Meet the Founders of Great Garden Plants
IN THE BEGINNING - WHO WE ARE
Great Garden Plants, Inc. was conceived in the summer of 2006 by Mary Walters and Chris Hansen. We are, essentially, avid gardeners, nursery professionals (both wholesale and retail) as well as professional photographers. We have a love affair with gardening and plants that never ceases. We look for the new, but offer iconic tried and true in new and refreshing ways, tapping into our design instincts and our personal involvement with what we offer. We are discerning in our tastes - after all, plants must have good manners and
look as dignified as possible throughout the gardening season. With an inclination for great performing plants through a wide region of the country, along with strong ties within the gardening industry, Great Garden Plants was formed. Our purpose was not just great plants, but offering gardeners a fresh alternative with plant collections, combinations, and garden designs - that truly work! It is, after all, great plants which make great gardens.
We created www.greatgardenplants.com to provide a convenient and informative shopping experience that encourages consumers to purchase plants that fit their lifestyle, budget, solve their problem, beautify their surroundings and find joy in the art of gardening. Our hope is that you have a superior online shopping experience buying plants for your garden.
We believe the art of gardening challenges us as human beings- physically, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally - leaving us in a better condition than where we were before.
We contribute our success to our amazing staff. All of us are dedicated and committed to make sure you receive the answers you need and that the best quality plants arrive at your doorstep.
HOW WE ARE DIFFERENT
We Sell What We Grow
A good portion of our plants are grown right here in our greenhouses in western Michigan. This area of the country provides ideal conditions for growing plants and allows us to ship some of the highest quality plants at value prices conveniently to your door. We offer hundreds of sun perennials, shade perennials, shrubs, ground covers and more!
Our Plants - Bigger and Better
"I like your plants because you ship a bigger size." (From a customer in Ohio) The biggest problem with many mail order companies is that they ship out garden plants that are too small & often make substitutions when they run out. When we started Great Garden Plants, we wanted to have plants in a pot size that would allow easy and fast establishment in your garden.
As a result, you'll find our pot sizes some of the best in the online nursery business. Our perennials are grown in jumbo 1-Quart containers, and most shrubs grown in jumbo 2-Quart containers. We keep our plants nicely trimmed - which encourages more branching and a strong, healthy root system while providing safe shipping and ease of establishment in your garden.
Piece of Mind
We believe in what we do and sell...working extra hard to bring you the best plants in the business. Because we are such firm believers in what we do - we back our product with our 30 Day No Risk Guarantee.
Our Own Brands
SedumSod® Easy gardening starts right here with a Dig-Free Garden™. Within minutes you can create a Living Carpet™ of Sedums for instant beauty & a quick finished look. Terrific as a groundcover, edging, containers or DIY projects. Available in 10x20" tray. For a smaller version, try SodPod™ Sedum a 10x10" tray currently available in solid colors. Sedums are the ultimate perennial for hot dry areas, poor soil and little watering. What couldn't be easier?
SunSparkler® Sedums - Simply stunning, time tested Sedums that are made to last even in the toughest environments. You'll love all the groundbreaking colors & varieties!
Winter Thriller™ Hellebore - Over 17 years of careful hand breeding of Hellebore resulted in the Winter Thriller Series. This is truly one of the best deer proof plants for the shade gardens. Hand pollinated seed strains come in a wide variety of colors and boast double and single flowering forms. A must have!
You'll find some of the best gardening information at your fingertips
Gardening Info - Free online library
Blog - Amazing Photography & in-depth articles
Our Video Page
Facebook - Facebook.com/greatgardenplants
Flickr - Flickr/com/greatgardenplants
Twitter - Twitter.com/grtgardenplants
Newsletters - Enjoy the benefits of becoming a preferred email subscriber
Customer Relations - Whether you are a new or advanced gardeners, our team of experts are available by phone or email to help you with your questions and make sure you enjoy your shopping experience with us.
ABOUT THE OWNERS
I grew up on a farm (Zeeland, Michigan) where my father ran a wholesale perennial nursery along with his brothers. I have fond memories as a kid riding through the fields with my dad in his 1956 Chevy gleefully observing hundreds of perennial plants lining long rows that never seem to end.
After graduating from college with a political science degree, and working a few different jobs, I found myself coming back to Zeeland to work at my father's wholesale perennial business, Walters Gardens, Inc. I learned a great deal about plants from my father who was not only a mentor but a nurseryman all his life. Upon my insistence, I started working in the packaging room whereupon I got to know what every perennial looked like in a bare root form. I gradually worked my way to an office position-where I discovered words like deadheading had nothing to do with The Grateful Dead. Through curiosity, learning from wonderful colleagues & friends along with relentless study I began my journey into Horticultural Marketing, Photography and Gardening.
I've been a gardener for over 25 years and on my 3rd garden. I grew countless roses and gave up until Chris said to try KnockOut Roses. I couldn't believe how beautiful & easy they were to grow. I have 30 on a bank paired with one of my favorite problem-free groundcovers Nepeta Walker's Low. It's a beautiful garden without a lot of work!
I've planted many plants, killed not as many, moved more than I can remember, gave and threw plants away, grew shade plants in sun, grew sun plants in shade (I guess would call that shade tolerant sun plants & sun tolerant shade plants!) surprised neighbors with various themes (laundry room). I have experience with blue clay and sandy soil (much prefering the later). I'm an adventurious & experimental gardener that finds pleasure in the unintentional eye candy combination (KnockOut Roses & Nepeta) and the sheer act of gardening. I look forward to sharing this gardening journey with you through our great plants, helpful gardening tips, videos, blog and so much more!
My passion for plants began at the early age of 5 and I still remember my very first plant - given to me by my kindergarten teacher - it was a spider-plant pup. I carefully carried this pup home thru the winter snow & it grew into a beautiful specimen. And then tragedy struck when my 3 year old sister ran over it with her tricycle (you can tell this still bugs me to this day)!
Through those early years, I grew all the usual "kid-friendly" plant projects including: avocados from the seed pit, carrot tops floated in water, and pineapple plants from leftover tops from the kitchen (yes - it really works). During my elementary & junior-high school years I had a table in my bedroom with flourescent lights which allowed me to grow a wide variety of plants.
As college approached, I began to seriously consider Horticulture as my major and decided to attend Iowa State University where I studied for a degree in Horticulture & Botany. Those college years were some of the funnest & most memorable of my life and I became thoroughly engrossed with the hort program on campus.
During one summer of college, I was fortunate to be a garden intern at world-famous Missouri Botanical Gardens where I was rotated through every aspect of a botanic garden. My favorite areas were the tropical Climatron and the Japanese Gardens.
The following summer I had the extreme privelige of interning at magnificent Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania. I spent 4 months as an intern in the large 5-acre conservatories where I was fortunate to work with a variety of experts & even got to help with the Giant Victorian Waterlilies!
After graduation from Iowa State, I moved to South Carolina where I spent ten years working as Director of Horticulture for a large mail-order plant company. During this time, I was able to travel the world extensively each year in search of the newest & best garden plants to introduce to American gardeners. It was during this time, back in the mid 1990's that I met Mary Walters and we've been friends ever since.
Ten years at the same job was quite long enough for me, so I decided to move to Portland, Oregon and work at the country's premier source of new perennial breeding, Terra Nova Nurseries! The horticultural intensity of Oregon is the most amazing thing I've ever experienced. I had access to over 2,000 nurseries within a 50 mile radius of my home - and spent a vast majority of time visiting and photographing these gardens & nurseries.
It was about this time, back in 2006, that Mary asked me a simple question, "Is there room in the industry for another mail-order plant company?" And the rest is history!