Remembering Craig Pearson: A Legendary Pioneer of Plantscape Design Business

26 Oct | Biophilic Design, Featured

by Steve Craft - Craig Pearson, Phoenix Home and Garden
Photo: by Steve Craft – Phoenix Home and Garden

In the world of plantscaping, few names resonate as deeply and affectionately as Craig Pearson. A beacon of inspiration, his radiating smile was as constant as the sun, nurturing every seed of friendship and business relationship he sowed. His engaging personality was warm and uplifting, making those around him feel not just important but cherished. The loss of Craig is felt far beyond the boundaries of our industry; it echoes in every home and business graced by his botanical artistry. His talent and influence will continue to blossom in the hearts of those he touched.

From Nebraska to Scottsdale, Arizona: An Inspiring Journey to Interior Plantscaping and a Transformative Retail Experience

Craig Pearson, a native of Plainview, Nebraska, embarked on a journey that led to the sun-drenched landscapes of Arizona. It was here he found his true calling in the vibrant city of Scottsdale, where his inherent passion for plantscaping came into full bloom.

Establishing Pearson & Company with his sisters Cyndi and Christi, Craig spent over four decades revolutionizing interior plant design. His company swiftly grew into one of Arizona’s premier providers of unique foliage, pottery, and related artifacts, transforming homes and businesses into living tapestries of beauty and creativity.

“Craig and his sisters Cyndi and Christi opened one of the most interesting and fanciful retail experiences on Main Street in “Old Town” Scottsdale, Arizona. Just walking into their open courtyard was a journey into the realm of new possibilities in the interior foliage design business.” Bob Knoff & Diane Hedrick of Botanic Effects

Twisted Paths of Nature: Bob and Diane’s Adventurous Quest for Unique Specimens for Pearson & Company

Dracaena Arborea in Plant Solution's Showroom Scottsdale, Arizona
Example: Dracaena Arborea in Plant Solution’s Showroom Scottsdale, Arizona

In the verdant world of plantscaping, Bob and Diane from Botanic Effects reminisce about their time as former suppliers to Pearson and Company. They embarked on incredible explorations in Florida to find the most unique plants for Craig. Known for his preference for plants with a southwestern flair, Craig had a particular affection for Dracaena Arborea.

They recall spending countless hours in Meristem Nursery, navigating through its lush expanse in Homestead. Amidst the laissez-faire approach of the nursery’s owner, Dennis Smythe, where the Arborea crop was allowed to grow freely, storms caused the plants to topple over. Remarkably, these resilient plants would lie untouched for months, and they did what plants do best – they reached for the sun, growing in unique, crooked shapes.

It was in this green oasis that Bob and Diane successfully hunted for these unconventional specimens, fulfilling Craig’s unorthodox vision and passion for his craft. Their quest to find the most twisted, bent specimens became one of their most exciting and fulfilling adventures in the interiorscape industry.

Memories of a Maverick: Craig Pearson’s Unique Spirit, Imagination, and Unexpected Destinations

“Craig Pearson was one of the most creative and Imaginative people we have ever known. Craig’s dry sense of humor and beautiful smile will remain in our hearts forever.” Russel Krueger and Linda Dee of Creative Plants

Russ and Linda fondly recall the extraordinary spirit of Craig Pearson, a genuinely innovative and imaginative individual like no other. They tell us how they embarked on unforgettable trips with Craig and his sisters. In fact, their bond was so special that Russel and Linda felt compelled to offer them a vacation of a lifetime as a gesture of their deep friendship and valued partnership in the interior foliage business. With the destination left up to them to choose, the question loomed: where would they choose to go? Europe, the Caribbean, perhaps? Surprisingly, their choice stunned everyone – Bisbee, Arizona! Yes, Bisbee!

Bisbee, Arizona
Photo: Bisbee, Arizona

For those unacquainted with the wonders of Arizona, Bisbee is a historic mining town nestled in the Mule Mountains of Southern Arizona. Back in the 1900s, this place held the title of the “Queen of Copper Camps,” boasting unimaginable mineral riches. Gold, copper, silver, lead, and zinc flowed freely from its depths, captivating the world with its abundance. And while the trip unfolded into an incredible adventure, the destination selection became an endless source of amusement and mirth for years to come.

Competitive Camaraderie: Joe Zazzera Reflects on the Unmatched Design Acumen of Craig Pearson

Craig Pearson was admired and respected, even among his competitors. Joe Zazzera, the founder of Plant Solutions in Scottsdale, AZ shares an insight into the friendly competition between him and Craig. “Craig and I were friendly competitors for many years,” Zazzera recalls. “I had the utmost respect for his design acumen and the stunning installations he created. Craig would search the world over for new and unusual planters.”

Zazzera also notes that Craig’s distinctive style made his designs easily recognizable. “I could always tell if it was a Pearson design,” he says. His style and relentless pursuit of innovation put Craig in a league of his own in the indoor plant industry. “I applaud Craig’s contribution to the indoor plant industry,” Zazzera says.

Passion Meets Purpose: Craig Pearson’s Selfless Contribution to the Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden and its Community

Photo: Craig Pearson, Phoenix Home and Garden
Photo: Phoenix Home and Garden

Craig Pearson’s love for pots and container gardening led him to the Desert Botanical Garden, in Phoenix, AZ where he found a way to connect his passion with the greater community. Craig took on helping the Garden with the Dinner on the Desert fundraising event. He diligently sought out silent auction donations of plants, pots, and corporate support and found that the effort was successful and incredibly enjoyable. He even supported special events for children with special needs, demonstrating his selflessness and commitment to the community. Craig’s dedication to the Desert Botanical Garden has earned him recognition in the Garden’s Sonoran Circle legacy society.

Craig’s influence extended far beyond his professional accomplishments. He was renowned for his genuine compassion and care, treating his employees as cherished members of his own family. His entrepreneurial talents were matched by his role as a supportive friend and a steadfast pillar of the community. His legacy is not just one of business success but of heartfelt connections and a life lived in service to others. Together, we will remember a fellow plantscape maestro, Craig Pearson. His touch on the canvas of nature was nothing short of magic. He didn’t just plant – he created masterpieces. His love for greenery was contagious and will continue to inspire us at every turn. Today, we mourn a significant loss but also celebrate a life that brought so much growth and beauty into the world. Rest in peace, Craig. Your memory will bloom in our hearts forever.

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