Joseph was born in Lexington, Kentucky, into a family with a Horticulture tradition dating back to the 1700’s in France and Germany. His great-great-great grandfather, Francis Xavier Hillenmeyer, came to America in 1838 after horticultural training at the Baumann Brothers Nursery in France. His arrival set into motion what has now been six generations of Hillenmeyer’s in the horticulture industry based in Lexington.
While Joseph’s passion for horticulture started an early age, it was time spent with renowned horticulturist Don Shadow that solidified his future path. He continued his education, traveling extensively throughout Europe, New Zealand and Turkey, where he spent a year at the Karaca Arboretum outside of Istanbul. It was during this period that Joseph began forming comprehensive ideas about design and the natural connection between garden and home.
After returning to Lexington in 2001, Joseph’s design practice flourished. With his focus on creating residential gardens that withstand the test of time, Joseph has secured his position as one of the South’s top young designers. He shares his unique understanding of horticulture and his passion for design through lectures that have also made him a much sought-after speaker.
Continuing his family's long-time history of commitment to the industry, Joseph has served on the Management Committee for the American Nursery and Landscape Association, as well as on the boards of both the National Landscape Association and the Kentucky Nursery and Landscape Association. He now sits on the board of the Bluegrass Trust for Historic Preservation where his appreciation of history and design merge. In 2013 he received the David E. Laird Award, presented by the Southern Nurserymen's Association to the year’s top
horticulturist under forty in the South.