So You Want to Start a Nursery / Edition 1

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When Avent announced that he was quitting his job to build a specialty nursery, his former horticulture professor begged his student to reconsider, telling him he couldn't possibly make a profit "without doing something illegal." More than ten years and 20 nursery catalogs later, Avent owns a thriving national business with nearly 30 employees. He wrote So You Want to Start a Nursery to debunk myths about the ornamental-plants nursery business and what it takes to succeed, whether you're a backyard hobbyist or a wholesale grower. (And he still has a clean arrest record.)

Assuming that the reader has some basic knowledge about how plants are grown, Avent focuses on the business and planning concerns of the nursery owner. While recounting humorous stories of his baptism by fire as a beginning nurseryman, Avent also provides a primer on the nursery industry as a whole, with discussions of the merits and disadvantages of retail, wholesale, mail-order, and liner operations, to name just a few. Readers of this book will obtain the tools they need to make a business plan of their own. This book is a must-read for horticulture students, industry insiders, and advanced gardeners who dream of turning their passion for plants into a job they love.

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Editorial Reviews

American Gardener
"If I were truly thinking about starting a nursery, this book would be an indespensable starting point, and if I were already operating one, this book would make me closely re-examine my business practices, reduce costs, and increase profits ... it will spare every nursery owner (or dreamer) from the hundreds of headaches they are likely to encounter on the road to success."
—Ronny Lopat, American Gardener, May/June 2004
The New York Times
"When I saw his book "So You Want to Start a Nursery" I half expected to open the cover and find a four-letter word: don't. What I found instead was a comprehensive how-to textbook as well as a sober reality check."
—Ken Druse, New York Times, September 11, 2003
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780881925845
  • Publisher: Timber Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/11/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 340
  • Sales rank: 492,450
  • Product dimensions: 6.31 (w) x 9.31 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

Tony is well known as a lecturer and garden writer and is the recipient of prestigious awards from the American Horticultural Society, the North American Rock Garden Society, and the North Carolina Association of Nurserymen. Tony Avent runs his nursery, Plant Delights, together with his wife, Michelle; they receive help from their cats Diamond, Pearl, Ruby, and Zirconia.
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Table of Contents

Preface: Why Ask Why? 9
Acknowledgments 10
Introduction 11
Ch. 1 The Roswell Factor: Examining Nursery Myths 13
Ch. 2 Getting Started: The Thought Process 15
Ch. 3 The Essential Skills 20
Ch. 4 Formation of the Business 26
Ch. 5 Selecting Your Land 37
Ch. 6 The Wholesale Nursery and the Re-Wholesaler 44
Ch. 7 The Liner Nursery 51
Ch. 8 The Retail Nursery and Garden Center 59
Ch. 9 The Mail-Order Nursery 70
Ch. 10 Preparation for Growing Plants: The Technical Stuff 83
Ch. 11 Growing Plants: The Nuts and Bolts 118
Ch. 12 Pests and Pesticides 163
Ch. 13 Running the Business 182
Ch. 14 The Catalog 201
Ch. 15 New Plants 221
Ch. 16 Purchasing and Leasing 234
Ch. 17 Follow the Money 247
Ch. 18 Administrative Stuff 260
Ch. 19 The Joy of Government 269
Ch. 20 Insurance 274
Ch. 21 Employees: The "E" Word 277
Ch. 22 Real Nursery Owners Don't Do Marketing 292
Ch. 23 Service With a Smile 304
Ch. 24 The End Is Near: Closing, Selling, or Willing Away Your Nursery 307
Epilogue 312
App. I: Helpful Sources of Information 313
App. II Designated Ports of Entry for Plants 316
App. III State and Regional Nursery Associations 318
Conversion Chart 325
Bibliography 328
Index 331
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