Botanical engineer is responsible for Edgewood Golf Course flowerbeds |

Botanical engineer is responsible for Edgewood Golf Course flowerbeds

What would the world be like without flowers? Thanks to Barbara Loeffler, South Shore residents may never have to know.

Loeffler, a botanical engineer, is responsible for planting and maintaining several area business and residential flowerbeds, including Edgewood Golf Course’s 50-plus beds.

When she started working for Edgewood 14 years ago she already had 15 other accounts, which she still has today, including First Security in Incline Village, Tahoe Women’s Care and a few houses around the lake.

“It has just been a passion doing landscape design,” Loeffler said as she pruned the perennials of a large Edgewood bed. “I just love flowers and gardening.”

Loeffler moved to Lake Tahoe from Southern California 22 years ago. She gardened part-time during the day and worked in the casinos as a waitress at night.

“I came up here just for the summer, and I never left,” she said. “I was lucky to be able to make enough money doing this that I could quit working at night.”

Loeffler said most of what she knows she learned from experience, however she did take a six-month Master Gardener program at the University of Nevada, Reno and an interior design class, which she said helped her with exterior arrangements as well.

Loeffler said she inherited her green thumb from her grandparents who raised orchids and lemons. She said she was taught the importance and beauty of planting at a young age.

“It’s so rewarding to step back and watch something live and grow and mature,” Loeffler said. “I owe a lot to Mother Nature. She’s pretty incredible. Just how she arranges things, I could never do it as well.”

Loeffler said she has a very small garden at home because she is too tired to maintain one after working 10-hour days.

“At the end of the day the last thing I want to do is go home and pull more weeds,” she said with a chuckle.

To maintain beds as bountiful as Edgewood’s, Loeffler said two people would need to spend 80 hours a week on the job, however she said that time is lessened now that the growing season is almost over.

Loeffler said one of her job’s challenges is choosing flowers that thrive in Tahoe because a lot of things won’t produce due to the short growing season.

She said mid-summer, July and August are peak times. By October, Loeffler said she will cut all of the perennials down to the ground so they can lie dormant for winter and return in spring.

Loeffler planted more than 50 different varieties of perennials at Edgewood, with Shasta daisies and garden phlox growing the best.

Steve Seibel, golf course superintendent, said Loeffler has made the course more beautiful and Edgewood’s guests are appreciative. He said wedding parties particularly enjoy the attractive ambience Loeffler has created.

“We get a lot of compliments on her work,” Seibel said. “Barbie has done a wonderful job.”

For residential jobs, Loeffler said she tries to plant fragrant flowers around the entrances to the house. She said perennials like honeysuckle, garden phlox, lilacs and an annual called stock are all hearty and sweet smelling.

“I like to help people have a pretty yard and help them learn about the flowers so they can maintain them,” Loeffler said about her residential accounts.

Nancy and Tom Tornga, of Cave Rock, said Loeffler did a wonderful job four years ago designing their garden, which she still maintains.

“People say it’s the prettiest garden they’ve seen,” Nancy Tornga said. “Barbie is so talented. She’s got an incredible attention to detail and a real sense of style and color. There’s always something wonderful happening.”

Loeffler said her attention to detail has turned into almost an obsession with flowers and making outdoor arrangements look their best.

“Everywhere I go I’m looking at people’s yards,” she said. “Sometimes it’s not good for me to be driving because I get so distracted. I drive by my friend’s house, see a weed and I’m just dying to stop and pull it. I just can’t help myself.”

Loeffler said the favorite part of her job is landscape design. However, she said she will probably never put down her garden shovel for a paper and pencil, because she’s become so attached to working hands-on with her flowers.

“Just about everything here I put in the ground,” she said looking at three large beds in front of Edgewood’s clubhouse. “They’re all my children. So I’m pretty much stuck here. If I leave, I leave them.”

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