Lessons from a Road Less Traveled
The Natchez Trace Parkway is a 444 mile ribbon of road traveling through 3 states and over 10,000 years of history. It was established as part of the National Park System in 1938 and completed in 2005.
Early engineers and planners had 3 main elements to deal with: indigenous forest, varied topography and rich history.
Today when traveling the Trace, one is awestruck by the simple beauty of the driving experience. Towering Oaks and Pine, under storied dogwood and redbud and colorful wildflowers flank the roadway. It forces you to breathe, to slow down, and to enjoy. It’s a national treasure and a classic example of clever design being well implemented. It demonstrates what’s possible.
This Parkway dissects the generations’ old family farm that Tom Nowell grew up on and served as an early influence on a career path that has now spanned over 28 years.
Tom attended Mississippi State University, the first University in the nation to establish a curriculum in Landscape Contracting. This program combined the skills of Landscape Design, Engineering, Horticulture, and Business. “I wanted to learn the principles of design and go out and see the design implemented the right way” Tom recalls.
While at Mississippi State, Tom interned for the late Ralph Synnestvedt Jr. in Chicago’s prestigious North Shore area. “It changed my life. It exposed me to all aspects of ‘design – build’ work and validated my career choice.”
After college, Tom worked 12 years for a nationally recognized landscape and contracting firm in the Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina markets. His tenure there exposed him to 5 years as an install supervisor, 2 years in production management, and 5 years in upper management. Tom received the Washington Building Congress award for Exceptional Craftsmanship in 1986 for his work on Executive Plaza (Rockville Maryland) and received numerous ALCA and NCLCA awards for other projects installed. Although the commercial work was challenging, it was impersonal and unfulfilling.
To reignite his true passion, Tom Nowell Gardens Inc. was formed in 1996 with a simple mission – design and install residential gardens. Since then, Tom and his staff have designed, built and maintained a variety of residential projects from country estates to urban gardens. Spaces created to enhance the enjoyment of life. Gardens that help you to breathe, to slow down and to enjoy.