Semi-retirement…

September 3, 2016

Ever since I was about eight years old,  I knew  I wanted to have a nursery. In fact, I  still  have a tiny 2 inch by 4 inch 4 page ‘catalog’ of offerings. After being a clinical psychologist for 18 years, and after JC Raulston’s untimely death, I made the plunge and started my nursery ‘Architectural Trees’. Over the past 18 years, I have enjoyed almost everything about starting, and running what turned out to be a hobby business. I enjoyed the relationships with the other nursery growers, vendors, landscapers, and my customers, many which turned into friends over the years. I enjoyed being able to learn how to graft, propagate, prune and grow woody plants into respectable offerings to both the general public and landscapers. I enjoyed teaching grafting and pruning and a number of other topics in our Education Center – a converted tobacco barn.

I almost always had at least one employee, and several of them became relatively long-term workers. Many days we worked side-by- side, and it was enjoyable to learn about them and their world.

Almost every year, I took a trip to the nurseries in the Portland Oregon area, and saw what was coming into the trade as their nursery trade due to the concentrations of nurseries, and climate had some of the countries best nurseries.

Getting up in the middle of the night in February to knock off snow from the unheated greenhouses was no fun, nor was attempting to pot up bare root trees in the snow one year. Destroying trees infected with ambrosia beetle also was no fun. Only a few customers were unpleasant and unreasonable-  I can think of only three in all those years, so I feel lucky in that department. Intentionally offering no guarantee – and going against the Industry mandate, allowed us a bit of room to teach plant care, and responsibility and placed reality squarely in  the picture.

Now 63, it is time for a change. My health has some  issues that though not immediately life-threatening, requires more attention and my energy level is noticeably lower. Woody plants require 12 month care. My semi-retirement plan is to actually grow annuals, herbs, and other interesting plants that I can grow in a 5-6 month cycle. I will continue the blueberry operation in July, but this will allow me to take more time off and enjoy time away from the  nursery.

I have accumulated many unusual  and garden  worthy plants over these years. My plan is to sell ALL of them this Fall if possible. All plants are discounted at 50% listed price. We will be selling 1 year old Pinus thunbergi cultivar grafts to 20 ft tall Fagus sylvatica ‘Purple fountain’. I will not ‘dump’ plants on the market – I would rather throw them  away, but this 50% off sale will allow gardeners, landscapers, other garden centers and speciality nurseries to access some remarkable plants at a great price.

No sales prior to 9/14 and thereafter we are open Wed- Sat 9  to 4pm. No need to rush, as we have many plants in the back and the offerings will change each week, as we  replace the plants that sell. We ask that you pick up your plants within 10 days (unless the plant is rooted in, and it is best to wait for leaf drop).

Obviously, I have mixed feelings about this change but I can already feel some relief, and I am looking  forward to learning new crops and having more time to spend in the Adirondacks of NY State which I love as well as the NC coast.

John Monroe

 

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