John J. Feliciani, CFO and COO of BHF was raised in Kennett Square, PA and is newly retired (2010) from a long career at Winterthur Museum, Estate and Gardens, DE. He rose from 10-year old cutting garden helper to 19-year old plant propagator to 37-year old Director of Horticulture and Curator of Gardens. He obtained a BSc in Ornamental Horticulture from the University of Delaware (UD) along the way. As the fourth generation of his family men to work at H.F. DuPont’s beloved Winterthur in northern Newcastle County, John comes by his skills as plantsman and garden proponent naturally. Married at the age of 21 to his high school sweetheart, with two children and one grandchild, it was with great sadness that he lost his dear wife Pat to cancer, in 2006.
Helen S. Waite Feliciani, CEO and Chief Bottlewasher, was born and grew up in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, daughter of English immigrants. Now a dual citizen, she continues to work in the Green Industries as she has for the past 20 years. She has a Masters in Soil Science from UD, ran her own garden design business for six years, and taught ‘Practical Gardening’ to seniors. John and Helen met as members of a trade association in 1995, when their tenures overlapped by two years. Ten years later (2006), Pat died and Helen’s marriage broke up, within a week of each other. Mutual friends put them in touch. Helen also has two children.
John and Helen married in 2009, holding the reception at the Farmstead. So...when you put two recently-retired horticulturist/gardeners together on some unused acreage, one with the long-held dream of growing a self-sustaining farm and the other with not much to do, what happens?? You guessed it!