Certified Landscape Designers for Scenic Outdoor Spaces

About Us

Meet Jim

M.C.A. | M.C.H | MA Licensed Pesticide Applicator

Jim McSweeney, Hilltown Tree & Garden’s owner and operator, is seen as an industry leader in Western Mass in the arboricultural and horticultural fields, with almost 30 years of experience in each. He and his business have been regularly featured in magazines, newspapers, and on the radio.

He is a certified arborist, certified horticulturist, and licensed pesticide applicator, and was schooled in horticulture and arboriculture at the University of Massachusetts Stockbridge School. Jim spends much of his winters traveling while studying landscape design, alternative and organic methods for combating pests and treating plant disease, traditional agriculture, urban ecosystems, and other horticulture-related subjects.

Headshot of Jim with his arms crossed
Jim pointing at a tree explaining something to a group of people

Jim is on the faculty at the New England Wildflower Society, teaching courses on a diverse range of topics, including: Natural Pest Control, Pruning, and Landscape Design with Natives. He also does workshops for the Franklin Land Trust, The Goshen Open Space Committee, The Hilltown CDC, various garden centers, and a range of other not-for-profit organizations.

Jim has routinely donated his time and expertise to local organizations such as: Habitat for Humanity, Pioneer Valley Symphony, Bonnie’s Program, Cummington Community House, West Cummington Church, Russell Memorial Park in Chesterfield, Forbes Library Garden Tour, and many more. He has sponsored recreational activities such as Chesterfield Baseball and the Hilltown Jr. Olympics.

His travels have brought him from Kew Gardens in London to the Mughal Palace Gardens of the Taj Mahal in Agra, India. He has studied desertification in the West African Sahal, researched rice production in Southeast Asia, and started a cooperative organic farm in the Amazon. Jim brings the abilities gained from his worldwide experience to your landscape.

Meet Our Team

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Peter Merriam

Certified Arborist | Certified Horticulturist

Peter is a certified arborist and a certified horticulturist. He has been with Hilltown Tree and Garden for over 20 years but has been involved with the horticulture industry for over 30. Peter’s knowledge of the culture of herbaceous and woody plants is unparalleled. This makes him Jim’s right-hand man on all matters related to design and plant selection. Peters specialty at Hilltown Tree & Garden is designing with native plants and mature tree preservation. Peter enjoys living in the hilltowns where he can pursue his love of nature.

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Darin Bajnoci

Arborist | Horticulturist

Darin has been an arborist and horticulturist with Hilltown Tree and Garden since 2019. He received his B.S. in Environmental Science from UMass Amherst, with a special interest in plant ecology. Darin has been working on and enjoying his perennial gardens in the Hilltowns for the past 20 years.

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Tyler Blais

Horticulturist | Arborist

Tyler is an arborist and horticulturist for Hilltown Tree and Garden. He is also “the mechanic” in charge of fixing problems, and maintaining all of the heavy equipment so it is ready for the hard use we put it through regularly. On top of those duties, he is also the C.M.O. running our marketing and social media responsibilities. He received his undergraduate degree in Marketing & Business Management as well as a Certificate of Management from Greenfield Community College. He has been in the horticultural industry for over 15 years and maintains a native perennial garden at home. His passions include animal husbandry, beekeeping, & botany – starting flowers and edible plants from seed.

Lisa McSweeney

Bookkeeper | Drafter of Landscape Design Blueprints

Lisa has been with Hilltown Tree & Garden for over 25 years. Lisa goes to many sites and does a full topographical site evaluation where she takes measurements and photos and does rough sketches. She then returns to the office and drafting table where she makes the landscape come alive on paper. Her design plans are the epitome of clarity, simplicity, and beauty. Lisa is married to jim McSweeney and part owner of Hilltown Tree & Garden. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Massachusetts and her master’s degree from Lesley University in elementary education.

Headshot of Forrest standing in front of a large bush

Forrest McSweeney


Forrest has worked for Hilltown Tree and garden for the past 6 summers. He is a graduate of The Smith agricultural and vocational high school. He enjoys fishing, hiking, martial arts, and traveling in his free time.

Priya McSweeney

M.C.A. | Student

Priya is a certified arborist entering her 4th year of interning/working with Hilltown Tree and Garden. She is homeschooled, and taking botany classes at Smith College and herbalism classes in the hilltowns. She enjoys being outside, foraging, herbalism, and hanging out with her emus.