Justin Stelter: Rooted in Williamson County
Interview By Amelia Rose Smith
Justin Stelter’s career began at the desk of his high school trigonometry class in 1995. There, Justin drafted a business plan for his notable landscaping company, JS Gardening, LLC. Justin’s eye for design and years of experience in residential, commercial and historic landscape design and installation earned him the role of Director of Gardens and Grounds for The Battle of Franklin Trust in 2003. Today, he continues to bring elegant vegetation to Franklin’s historic grounds and our community. Enjoy this peek into Justin’s life in Williamson County!
YW: What brought you to Williamson County?
Justin: I moved from the bucolic agricultural town of Eagleville, Tennessee, to the steeped-in-history, forward-moving city of Franklin in 1999. The goal was to be closer to my customers and surround myself with opportunities to build a better life and to be connected. The gracious and embracing people of Williamson County, many of whom I now consider close friends or extended family, make this community feel like home to me.
YW: What led you to choose your profession?
Justin: I am a landscape gardener. Initially, I took this path to pay my way through college and work with nature. Now, I continue this path because of the chance to harvest and the beauty in witnessing the development of all the seeds planted along the way.
YW: Three words that best describe you.
Justin: I hope to be passionate, yearning and faith-driven. My middle child Annabelle suggests that I am funny, strict and hard-working, while my wife, Olivia, describes me as driven, direct and generous.
YW: Where is your favorite place to be in WC?
Justin: For nearly two decades, my favorite place to visit in Williamson County was the garden at Carnton. The garden has revealed to me over the nearly two decades of caretaking and observation not only how much I have changed and developed – just like the garden itself – but also shed light on the fruitful rewards that proper amendments, nurturing and cultivation can develop even as adversity and challenges are overcome.
As I have matured, I find more and more that my favorite place has transitioned to the high ground north of the garden, that final resting place filled with rows and rows of limestone markers of those that have gone on before us. The McGavock Family Cemetery, the adjoining enslaved cemetery, and the Confederate Cemetery, might be the only place in the world where three cemeteries unite into one physical embodiment of perhaps the best example of how we should be united in life. Simply remembering those that made the sacrifice and reflecting on their struggles and imperfections while basking under the light, is important to me now.
YW: What is the one thing you do not go a day without?
Justin: Smiling and looking up.