Willow Greenhouse is a Family Business

As a family-owned business, we love getting to know our customers from grandma and grandpa all the way down to the little ones who help with the watering and delight in our pumpkin patch.

So we’d like you to get to know us as well!

Nick Zimmer

Chief Gardener

Nick knew from an early age that he was destined to work outside. In high school, he and a friend started a successful landscaping business that solidified Nick’s desire to work with his hands in the dirt.

Nick studied horticulture at Michigan State University and worked for numerous greenhouses during his college years. Each job provided valuable knowledge and new skills. In addition to a degree in horticulture and varied work experience, Nick also met Kara, his future wife, at MSU.

After graduation, Nick worked as Head Grower at Barlow Flower Farm, a high-end retail garden center on the New Jersey coast.  At Barlow he oversaw year-round production of plants in their 60,000 sq. ft. growing facility.

Nick and Kara moved back to Michigan after almost three years at Barlows to be closer to family and to work for Proven Winners as the Trial Coordinator. Working with thousands of plants at Proven Winners gave him with the ability to choose the very best varieties to grow for his customers.

Nick’s expertise is in growing flowers but what gives him even greater pleasure is working with customers. He loves sharing his passion and knowledge with others and helping them create a successful and fulfilling gardening experience.

Jenni Zimmer

Retail Manager and Customer Services Liaison

Jenni joined the staff as Retail Manager and Customer Services Liaison in June of 2015 after retiring from a 36-year career as a school psychologist in the Ann Arbor Public Schools. She is loving her second career!

Jenni’s role includes coordinating workshops, fundraisers, and special events such as the Family Fun Day, Easter Egg Hunt, Garden Club, Boy Scout and Girl Scout tours, Ladies’ Night Out events, and children’s birthday parties. She is also the contact for planning wedding and shower arrangements. You may reach her at 734-645-2801.

As a hobby, Jenni thoroughly enjoys taking photos of customers and families at the greenhouse and then texting the best ones to them. Feel free to ask her to take one if you’d like!

Also, Jenni takes great pleasure in getting to know customers and making sure they have a fun and enjoyable experience at Willow. She hopes that everyone coming to Willow leaves with a smile on their face.

Kara Zimmer

Business Administration

Kara, Nick’s wife, is also an MSU grad with a degree in Hospitality Business Management.

She currently works full-time for Boyne Properties as Senior Sales Manager.

Kara also plays a vital behind-the-scenes role at Willow Greenhouse by handling the bookkeeping and keeping the paperwork under control.

Nowadays, you will see her most often with their daughter Tessa and son Zack coming to visit the greenhouse. The greenhouse is now — by far — the children’s favorite place to be. Tessa is ready to be a junior customer greeter. Zack is ready to be the assistant driver on the tractor and Skidsteer.

Nicole Fee

Head Grower

Nicole, our Head Grower, has been with Willow since 2015. She earned her BS from Michigan State in Horticulture in 2015.

Nicole takes care of all aspects of our annuals, vegetables, and herbs which includes watering, fertilizing, and pest control management. With her in-depth knowledge of all of the plants inside the greenhouse, Nicole is the go-to person for all of your questions about annuals and vegetables. She readily admits that she is obsessed with plants, loves watching them grow from baby plug to full maturity, and is especially intrigued by the unusual varieties.

She is always delighted when she sees customers taking pleasure in the beauty and uniqueness of Willow’s plants.

Laurie Medrea

Perennial/Shrub Manager

Laurie joined Team Willow in 2016, after working at Plymouth Nursery for 15 years as their Perennial Manager. She has a BS in Science from Michigan State and has completed post graduate work in horticulture and landscape design at MSU and Oakland Community College.

At Willow, Laurie is responsible for all of the ordering and care of the perennials and shrubs and is extremely knowledgeable about all facets of their growth. Known as the “Perennial Guru”, she is happy to share her wealth of information with customers, always wowing them with her in depth knowledge. She is also happy to offer advice about plant partnering, optimal planting locations, design ideas, and the like. Laurie’s talents also include her creativity in making exquisite holiday centerpieces, patio pots and swags.

Jamie Penn

Retail, Display and Accounts Manager

Jamie joined Team Willow in the spring of 2020 as a cashier and over the past year has impressed everyone with her wide-ranging talents. She helps manage the retail shop. She organizes and manages Nick’s accounts. She oversees most of the displays in and outside of the greenhouse, including making the large decorative signage outside and she runs the register!

In addition, with her highly creative spirit, she makes the garden aprons that we sell as well as other seasonal artistic creations such as Succulent Pumpkins and Holiday Gnomes. All the while, she has a cheerful, friendly disposition that all people enjoy! One last, but not least, aspect of Jamie’s versatility is that she has a Doctorate in Chiropractic and has a private practice as a chiropractor in South Lyon.

Theresa Merino

Production and Propagation Manager

Teresa has been learning about and working with plants for 25 years. She worked at Brainer’s Greenhouse for 22 years before coming to Willow two years ago in 2018. We are so happy she is now a part of Team Willow!

Teresa oversees the planting and production schedule of all of our annuals as well as is the chief propagator in the greenhouse. In addition, she is gifted in her artistry with plants, making beautiful custom-made pots and arrangements for our customers. She is known for her exquisite patio pots for all seasons, as well as for her bonsaied Petunia, Begonia, and Fuchsia trees and for her always bright smile.

Enrique Medina

Building and Maintenance Manager

Enrique, similar to Teresa, began at Brainer’s and worked there for 22 years ago before coming to Willow in 2018. He has wide-ranging skills in all aspects of building and maintenance including plumbing, electrical and carpentry and manages all of the heavy jobs at Willow, always ready and happy to tackle a challenge.

He is Willow’s Mr. Fixit. Enrique also works closely with Nick on all major land management at Willow. He is the one, besides Nick, that you will see on the tractor, the forklift or the Skidsteer. Enrique loves building from start to finish and is the head builder of all of our added greenhouses over the past two years. With his skills and dedication, you are likely to see more expansions coming!

Estella Palacio-De Rivera

Production Assistant

Estella also came to Willow two years ago, in 2018, and also worked at Brainer’s for 10 years prior to coming to Willow. (Brainer’s closing is clearly our gain!) She is admired for her strong work ethic, always working tirelessly on any task given to her, always with a smile.

Estella loves to stay busy and loves to contribute to all aspects of planting, watering, and taking care of Willow’s plants. She has a quiet disposition and a fierce loyalty.