Challenges of a Native Plant Nursery
Dear native plant customer,
As a native plant enthusiast, I had found it difficult to find nurseries specializing in native plants when I was ready to do some landscaping. While I had some experience in gardening and Environmental Science degrees, I didn't have Florida plant specific knowledge other that what I gained through my job working for my county's Natural Resources Office and through attending talks, field trips, and conferences as a member of FNPS. I started playing around with growing a few plants on the side from seed, and after time, the idea of starting my own native plant nursery popped into my hand. There seemed to be many other people like me wanting to use native plants but not able to find enough sources for them. So off I went to acquire my Masters of Science degree in Environmental Horticulture through the University of Florida. My wonderful professor, Sandra Wilson, even taught a Florida Native Landscaping course.
|Naturewise Nursery's location in Kari's back yard.|
|Naturewise Nursery's first retail location--|
outgrown in 2011.
When I grow 4” pots people want something bigger but when I don't have 4” pots someone wants them. I don't offer really large trees as they're simply too big to move, too expensive to stock, and too expensive to lose if the irrigation went awry. Most of the time people understand the benefits of choosing a smaller sized tree or shrub (smaller hole to dig, less expensive, faster to establish), but then you get a customer who wants a large shrub and wanting to help them, I spend a lot of time tracking down that large tree.
|Naturewise Nursery's most recent location at a working farm.|
|A flood about a month after Kari moved into the farm location.|
Now that we find ourselves having to move yet again, I ask myself, is it worth it to reopen my nursery one more time? Do I want to continue working 50 hard hours a week to run a part time retail nursery where I make less than half of what I made at my last “real job”? If I do, will you buy plants? Will you bring your friends?
|Kari Ruder (facing camera) selling her precious native plants for $1,$2, & $3!|
Horticulturist / Owner Naturewise
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Thanks for all your hard work!