Scroll Top

Joe Hollis and the Enchanted World of Mountain Gardens

joe hollis of mountain gardens being interviewed by joe santenello

Tucked away in the heart of North Carolina, Mountain Gardens stands as a testament to one man’s unwavering dedication to the harmonious relationship between humans and nature. This vibrant botanical sanctuary, the brainchild of Joe Hollis, is far more than just a garden. It’s a living classroom, a repository of traditional knowledge, and a beacon of inspiration for generations of nature enthusiasts. Joe’s 50-year journey at Mountain Gardens is about rediscovering humanity’s true relationship with the land.

flower at mountain gardens with joe hollis from asheville video production documentary film guardians of the green“Thank you, Great Spirit, for giving me one more day on this beautiful, beautiful planet.” – Joe Hollis


Walking through Mountain Gardens, one can’t help but feel the pulse of Joe’s philosophy. The lush canopies, aromatic herbs, and soothing waterways all echo the ethos of “paradise gardening.”As Joe explains, it’s the principle of co-existing and flourishing alongside nature. It’s a place where plants aren’t just cultivated but revered. Every shrub, tree, and herb is treated as a cherished member of this boundless green family.

Born into an academic family where his father was a college professor, Joe’s initial trajectory seemed destined towards the intellectual realm. However, life had other plans. The socio-political milieu of the 60s, especially the Vietnam War, influenced him to join the Peace Corps, which led him to Malaysia and later, the tribal landscapes of Borneo’s north coast, Sarawak.

Immersed in a traditional tribal society practicing slash-and-burn agriculture, Joe experienced firsthand a self-reliant community whose approach to life was vastly different from his urban upbringing. Their evident health, happiness, and independence contrasted starkly with what he knew back home. This transformative experience instilled in him a desire not just to study such a way of life, as an anthropologist might, but to live it.

prayer flags at mountain gardens with joe hollis

Upon his return to the USA, Joe’s path led him to Detroit, Michigan where he was part of a craft commune, a reflection of the era’s ‘back-to-land’ movement. Eventually, this journey brought him to North Carolina, close to the renowned Penland School of Crafts. Fatefully, a 2.8-acre plot of land in the Appalachian Valley at the edge of the Black Mountains beckoned.

Mountain Gardens began as raw, untouched land. As Joe set foot on the land, the sight of a ginseng plant, the very first he had ever seen, red berries and all, affirmed his choice. Under Joe’s diligent care, Mountain Gardens transformed into a botanical paradise, home to medicinal herbs, edible flora, and an array of plants that showcase the region’s incredible biodiversity. But Joe’s journey with this sanctuary has never been just about gardening. It’s a mission, a commitment to understanding nature, and a promise to share its wonders with the world.

joe hollis founder of mountain gardens interviewed by joe santenello“I think our sense of beauty is where we really tie into Gaia.” – Joe Hollis


But what fuels Joe’s passion? It’s a blend of ancient Eastern wisdom, insights from indigenous practices, and modern ecological knowledge. At Mountain Gardens, he’s meticulously curated a rich tapestry of medicinal plants from diverse traditions, including Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Native American herbalism. For Joe, the relationship with these plants is deeply personal. Each leaf, each bloom, each root has been planted with intention, nurtured with love, and appreciated as a unique entity with its own story to tell.

The larger world may have remained oblivious to Joe’s botanical utopia, had it not been for a recent interview and compelling documentary that unraveled his story. Parallel to Joe’s physical landscape of healing plants is a metaphysical terrain sculpted by Dr. Azra Bertrand at Biomancy University. Dr. Bertrand’s initiative is not just a place of learning; it’s a voyage into the realm of quantum biology and our spiritual ecosystem. Asheville Video Production recently teamed up with Dr. Bertrand and Biomancy University to share Joe’s message. Watch the trailer to the documentary Guardians of the Green:

guardians of the green with joe hollis international film festival trailer

At Mountain Gardens, one is invited to reconnect with nature, to observe its rhythms and immerse oneself in its myriad wonders. It encourages visitors to slow down, to absorb the beauty around them, and to foster an intimate bond with the environment.

Central to Joe’s philosophy is the recognition of humanity’s deep-seated connection with nature. He champions the belief that nature isn’t an external entity but a core component of our existence. This profound connection is evident in every corner of Mountain Gardens, a space where human effort and natural beauty come together in harmonious coexistence.

weave spider web great spirit at mountain gardens with joe hollis“It’s deep in us, you know. We’re not born empty; we’re born with a program.” – Joe Hollis


However, Joe’s mission doesn’t stop at cultivating a diverse array of plants. He envisions Mountain Gardens as a catalyst for change, a space that inspires individuals to rediscover their intrinsic relationship with the world around them. He believes that understanding and respecting nature are paramount, especially in an era marked by rapid change and technological advancements.

dr azra bertrand of biomancy university interviewing joe hollis in asheville video production documentaryJoe’s paradisiacal vision at Mountain Gardens and Dr. Bertrand’s alchemical quest at Biomancy University may seem divergent, yet they converge on a shared truth. Both endeavors champion the idea of human beings as an integral thread in the intricate web of life.

If Mountain Gardens represents the tangible essence of Earth, then Biomancy University embodies its soul. The teachings of Biomancy resonate with a deep understanding of our interconnectedness with nature. It’s about reawakening the dormant life force within us—connecting our biological rhythms with the cosmic pulse. As one navigates through Biomancy’s curriculum, there’s an encounter with Ecomancy and the Plant Mystery School. These modules seamlessly blend earth magic with body magic, giving students tools to interweave their essence with Gaia’s intelligence.

dr azra bertrand biomancy university joe hollis mountain gardens guardians of the green

The true essence of Mountain Gardens lies in its overarching message. It serves as a beacon, urging us to rekindle our bond with the natural world, to recognize its importance, and to cherish it. In a rapidly evolving world, spaces like Mountain Gardens and visionaries like Joe Hollis remind us of our roots and the timeless truths that nature holds.

butterfly in appalachian valley of western north carolina on zinnia flower“I personally feel like every creature out there is enlightened except humans.” – Joe Hollis


Joe Hollis and Dr. Azra Bertrand serve as luminous beacons in our modern world, guiding us back to our roots—both literal and metaphysical. By immersing ourselves in their teachings and practices, we not only gain knowledge but also reconnect with the lost art of living in harmony with nature.

The invitation is extended. The journey awaits. Dive deep with Mountain Gardens, and reawaken to the enchanting symphony of life.

Watch the full documentary on Joe Hollis. Learn more about Mountain Gardens. Learn more about Biomancy University.

Contact Asheville Video Production about the documentary on Joe Hollis or to ask any other video production questions.

Filming Joe Hollis Behind the scenes at Mountain Gardens in Celo North Carolina

Recent Posts
Clear Filters

With the rise of social media platforms and the increasing consumption of video content, businesses can no longer afford to…

We are thrilled to announce that Guardians of the Green, a documentary film produced by Asheville Video Production, featuring the…

Internet marketing has transcended traditional boundaries, opening up a vast universe of possibilities where engagement, innovation, and relevance reign supreme….

Nestled in the lively city of Asheville North Carolina, Asheville Video Production is your premier choice for expert video services….