Ashley Conley ’09
Major: Graduated with a degree in Environmental Studies, majored in Environmental Chemistry
Work Crew: Landscaping crew then Leader of the Tractor Crew.
Service: Soccer team + Manna
Current Job: Owner of Garden Girl, LLC
Originally hailing from Ormond Beach, Fl, Ashely came to Asheville to attend Warren Wilson College. While here her favorite aspect of the Triad was the work program which kept her grounded and gave her a sense of purpose on campus. As the leader of the tractor crew she was particularly proud of any project where the tractor was involved. Looking back on her Wilson experience now, Ashley feels her work was the most important part of her day and credits it for her graduating in 4 years. Upon her graduation in 2009 she received the senior work award.
“I know classes were important and stressful but when I look back now, all I remember is my time on my crew.”
After graduation, Ashely stayed in Asheville and began working for a commercial landscaping company and as a back/ bartender at a local cocktail lounge. After a few years of working two jobs she got a corporate role in an office. Soon however she realized indoors was not her style at all; she missed the outdoors and having her hands in the dirt. After 2 years behind a desk she returned to landscaping, this time with a business owned by another Wilson alum, Bill Laity. Her work with Bill was informative; teaching her landscaping techniques she hadn’t worked with before. With the knowledge she attained from her time with the Wilson landscaping crew and what she’d learned from her landscaping jobs Ashley felt ready to start her own business.
In May of 2014 she started the Garden Girl, LLC: a landscaping company that offers residential and commercial lawn and landscaping maintenance services. She also designs and installs gardens and landscapes. Among these services she utilized native plants to help contribute to the health and restoration of the ecosystems. She also promotes rain gardens to improve water quality and low or no impact lawn care which helps reduce carbon footprints and fossil fuel usages while still maintaining manicured lawns. Ashely credits Tom LaMarglia and Bruce Willever for helping her harness her passions for work and landscaping, which now has her getting out of bed every day with a purpose and a big smile.
“We are really lucky, those who get to attend WWC. We are given so many opportunities, in so many different fields, to find our way in this crazy world.”
-Ashley Conley 09′