Our Team

Paige McIntosh, Designer

Paige grew up with a mother who loved planting flowers and maternal grandparents who farmed 52 acres in Northern Ohio. Summers were spent planting a ½ acre vegetable garden, picking fruit at nearby farms, shelling peas with her grandmother, and eventually hiding from her mother who wanted her to pull weeds again. Being outside with her hands in the dirt gave her a love for plants.

At Miami University she was known for having baskets of pansies outside her dumpy apartment building. Her favorite class in undergraduate school was Christian Existentialism followed closely by Trees and Shrubs. This love of plants naturally led to a B.A. in both Philosophy and History. Life happened, and she ultimately earned an M.B.A. in Small Business Management from the George Washington University while a Contracts Manager for General Dynamics serving Naval Undersea Warfare. See the obvious connection?

While taking a few years off to raise her three small children, she began to plant her own garden. She admits to being the worst possible impulse buyer of plants in addition to being a plant hoarder for whom there is no help. People started to ask for help with their own gardens, and the rest is history. When clients ask her about her background, she will tell them that she has spent thousands of dollars on plants that died, just so she can prevent it from happening to them.

Eight years later she is designing patios, walkways, driveways, retaining walls, landscapes, and gardens. Every house is her house. She makes Herculean efforts to ensure that her clients have a yard that is functional and beautiful.
José Alcantara, Project Manager

Before coming to BrightShade Gardens, José spent seven years working in Commercial Sales for Merrifield Garden Center. He can identify a Crape Myrtle in winter by looking only at the shape of the tree and the color of the bark, he can describe in detail the bloom cycle of all ornamental Cherry trees, and he can pick out a Fat Albert Spruce from a line up. He knows trees, he knows shrubs, he knows sod, and he knows best practices for installing and maintaining landscapes in this area.

Just like Paige, José grew up around farms. As a young boy he learned to maintain coffee shrubs and to select the best fruit at harvest. He and his grandfather grew lemons, oranges, mangoes, and the vegetables for their table. A walk through the greenhouse at the United States Botanic Garden will take you hours with Jose. He can tell you what it is, how to cook it, or how to use it to cure all that ails you. He can walk through your garden and identify all things living and explain how you can promote a long and happy life for your trees, shrubs, perennials, and grass.

On a personal note, José taught Spanish Grammar for 18 years at the high school and collegiate level in his home country. He came to the United States from El Salvador in 2001, but he never gave up hope that he would be a teacher again. When he is not whispering to plants, he teaches elementary school students Spanish using the very book used in Central American grade schools today.