Meet Elizabeth Beans, Director of Grounds at Dow Gardens

Meet Elizabeth Beans, Dow Gardens' new director of grounds. Beans came to Midland from Naples, Florida, where she managed all the designed gardens for the Naples Botanical Garden. Her love and passion for plants and people make her the perfect addition to the Dow Gardens staff. Writer Stephanie Yancer recently got a few minutes to sit down and talk to Elizabeth to get to know her a little better. 

Q: You're the director of grounds. What does a director of grounds do?
A: I essentially oversee all of the happenings on the grounds, including everything from mowing to our custodial staff. It’s kind of an all-encompassing position. The entire garden is my area. I oversee the horticulturalist, and it includes the bigger picture things like the new visitor center. I attend the meetings for that. I ensure the gardens feel cohesive and we’re sticking to our mission and preserving the history. 

Q: Is this similar to the work you did in the past?
A: Yes, it’s almost the same position I had in Naples, Florida.

Q: How big was the garden you worked at before?
A: I oversaw the 60 acres of designed gardens. There was a preserve, too, but that wasn’t under my jurisdiction. 

Q: Are you from Florida?
A: No, I'm originally from Toledo, Ohio, but I've been in Florida for about a decade.

Q: What made you decide to apply for the job in Midland?
A: My husband and I always talked about moving back to the Midwest. This move was about a year in the making. I have two nephews and a niece, and I wanted to move back closer to home. I knew I wanted to stay in public gardens because my passion is definitely connecting people with plants.

 I love the public garden industry. It's such a great career for anybody, any young person that's interested in the outdoors, I encourage them to look into public gardens. I wanted to stay in public gardens. A colleague told me about this position. I started looking into the gardens; it seemed like a fantastic workplace. I came up and walked the grounds and met with some of the team and that really solidified it for me. It's that kind of team mentality that draws me to a place, and I saw that here.

 I loved seeing everyone working together towards the same goal, and that's also what I really like about public gardens. I was very intrigued and I was really excited. Everyone is very passionate and enthusiastic about their job, and it's just infectious. I feel like a lot of people that I've talked to, this garden has shaped them. They remember coming on a field trip. Core memories are made here, and that's really special. 

Q: You said you encourage kids and people to get involved in public gardens, how did you get involved?
A: My mom kinda coined me as a naturalist as a young kid. I've always been outdoors, out in the garden as much as possible. My mother was a landscape architect, and my father was an architect. It was ingrained in me as a young child. I went to Miami University in Ohio and took a field botany class, and haven't looked back since.

Within the first year, I knew I wanted to work at gardens. I was talking to a horticulturalist today and I told him that the bed he cleaned up looks really good. And he said, he already saw people taking pictures of it. That is why we do these things. There's so many other reasons on top of that, but you're basically painting. I always liken our jobs to artists. You're essentially painting a landscape and you get to show it off to the public. When the public comes and appreciates it, maybe they'll look at the world as a bigger picture. 

Q: What is your favorite thing about your work?
A: Being able to be outside every day. My position is more of a hybrid position. I do have quite a few things I need to do on the computer, but I've never been an indoor person so I'm very fortunate that I get to spend a lot of time outside interacting with plants and people. It's the perfect balance for me personally. I get to help foster this creativity in all of the horticulturalists. I get to watch and help them create something they are very passionate about. 

Q: What else do you want people to know about you?
A: I'm very excited to be here. I already went to the antique festival this weekend, and I'm excited to explore Midland and all it has to offer. It seems like a really fantastic place to live. 

Q: Outside of your job, what do you like to do in your free time? 
A: You will find me in my yard. I'm going to go home after we finish speaking and plant some stuff. And if I'm not in my yard, you'll find me doing house projects. I've learned a lot from the career I chose.

Next time you're at Dow Gardens, make sure to say “hi” to Elizabeth and welcome her to Midland!

For more information about Dow Gardens and its upcoming programs and events, please visit

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Read more articles by Stephanie M. Yancer.

Stephanie M. Yancer is a freelance writer and social media marketer. She enjoys traveling and spending time outdoors camping, kayaking, paddleboarding and sitting by the campfire. Stephanie is married to Justin, a U.S.M.C veteran and has three boys, a 21-year old and 6-year old twins. She graduated from Central Michigan University and is an alumna of Alpha Sigma Alpha Sorority. She can be reached at