Amy Nyman ’13
Owner of Ruby Leaf Design and Gardener at Tower Hill
Owner/designer of Ruby Leaf Design and Outdoor Gardener at Tower Hill Botanic Garden
What were you doing before you applied to the Conway School?
Parenting, bookkeeping, and nursing.
What brought you to Conway?
Interest in landscape design that is intelligent, functional, and ecologically relevant.
How did you first learn about Conway?
I came across Conway while looking for landscape design programs located in New England.
Imagine we just met, and recognized we had common interests. How would you describe Conway to me?
Conway is an accelerated program in landscape design, planning, and ecology that welcomes anyone with an interest in immersing themselves in a real-world educational experience.
What advice do you have for someone just starting out in the field?
Say yes and then figure out how to get it done well.
What are you doing right now, and what do you love about it?
The most fun for me is that I get to design – mostly for residential projects, though I’ve also done community projects. Currently, I’m creating a new management plan for 100+ acres of naturalized areas at Tower Hill Botanic Garden including woodlands, meadows, and pond, to bring increased interest and diversity that befits a botanic garden, while encouraging use of ecological and sustainable management principles. Tower Hill attracts over 150,000+ visitors per year and provides a variety of opportunities for education and healthy living skills to all ages while striving to be a welcoming and all-inclusive institution. I am also a public speaker and educator for the general public, master gardeners, and other landscape professionals.
List one or more books that you find influential in the field of ecological design and/or planning.
Planting in a Post-Wild World
What is your favorite tool?
The Graphic app for iPad Pro lets me design in my own artistic style while saving paper and time. Okatsune pruners, Opinel folding saws, and a soil knife with teeth are my favorite hand tools.
How do you think ecological design and planning can help make positive change?
Ecological design principles provide a framework for making decisions about land use and design based on an awareness that humans are but one element of a diverse and interconnected world. That awareness influences choices of materials and methods of practice that help restore and nurture the ebb and flow of a diverse living ecosystem rather than structuring a limited or static human-centric environment.
Which aspects of your Conway education do you use in your current work?
I use critical thinking skills for stormwater management; plant choices; restoration, expansion and creation of habitat pockets or corridors in urban neighborhoods where there is limited or non-existent, functional design or planning; and I use my public speaking and presentation skills in a variety of ways.