Jan Johnsen of Johnsen Landscapes & Pools

Westchester County's Most Accomplished Women Entrepreneurs

Born with a Green Thumb - Jan Johnsen
Written by NLC
914INC Magazine - 2011

When she was in the third grade, Jan Johnsen planted corn seeds on the windowsill of her family's New York apartment. She soon branched out to the fire escape, where pots of flowers and vegetables thrived. At 16, she won first prize in the Manhattan borough-wide science fair with an experiment on how sound affects the growth of plants. "My teacher thought it was a stupid idea," she says, "and that made me want to do it more. I just intuitively knew there was a connection." Since then, scientists have learned that the high-frequency vibrations of birdsong open up the pores on plant leaves so that they absorb more air and nutrients.

After 15 years of working for other firms, Johnsen opened her own landscape company in 1986 with just $3,000. "I bought a used computer from the PennySaver and started out in a one-room office I rented from a tree company."

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