Waco Chat

Brooke Garcia

By Kevin Tankersley

Garden Director for Magnolia

“My vision as a leader is, I grow if everyone grows.”

I started at Magnolia in October of 2021. I’m the garden director, which is a strategic role of casting the vision for Magnolia’s garden space. I have two garden managers that work alongside me. One of our garden managers is mostly stationed here at the Silos. Our second garden manager travels to the various properties like Magnolia Table, both vacation rentals and the gristmill where the cooking show is filmed in Valley Mills. I oversee the garden operations, and I help Joanna Gaines plan the garden throughout the seasons. Jo really speaks into a lot of the design decisions, such as specific plant varieties or color schemes.

The window boxes and specialty plantings get switched out four times a year on average, and we incorporate a lot of perennials on the grounds. That’s something that we have tried to incorporate more of so we get repetitive blooming, because the plant comes back every single year. It’s been a sustainable approach because you don’t have to keep ripping it out or replacing. The cut flowers usually get changed three times a year, sometimes four if we get hit with a hard season of drought or something isn’t successful. We just switched out the tulips and daffodils in the raised beds, and we put in poppies, delphinium and Dara. The Chocolate Lace Dara is one of Jo’s favorites.

I love Russian sage, which is a perennial. It’s incredibly drought tolerant, which works well in Central Texas. It’s been a prolific bloomer, so it repeats its blooming cycle repeatedly throughout the spring, summer and fall. It’s a perennial plant that you would plant in a landscape bed. I have so many favorite plants. I love the vitex trees, which are also called Chaste trees. They have big purple blooms, and are also drought tolerant. We have incorporated gaura which is another perennial. That’s been a hugely successful plant for us, and the guests at Magnolia love it.

Magnolia is an incredibly inspiring company. It’s been really fulfilling to work here. It feels like I am living out my garden dream as a horticulturist.

There are nine people on our garden team, including me. It’s always gratifying to collaborate with my team. My vision as a leader is, I grow if everyone grows. We really try to learn from each other and teach one another about plants. And we’re always exchanging plant knowledge and plant stories. When our team members are passionate about plants, I know a guests will learn from them as well. There is always a plant story worth sharing.

Brooke Garcia is the garden director for Magnolia. She graduated from Midway High School, then earned a bachelor’s in horticulture from Kansas State University in 2016, and an MBA from Kansas State in 2021. She’s married to Jesse Garcia, who is the general manager of Magnolia Table.