ADDRESS: 5470 NE Hwy 20, Corvallis, OR
WEB SITE: www.garlandnursery.com
OWNERS: Brenda, Lee, and Erica Powell
YEARS IN BUSINESS: 76
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 15 year-round, plus 10 seasonal
WHAT THEY SELL: Garland’s is a full service retail nursery with a wide selection of trees, shrubs, and perennials, including native varieties. They also offer design assistance and a gift shop full of home décor items and gifts for the gardener.
WHY YOU SHOULD GO: Acres and acres of beautiful plants, and if they don’t have the plant you need, they can probably get it.
Put on your walking shoes and come explore Garland Nursery! Covering six acres of the Powell family farm halfway between Albany and Corvallis, the nursery will delight your senses. Fragrant flowers scent the air, colorful pottery delights the eye, and fountains burble as the breeze sifts through the trees. Garland’s wide plant selection, creative displays, and helpful staff will give you the inspiration to transform your own garden into an oasis.
How did Garland Nursery get started?
Brenda: In 1937 our great grandparents, Corlie and William Schmidt, wanted to grow filbert rootstock on the farm that had been in the family since 1903, so they applied for a nursery license. They named the nursery after their daughter, Garland, who received a Master’s Degree in Botany from OSU. When her father died in 1944, she came back to the farm with her husband, Lee Powell, and son, Don, and developed a mail order business selling chrysanthemum cuttings. Don received a degree in Landscape Construction from OSU and, after briefly operating a nursery in Washington, he came back to the farm with his wife, Sandy. They expanded the retail side of the nursery. I’ve worked here full time since 1985, Lee since 1992, and Erica since 1995. About five years ago, we assumed full ownership from our parents, Don and Sandy.
Erica: Only 3% of businesses get passed on to the fourth generation as ours has!
What are your specialties and favorites?
Brenda: We have a wide selection of plants, including unusual varieties, natives, and lots of perennials, my favorite.
Erica: We are known for having creative displays that give people inspiration in how to use an item in their own garden.
Brenda: And while we have trendy things like fairy gardens and terrariums, we also have a wide selection of good tools, including specialty tools.
Erica: We all love plants and gardening. I like to work as a team and inspire people.
What challenges have you faced?
Brenda: Working as a family is challenging, but the three of us get along pretty well. Lee is a landscape architect and oversees the plants area. Erica specializes in customer service, the front counter and garden hard goods, and I handle the back office and the advertising.
What is the impact of local business on Corvallis?
Brenda: They keep the downtown vibrant. The Farmer’s Market really contributes to the culture of Corvallis, for instance. Diversity is important, and with too many chain stores, you lose diversity.
Erica: You lose the feeling of shopping with someone you know. We love Corvallis. We grew up here!
Brenda: And local businesses keep more money in the community.
What community organizations do you support?
Brenda: We focus on education, cancer awareness, and animals.
Erica: We donate to most of the schools and OSU, Zonta, the Assistance League, PEO, and the Old Mill Center, Contours Breast Cancer Awareness, and both Safehaven and Heartland Humane Societies.
Brenda: And I am on the board of the Agricultural Research Foundation, Lee is in Rotary, and we are CIBA members and accept CIBA scrip.
How important is sustainability to your business?
Brenda: It’s very important to us. We compost all pruning materials on site and use the compost in the garden area. We collect rainwater for use on the carnivorous plants and in the fountains. We re-use plastic pots, as well as collect them along with nursery plastic and send it all to AgriPlas for recycling. Customers can drop off their plastic pots for recycling, too. We recycle all cardboard and office paper as well as cutting down on paper use by going digital. We sell mostly organic fertilizers and an organic approach to pest control is emphasized in the nursery. Plants left over at the end of the season are donated to Gleaners and Habitat for Humanity, and we buy local ourselves wherever possible. The majority of our plant stock is Oregon grown, and our seeds are non-GMO, non-treated seeds purchased from small, family-owned operations. We buy organic seeds where possible, and the organic vegetable starts we buy are organically maintained. We participated in the Energy Challenge and are in the process of switching to LED lighting.
(Interview and article by Kate Lindburg)
The Local Business of the Week program is designed to help the Corvallis community identify our locally owned independent businesses by featuring one business each week. The program is part of the Buy Local First campaign co-sponsored by the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition and the Community Independent Business Alliance (CIBA).