’re delighted.  Morgan is sweet and soft-spoken, but don’t let that fool you. She is on top of her game and has added an awesome element to the Garden Center. She has a knock for details and organization which is perfect for her role!  Morgan loves to read, garden, and just be outside in nature as much as she can. She loves learning about NC’s native plants and incorporating them into her garden at home.  When she has the opportunity, she loves traveling around India. 

Lizzie Potter

Events Coordinator, lizzie@fgsdurham.com

Lizzie grew up in New York, but lived for the past decade in Ohio where she attended Ohio University.  She earned her Associate’s Degree in Arts and Humanities as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Arts Management, which blended her love for acting and theater with management, non-profit, small business, and leadership skills. Her previous experience is in a variety of arts-related positions, including acting, Front of House and ticketing for professional theaters, The Kennedy Museum of Art, and she is a self-published author! Working at FGS is the perfect blend of all her experiences!  When she isn’t utilizing her creative skills planning the next big thing for FGS, she is likely spending time with her dogs, writing her next YA novel, horseback riding, or gaming and making pizza with her husband, Marco.