Joseph Smith has been working as a professional landscaper in western North Carolina since 2015. He worked at Reems Creek Valley Nursery for several seasons, eventually managing a couple different crews in their landscape department. When Reems Creek decided to dissolve their landscaping division, Joseph saw an opportunity and started working for himself with the support of many of his long-term clients through the nursery. After a couple years of working on his own successfully, he officially formed Blackbird Landscapes LLC with business partner Emily Driskill in February 2019. Joseph’s long-term clients appreciate his in-depth knowledge of horticulture, hardscape installation, and drainage systems, among other skills. He has an eye for pest identification and strives to care for landscapes by dealing with potential problems preventatively, rather than reacting once they get out of hand. The vibrant properties he has had the opportunity to care for over a span of time are living proof that holistic management and timely seasonal maintenance are the key to outdoor spaces that are beautiful and functional not only for humans, but also the birds, pollinators, and other wildlife that we are intrinsically linked with. Joseph is a North Carolina Certified Plant Professional, holds a Turf and Ornamental pesticide applicator’s license in NC, and holds a Permaculture Design Certificate. He is currently working through the process to become a Licensed Landscape Contractor.
Emily Driskill is an alumna of The Evergreen State College in Washington state, and holds dual B.A./ B.S. degrees with concentrations in Botany, Sustainable Agriculture, and visual arts. Her background in field botany took her to many backcountry landscapes to observe wild plants and plant communities, which has been a huge influence on her approach to landscape design. In 2015, she transitioned her skills and knowledge into professional horticulture, becoming the Nursery Manager at Carolina Native Nursery in Burnsville, NC. Through this line of work, she became deeply familiar with the attributes, care, and uses for many eastern North American native shrubs and perennials. After three seasons in that job, she once again made a transition to join Joseph in running his landscape business. As Co-Owner of Blackbird Landscapes, Emily does landscape design, plant sourcing, client relations, crafting installation proposals, and business administration. She also serves as a resource on horticulture -- particularly Integrated Pest Management issues -- and aims to solve landscape problems with a holistic and ecologically-aware mindset. She is a licensed North Carolina Certified Plant Professional, and holds a private pesticide applicator’s license.