John Gingrich: Plant Doctor
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
CONCORD — From an early age, John Gingrich knew he wanted to be in a profession that would allow him to spend his days outside, working with plants and nature. While he assumed this would mean a career in landscaping, he eventually discovered a niche that held an even greater appeal. “After working as a landscaper for several years, I decided I wanted to stand out a little more in the field, so I enrolled at Cal Poly as an ornamental horticulture major,” he explains. “That’s when I really began to cultivate my interest in landscape health care.”
Following his college stint, John moved to the Concord area, where he applied his education by working for a local company. Fifteen years later, he struck out on his own and founded Gingrich Horticulture Service in 1999. Today, John continues to use his expert knowledge of horticultural health to assist Contra Costa County residents. “Our aim is to keep plants healthy, vigorous and growing to their full potential,” he says. “A lot of people install plants in their yards but don’t really understand what those plants need. That’s where we come in.”
A longtime resident of Concord (where he lives with his wife and business partner, Diane), John says the Bay Area’s temperate weather makes it an ideal environment for someone in his line of work. “An area’s climate dictates what kinds of plants can be grown there, so we’re very fortunate to be in an area that allows for such versatility. From plants that require winter chilling to subtropicals like citruses and guavas, it’s fun having such a vast horticultural pallet to choose from.”
Outside of work, John extends his love of the outdoors to a variety of pursuits, from hiking and camping to water- and snow-skiing. “I enjoy just about any activity that I can do outdoors, especially water sports like diving for abalones and spearfishing.” In addition to these active pastimes, John enjoys avocational hobbies like raising honeybees and making wine. “My wife tells me I have too many hobbies,” he laughs. However, as busy as his work and hobbies keep him, he also makes sure to keep up with his and Diane’s two children, Ian and Ashley, who are pursuing their respective vocational goals in college.
When asked about a personal philosophy, John quotes a verse of Biblical scripture: “Let your yes be yes and your no be no.” “As a consumer, when I hire somebody, I look to see if they’re going to deliver what they’ve promised,” he explains. “That’s something I really try to live by—not only to do what I say I’m going to, but to do it to the best of my abilities.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, John says he’d take a trip down under. “I’d probably go visit my son, who’s currently attending a university in Australia. Also, my wife is from Australia, so it would be a chance for us to spend some time with her family as well.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Naan ‘n’ Curry in Concord.
Q: What’s your earliest memory?
A: Swimming in my family’s Doughboy pool while Jeffrey, our German Shepherd, ran around and barked at us.
Q: Are you an early bird or a night owl?
A: An early bird. I like being up in the quiet of the morning.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
A: Eggs Benedict with lox.
Q: Do you collect anything?
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A: Boats. I have two sailboats and a fishing boat, not to mention four kayaks.