Adapted from Member profile: Maureen Murphy, by Kathleen Mahoney. First published in Western Arborist Spring 2019.
Maureen Murphy doesn’t quite know how to explain her introduction to arboriculture. “Accident? Fluke? Unexpected events?” She laughs. “Perhaps Divine Intervention?”
Maureen had already spent three years in college, yet she lacked direction. She loved to learn, but just couldn’t commit to a career path. Life changed abruptly with the death of her father, and Maureen inherited the caretaking duties of his numerous house plants. Not knowing a thing about plant care, she put her new houseguests in dark corners where they looked nice, not places where they would grow. She watered them on occasion (when she remembered) and didn’t have the slightest clue about pests. By all rights, these poor plants should have died and yet… somehow, they thrived! Maureen was hooked, turning a twist-of-fate into a career path. Five years later, she received two degrees from California Polytechnic State University, one in ornamental horticulture, the other in pomology. Armed with determination and her diploma in hand, Maureen moved to Hawaii to start her career.
Fast forward to today, and Maureen is the owner and operator of Horticultural Consultants International, LLC. She manages a 4-person crew working to prune trees, renovate old gardens, and detail estate gardens all over Kauai. She is a Registered Consulting Arborist and a qualified Tree Risk Assessor, allowing her to work in all sorts of interesting areas of arboriculture.
Her favorite part of the job? “That’s a hard one because I like so much about my job and the profession. I work for myself. I work outdoors in Hawaii! I work in beautiful gardens, with impressive trees, and every day is different – unique challenges, opportunities, and personal growth. I love the instant gratification of leaving a property in better shape than when I arrived, and I enjoy sharing my knowledge with clients, colleagues, and others. I’m a teacher at heart.”
Maureen is also a trainer with the Kauai Landscape Industry Council – an organization dedicated to elevating the skills of local landscape professionals – and teaches prep courses for becoming a Certified Arborist. Her goal is to continue improving her arboricultural and horticultural skills and help bring the latest research and information to her colleagues in Kauai. By understanding that arboriculture is a dynamic profession, involving many interests and perspectives, Maureen strives to always find the latest, most efficient ways of doing her job. She is intent on improving the practice of arboriculture on Kauai.
As part of her education efforts, Maureen serves as the president of Kauai Outdoor Circle, working tirelessly to educate the community about proper tree care and preserving the natural beauty of Kauai. And in April 2019, at the Western Chapter International Society of Arboriculture (WCISA) Annual Conference held at the Sheraton Waikiki, Maureen Murphy was honored as the recipient of WCISA’s President’s Award.
Maureen may still have a house full of plants, and she may still place them in those dark corners where they look nice. But now, at least, she knows enough to rotate them.
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