2012 marks the 10th year for my nursery business. What began as a part time addition to my work with Washington State University and our pear and apple orchard quickly become much larger. I can, in part, credit soccer for that. I had begun collecting seeds in the spring of 2002 and lined up my first greenhouse to install when I stepped in a hole playing soccer (with a group of 11 year olds), snapping my lower fibula (it was loud!) That laid me up for a while, just in time to watch the 2002 World Cup (a silver lining!) It also helped me decide not to be so tentative about the nursery, so I quit my WSU job that fall and ramped up the nursery. Looking back, I think my growing success was partly due to lucky timing. Interest in the use of native plants in the landscape was growing as homeowners increasingly looked to reduce the use of water and other inputs, as well as create plantings that attracted and benefited native pollinators and birds. In addition, environmental restoration efforts have been increasing in many areas, particularly with regard to riparian habitats and salmon. I’ve also been very fortunate to have the help of a remarkable group of full and part-time employees; Juan, Jeff and Cheryl, I truly could not have done it without you!
Further expansion is planned for this fall. In October, after pear harvest, we’ll take out more orchard to increase the nursery area and put up our third greenhouse. I have enjoyed the learning and challenges involved with a native plant nursery for the past decade. I hope to be growing natives for at least another 20 years (well into my fifties! ;))