Bill Fontenot is the owner of Prairie Brasse Ecological Consulting based in Carencro, Louisiana. He was just awarded 2021 Louisiana Naturalist of the Year by the Louisiana Master Naturalist Association, in recognition of a lifetime of significant contributions to the education of nature lovers.
What inspired you to get into the industry?
A fascination with naturalistic design and a desire to sell more of the native plants that we were producing.
If you weren’t in the horticulture industry, what would you be doing?
Other than the USA, which country’s landscape inspires you the most?
Europeans have been designing gardens far longer than us New Worlders. I really appreciate the ease with which they solve various design problems and challenges.
What would you blow your budget on?
Well-prepared ceviche and pricey wines.
The one person in the industry you’d love to meet?
I’ve already met him: Will Fleming.
One thing that would make the industry better?
A more complete understanding of how various plants perform in various conditions (soil type, moisture regime, sun exposure).
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally?
Dealing with the spotty market demand historically associated with native plant production and sales.
What advice you have for those starting out in the industry?
Be prepared to work exceedingly hard—and be smart about it!
Best piece of trivia you know?
One cubic yard comprises 27 cubic feet.
Role model as a child?
No contest: John Lennon.
Couldn’t get through the week without …
Laughter. And the Golf Channel.
Best invention in recent years?