Janelle Deddo is the assistant horticulturist for the Model Railroad Garden, Spider Island, and Lagoon Garden. In the Model Railroad Garden: Landmarks of America, 18 garden-scale (G-scale) trains run through the garden featuring miniature buildings crafted from natural materials. Deddo maintains the small and fine textured plants in this garden, planting dwarf varieties and pruning plants to create the illusion of scale for the trains, buildings, and tiny people. Spider Island, the smallest of the Botanic Garden’s nine islands, features flowering perennials, shrubs, and sedges in the dappled shade of birches. The winding path and verdant hills create the experience of being in a larger and more secluded woodland. The Lagoon Garden is enjoyed by visitors when they first cross the Visitor Center Bridge and from the Garden View Café. Deddo also works occasional weekends to water display gardens during the growing season and to water plants on indoor display for Wonderland Express and the Orchid Show during the winter.
Deddo earned a bachelor of science degree in biology at Wheaton College (IL). Her interest in plants developed while taking a field course in ecology in the Black Hills of South Dakota. This led her to volunteer at the Morton Arboretum and pursue an internship in the Arboretum’s soil science laboratory. Since graduating, Deddo has worked at the Botanic Garden in a variety of positions, starting as an intern in the Plant Production Greenhouses, working as a plant restoration technician in the Dixon Prairie, and as seasonal assistant horticulturist in the English Walled Garden. She was promoted to her current position in January 2017. Between seasons of working at the Botanic Garden, Deddo has been employed at various Chicagoland environmental organizations as well as at a blueberry farm in the state of Washington.