Landscape Architect Finds Natural Fit with People and a Higher Purpose
by Sheila Julson
Registered landscape architect Jamie Csizmadia has fond memories of visiting her great-grandmother, Olthia. Like many grandmas and great-grandmas, Olthia was an anchor for the family, Csizmadia says, and she recalls spending many childhood hours in her amazing garden, picking okra and potatoes and admiring the roses.
In addition to her great-grandmother’s yard, Csizmadia spent much time outdoors, savoring the scents and textures of Oklahoma’s native prairie grasses. She also enjoyed drawing. When it came time to enter college, she thought that a career as an architect would be a good fit. During her first year at Texas A&M University, an academic adviser erroneously listed Csizmadia as a landscape architect major, instead of an architect major.
“So I ended up in landscape architecture classes, and I loved them. In my second year, I went to talk to another adviser, who said landscape architecture had been listed as my major. It was a pure accident, but it redirected me,” she says. “Learning about indigenous plants and how we shape the gardens that shape our lives is all really close to my heart.”
After college, Csizmadia’s wanderlust led her to live and work in Oregon, Georgia and Minnesota. Twenty years later, in 2010, she had an instinct to return home to Oklahoma City. Despite having limited finances, she had the support and encouragement of family and friends to start her own landscaping company. Naming the business came easily: Olthia Urban Prairie Gardens—a tribute to her great-grandmother.
Csizmadia specializes in helping clients reconnect to the world outside their back door in a way that recreates habitat in an urban fabric. She creates plant designs, landscapes and gardens that incorporate native wildflowers and grasses. “When we do that, nature immediately arrives back to the scene,” she enthuses. “Butterflies, honeybees, dragonflies and birds make homes. It brings life back to a yard in a way that people can experience nature right at home.”
Her Yard Therapy Consultations offer an affordable and approachable way to help common homeowners have access to professional landscape architect services. Csizmadia will do a one-on-one consult at the client’s home and prepare a professional design—a step-by-step implementation of the client’s project, which incorporates the native plants that will grow best in his/her yard—leaving the client armed with knowledge to get started on creating the client’s urban landscape.
Csizmadia’s favorite native plants include little bluestem, sumac varieties, black-eyed- Susan and beautyberry shrub. She emphasizes that preserving native landscapes is not only good for nature but can also be more economical than clear-cutting native plants and grasses to make way for expansive lawns, which require regular maintenance and often need synthetic chemicals to look their best. Csizmadia also offers educational presentations and workshops to pass on knowledge and skills for habitat restoration.
In addition to her work with Olthia Urban Prairie Gardens, Csizmadia is also an intuitive. After dealing with some personal setbacks in jobs and relationships, she made changes that led to spiritual growth. “I decided to make personal changes, and once I started doing work on myself, it was like layers started falling off,” she shares, “and with that, I began recognizing my direction through unseen subtle energies around us at all times.” This realization led her to offer intuitive services for family and friends.
Through word of mouth, others began hearing of Csizmadia’s unique intuitive abilities. She started offering it as a service, and she built up a client base. “What I love about being an intuitive is that I get to be an open channel for guidance that comes through from a higher place.”
Her intuitive guidance often overlaps with her work with Olthia. “I really think that as humans, we have an interconnected relationship with our natural surroundings and we can feel it,” she observes, “whether it’s a connection to a plant or a family of robins in the yard.”
Csizmadia feels perpetually inspired to develop her scope of service with Olthia Urban Prairie Gardens and address each client’s needs. She’s also driven to continue her intuitive work. “It’s an honor to assist someone else in serving a higher purpose,” she enthuses.
Jamie Csizmadia and Olthia Urban Prairie Gardens are based in Edmond. For more information, call 405-305-5478, or visit Olthia.com.
Sheila Julson is a Milwaukee-based freelance writer and contributor to Natural Awakenings magazines throughout the country.