As a child, Morgan Duckworth says he was always interested in exploring different types of plants and watching things grow. Though he didn’t follow a path of horticulture, as he thought he might, he always maintained that interest. In college, he majored in art and design. When he was hired by Dollywood, the family amusement park owned by Dolly Parton, located in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, he started out doing design work for them. Over the years he has worked as a craftsman and an illustrator but ultimately made his way over to the maintenance department, which included landscaping. In time, Duckworth evolved into being the manager of the landscape team and he now gets to use his design background by laying out plant beds and creating appealing displays. It’s something he’s become passionate about. His interests have now come full circle; he loves being able to work with plants.
My wife has a passion for horticulture as well. We’ve always enjoyed the wildflowers on the trails in The Smokies. I feel really blessed to be able to do this work. It’s something I love doing.
Here at Dollywood we have 290 developed acres to maintain. That includes everything from mowing to taking care of plants and flower beds. Some areas are themed, some are structured and formal, and others are more natural. We always work to give the feeling of the season we’re in.
I’m fortunate to live in a beautiful part of the country. I love getting outside and hiking whenever possible. And I always love to fit in some fishing when I can. When my son was in Boy Scouts one of our favorite things to do together were the overnight hikes in The Smokies.
Learning to serve others and take care of the community was one of the most important lessons I wanted my kids to learn. We were always very involved in Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, as well as various service projects through the church. Both of my older children remain very active in different social causes.
My wife and I are now empty nesters after 27 years. My youngest daughter just recently went off to college.
My best advice to young people is to follow your heart. Do something you enjoy doing. Never get into a profession just to make money or you’ll burn out. You must enjoy what you’re doing to keep it interesting for you.