Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp grew up in Indianapolis and lives about 15 minutes from downtown in a 1951 ranch. As a confessed hortiholic, she admits that her eyes are too big for her yard. You just can’t have enough plants. She feeds the birds, provides them with sources of water, and if she’d complete the inventory and application form, her landscape could be a certified Backyard Wildlife Habitat. One of these days it will be official. She considers herself a seat-of-the-pants, trial-and-error gardener.
Besides freelancing, she works nearly full time as a manager of perennials, trees and shrubs at a large independent garden center, where she has worked for seven years. She was the founding editor and is a part owner of Indiana Living Green magazine,
A former newspaper reporter, she now freelances, specializing in writing for and about business, not-for-profits, real estate, retail, architecture, manufacturing, construction, economic development, higher education, the green industry, gardening, people and places. Her work appears in several national and local publications, including the Indianapolis Business Journal, Angie’s List magazine and her Hoosier Gardener column in the Indianapolis Star. She works with corporations and not-for-profits on annual reports, newsletters, white papers and other types of written communication.
She’s a popular speaker about garden-related topics and sustainable living.
Jo Ellen recently launched a new venture as garden coach to help clients learn about their landscapes and what to do when, problem solving and other advice. She has Going To Pot, a container planting service for residential and commercial clients. And, she and Wendy Ford, a garden designer, work with residential and commercial clients on landscape design, plant selection and installation.
She describes her life as a mosaic, making a living from various types of work: writing, speaking, garden coach and landscaping.
She has a grown son, Benjamin, coach for the Women’s and Junior’s Olympic Cycling teams. And, she has a dog, Bisque, and a cat, Callie, also known as Cowgirl because she’s rootin’ tootin’.
Jo Ellen is a national director of Garden Writers Association, former director of the Marion County Extension Board , a director of the Indianapolis Museum of Art Horticultural Society, president of the Friends of Garfield Park Inc., and a director and the recent past president of the Business Ownership Initiative of Indiana. She is an Advanced Master Gardener in Marion County.
She also volunteers at WFYI (marketing, communications and public relations subcommittee), the Indianapolis City Market (container and landscape plantings), Capital City Garden Project (Spring Garden Clinic) and Garfield Park. She also is a member of the Indiana Historic Landscapes Alliance, a not-for-profit organization that works to promote awareness, preservation and tourism at culturally significant landscapes throughout Indiana.
She and Tom Tyler are co-authors of The Indiana Gardener’s Guide. Jo Ellen was a contributing writer to:
- The Garden Tourist 1998, 2000 and 2001 by Lois Rosenfeld, Garden Tourist Press
- 1,001 Ingenious Gardening Ideas by Rodale Press, 1999
- Wings of Their Dreams: Purdue In Flight by John Norberg, Purdue Press, 2003 (Amelia Earhart chapter).
- Oxford Companion to the Garden edited by Patrick Taylor, Oxford University Press, 2006