Our People

Maker of Botanical Beauty
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You’ve likely noticed the telltale signs that spring is well under way: birds singing, longer days and warmer temperatures. Soon enough, our grounds will be in full bloom with vibrant flowers, plants and shrubs. Behind the scenes, Worthington’s head horticulturist Mark Miller is hard at work keeping these masterpieces maintained across the nearly 100 acres that make up our Columbus, Ohio facilities.
Back to His Roots
Mark joined our facilities maintenance team six years ago, but his experience extends back to his roots. In the 1950s, Mark’s grandparents began a family farm operation in Delaware, Ohio called Miller’s Country Gardens. In fact, it’s still an active farm and public market, owned and operated by Mark’s family. He grew up working in the vegetable gardens and cultivating greenhouses. “I was driving a tractor through the fields when I was about seven or eight years old,” Mark said. This upbringing instilled an interest that led him to study olericulture and landscaping at The Ohio State University, graduating with a degree in horticulture in 1981. From there, he worked for the U.S. Forest Service gaining hands-on experience with everything from root grafting to researching invasive insects.
Strategic Beautification

Mark was drawn to Worthington by the potential to add variety and color to the current landscape. His first year involved a lot of designing and observing through each season. “It’s like each area, and each building, have their own micro-climates,” Mark said. “I have to make sure I’m planting things that will thrive based on the conditions, which is good challenge.” By the following spring, Mark had 1,500 new plants and flowers strategically placed throughout the campuses. Currently, he plants upwards of 1,000 new flowers at Worthington each year.  

Between preparations in the springtime to pruning during the dormant winter months, there’s plenty to do year-round. Mulching, fertilizing, planting, weeding, deadheading, pruning—the list goes on. On top of that, there are considerations like protecting against wildlife, avoiding areas of foot traffic and ensuring plants complement building structures. Mark also maintains the irrigation systems, draws maps of the grounds to track the type and location of plants, and closely monitors a trusty degree-day calendar.

While all of this keeps him busy, Mark most enjoys the culture here at Worthington. “My Worthington family is always willing to step in and help me keep up with the work.” He also appreciates the support and trust he receives to lead our facilities team in these efforts.

A Competitive Passion

While landscaping is his day job, Mark’s passion and favorite hobby aligns perfectly: growing roses. Mark and his wife, Terri, nurture more than 300 varieties of roses and show them competitively in local, state and national rose shows. In 2021, Mark received the prestigious silver medal in the Buckeye District for rose culture—the highest award given at the district level. He is a consulting rosarian and serves as a judge with the American Rose Society.

With spring blossoms and fragrant blooms, it’s the ideal time to admire the beauty of Mark's work. Next time you have the opportunity to visit Worthington's Columbus campus, be sure to take a moment to "stop and smell the roses."