Thursday, January 10, 2008

Want to start your own nursery?

Our hoophouse during our plant selling days

When we first bought our country property - which we did mostly because we wanted more space for gardening - we grew a lot of perennials and native plants from seed to populate our large gardens. Then my husband got into rock gardening and started growing a lot of alpines.

Of course, growing our own, we ended up with lots more plants than we needed, so we started having an annual plant sale, which lasted about four or five years.

At the time I was toying with the idea of starting a small boutique nursery of choice perennials and native plants, but a friend of mine, Doug Green, a former nursery guy turned garden writer said flatly: "You're crazy." I listened and I'm glad we didn't go that route.

Anyway, we gave up the plant sales when they got to be too much, and don't miss them because the sale days were always in May when we were also busiest in the garden.

I know I'm not the first country gardener to fall love with plants and dream about starting my own nursery.

If that sounds like you, here's an interesting post on the topic by Trey Pitsenberger, who runs The Golden Gecko Garden Center in Garden Valley, California, and who calls himself the original blogging nurseryman.

And if you're serious, here's the book to get, So You Want to Start a Nursery, by Tony Avent of Plant Delights Nursery. You can buy it through this link from the author himself.

© Yvonne Cunnington, Country Gardener


  1. Hello Yvonne,

    I was wondering if you could fill me in on why not starting your small nursery was a good move for you. I don't think this business is fo everyone and I can certainly respect your decision. I am just curious what aspect, beside the days of operation that clinched your decision.

    Thanks for your time.

  2. Hi Terry: Good to hear from you. As to your question, after getting to know several owners of small nurseries, the clear message was that you work very hard for a small profit. I decided to concentrate on garden writing and my web site (which earns money from advertising) instead, and I probably earn as much with that as I might have with small niche nursery.

    Cheers, Yvonne

  3. Anonymous4:26 PM

    Well that is a beautiful sight this afternoon as I am about to start my pansy seeds as well as various perennials. My poor little baby greenhouse's cover was torn to shreds this year. It did last 4 years so that's not to bad but... what will I do this spring when it's time to harden off?! Good luck with your website.

  4. Anonymous6:10 PM

    Hamilton, ON? You're virtually a neighbor. I have no desire to be a country gardener, but am enjoying my urban environment. Many similar, but many different challenges. I'm betting dg pee on your lavender isn't a top concern. We don't have deer though!

    Have you ever been to our Garden Walk? We'd love to have you. I am the president and last year we hosted a get-together during the Walk for garden writers and media pros. We'd love to add you to the mix!

    Please check out the Walk at www.GardenWalkBuffalo, and if you have the time, please check out my own gardening blog,

  5. Hi Jim: Thanks for you comments. Indeed, we're just outside Hamilton, ON. I will check out your blog and the garden walk site.

    I had to laugh: my dog peed on the lavender this morning, but as it's dormant and will be cut back in the spring, I didn't care. But in the summer, I watch him like a hawk so he doesn't pee on the plants, esp. not my boxwood hedge.

    Cheers, Yvonne


Thanks so much for visiting this site. I have a new country garden blog and I will no longer be publishing comments at this blog. If you have a question or comment about the topic here, please use the contact form at my new blog to get in touch with me.

-Yvonne, aka Country Gardener