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I love to design, build and maintain beautiful gardens. I feel lucky to do my work, as I have the chance to integrate my desire to make life better for others with my love of the land and soil, architecture, plants, stone, wood, cooking, painting and bees. I get to transform often poisoned, neglected landscapes into organic flowering and fruiting oases full of life for everyone to enjoy. As the soil is improved, plants grow happily and attract a myriad of beneficial insects, amphibians and songbirds and of course, bees! Their music keeps me company as I work.
Over the years I’ve facilitated garden improvements and expansions and witnessed the same in my clients’ lives too- into closer contact with the earth, plants and their true natures. Whether they’re meditating in the garden or entertaining friends there, taking cuttings to make arrangements for tables or as gifts or picking vegetables for dinner, my clients enjoy their gardens and learn too how to become stewards of the land. It’s fulfilling to see their joy.
When the Ceanothus bloomed in my gardens in the spring of 2005, I noticed that the normally bee-filled plant was silent. Not many bees showed up in my gardens at all that year, which was alarming. Hearing about the phenomenon called Colony Collapse Disorder, I set out to learn more about the precious honeybee and her troubles. For a few years I attended every class, course and conference I could find about bees and became an ardent bee lover and keeper. I traveled to France and England regularly to learn from beekeepers who are also working to solve the problem of bee losses and came in contact with interesting and unusual hives and ancient ways of working with the bee, which I integrated into my own practices.
Along with designing, building and maintaining gardens, I teach pollinator related classes to children and adults, sharing the knowledge I’ve gleaned over the years of how to better keep the Earth for the bees and the rest of us.Melissa has a degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Oregon and is a Licensed Landscape Contractor in Oregon and Washington. She has designed, built and maintained over 130 acres of organic gardens in the Portland Metro Area and in the Columbia River Gorge and continues to today. Melissa combines 23 years of transforming landscapes with honeybee knowledge and assessorship and invites her clients to step into a world of health and healing through their gardens. She is available as a consultant and educator for individuals and organizations seeking direction in the establishment of extraordinary gardens and hives, as well as those seeking a holistic form of healing. She is the owner of Melissa Bees, trade name of Melissa Elliott Landscape Design and Construction, L.L.C., and is a member of the American Apitherapy Society. OLCB# 7367 WA UBI#603-547-197
As a teacher of the alternative myself for many years I like to think I know what works and what doesn’t, and Melissa’s classes work. She’s a natural teacher – the best kind. She’s funny, approachable and makes you feel as if you’ve known her forever, not to mention she’s like a walking encyclopedia for everything plants and bees. What a treasure she is. We were thrilled to find someone who can teach us what we need to know now and probably for a long time; we signed up for more classes the minute our first one was finished.- Sherri Tyler