My husband and I started Hillside Nursery, in 1979. We were a wholesale nursery of annuals, perennials, and poinsettias a few months after we got married. For 27 years, we sold our plants to retail garden centers and landscapers. We grew from one backyard greenhouse to 8 large greenhouses and more at a nearby farm. Being a grower is a lot different than being a retailer. A grower is always two seasons ahead of what you are seeing in a garden center. In the Spring while we would be busy shipping annuals, we were also getting our garden mums in for the Fall. Plus it was time to order our Fall Pansy. In June, poinsettia would arrive.
Along the way, we met and became friends with other growers in the industry. Two of these wholesale growers were Greenway Farms and Condon’s Nursery.
Greenway Farms in Cooksville, Maryland, was started by Marianne and David Healey when their boys were young. Now David, along with his sons and many loyal employees, keep local retail garden centers happy with their annuals in the Spring. They grow beautiful bedding plants, hanging baskets, herbs, and many kinds of vegetables. They also open up and sell retail directly from their greenhouses in a self-serve sort of way.
During the Christmas season, Greenway Farms also open up with Cut Your Own Christmas Trees and poinsettias. For years when my husband and I had our wholesale nursery and needed extra greenhouse space in the Fall for our pansies, we would rent a few of their greenhouses!
Condon’s Nursery was started back in the ’70s in Woodbine, Maryland, by Doris and Alvin Condon, along with their daughter JoAnn. Sadly JoAnn and her parents passed away. Now her brother and niece have kept the family wholesale and retail garden center going. We loved working with JoAnn when we had our wholesale nursery. Many an evening would find her at our nursery either getting some plants from us to fill landscapers orders or bringing us plants to fill our orders. We were like a small co-opp of business helping each other.
Shopping Local With Friends
Last week when Anita and Becky (formerly of Behnke Nurseries) said they were going to check both places out, I was right there with them. I got my Supersonic tomatoes and zinnias from Greenway Farms (Behnke’s always bought their zinnias along with many of their annuals and herbs). While at Condon’s Nursery, I loaded up on some beautiful annuals for some of my pots. Condon’s grows a lot of the Proven Winners annuals which you can find at many local garden centers.
Friendship and Memories
Best of all, however, besides seeing my friends Becky and Anita, I talked to Dave Healy at Greenway Farms and JoAnn’s family at Condon’s Nursery. Walking through their greenhouses reminded me of my greenhouses we had in our backyard. As I watched JoAnn’s nieces pulling hanging baskets for orders and loading trucks while helping customers, it was almost like going back in time. A time where I was doing the same thing. When my husband and I decided to close our wholesale nursery, I admit that I was glad to be able to go back to work for my family at Behnke’s. Those wholesale days were exhausting.
If you are thinking about taking a nice little road trip (only about an hour from Beltsville), I hope you consider stopping by either of these growers. Or even both! Just remember, Spring is a short season, and typically Greenway starts closing down by the end of May and Condon’s by the middle of June. Best to call first.