As the co-owner of Sollecito Landscaping Nursery in Syracuse, Megan Cree Sollecito ’77 peddles her skills as a certified landscape professional to custom design beautiful yards for her customers—some of whom she met as a student at SUNY Oswego.
“The people I met 46 years ago are still some of my closest friends,” said Megan, who has run the 6-acre garden center on Howlett Hill Road with her husband, Jim, for more than four decades. “I am grateful to those who’ve shopped at our garden center or hired our company for their own Central New York homes.”
The couple prides itself on developing landscapes that utilize local, sustainable flora that will thrive in Central New York soils and sometimes extreme weather conditions. They are known for their many varieties of panicle hydrangea, which she said “are some of the easiest flowering shrubs for the longest-lasting blooms.”
“We make it easy to have a green thumb,” Megan said. “We are a boutique shop, small enough to cater to each customer’s goals and considerations. We help beginners get started. Seasoned gardeners appreciate that we stay current with the newest plants, science and trends.”
Megan and Jim, a graduate of Cornell University’s ornamental horticulture program, post helpful videos with tips for gardeners on their YouTube channel, and Jim hosts podcasts for WRVO, a local National Public Radio affiliate based at SUNY Oswego.
Megan said that she has always been a “big fan of nature” and that having grown up in the 1960s and ’70s, she was a true “groovy, flower child.”
At Oswego, the English major was very much a liberal arts enthusiast, having taken courses in such English classics as Shakespeare, Chaucer and Milton, as well as French and Spanish language, music and theater.
She was frequently found in Tyler Hall performing in a range of student productions or portraying a cast of characters, including a turtle, a pirate, a cheerleader and a mermaid, in fellow students’ projects. She is also a proud sister of the Pi Delta Chi sorority.
“A senior seminar and an Alumni Office internship reinforced how to apply my studies outside the classroom,” she said. “This all helped me became a better post-grad student, achieving my certification as a Lifetime Senior Certified Nursery and Landscape Professional.”
Today, she visits campus regularly, often visiting a spot that holds particular importance to her—a tree near Funnelle Hall that Megan and Jim donated in memory of a friend and classmate, Tom “Jake” Jacobsen ’77, who died in 2000 while hiking in Grenada.
Classmates will likely remember Megan on her bicycle, which she rode to class and all over town. Bikes still figure prominently in her life, as they have become one of her company’s themes in their displays.
“It represents fun, freedom and fresh air,” Megan said. “We paint them bright colors, turning old, un-rideable bikes into a garden whimsy or a trellis.”