Back in the mid 1990’s we had an aquatic Nursery in Orlando Florida (Haley’s Lilies, named after our Daughter). This all stated as a Hobby, but with the beautiful Florida Climate we grew so many fish and plants, we started a nursery. We sold a lot of tropical water lilies, tropical bog plants, carnivorous plants, and Lotus to Northern pond and water garden stores. Back in the mid to Late 1990’s the pond boom was taking off and we had growing ponds everywhere (between the Orange Trees).
In about the year 2000, our second child was born, and I had to take a “real” job. We closed down Haley’s Lilies, and moved to Charlotte NC. I built and maintained 2 ponds at our house in NC but did not dip my toes into another Nursery or selling Koi.
In 2006, I decide to get off the road (I was a traveling consultant in the IT business) and move to Abingdon VA. I still have a real job and we run a Bed and Breakfast (www.rivergardenbedandbreakfast.com) in Abingdon. This location brought us 50 Acres of Mountain land, springs, creeks and a River. First order of business was to build another pond, then another, and another. I would tell all our guest, that I would rather have a pond or water garden then to Mow, Weed, Water, Fertilize, etc… our lawns.
We started receiving more and more guest to the Bed and Breakfast, and more and more guest wanted to buy plants, and or fish from the ponds and water gardens. So 7 years later, we have a bunch of growing ponds, display ponds, Mud ponds and all the trimmings.
We had a learning curve with the plants; in our new climate, I do miss Florida. I really do enjoy Tropical and night blooming lilies the best. However until we get a full greenhouse up and running we can only grow Hardy plants. We still import tropical plants, from some of our old nursery friend down in Florida. We did discover that the Lotus grow much better in this climate. We have been doing a lot with some of the smaller tea cup Lotus. We keep all our plants labeled and categorized to keep them true. We do not sell “yellow” lilies or “white” lotus; we sell “Chromatella” lilies or “Chawan Basu” lotus. Most customers do not really care what the name of the plants is, but we enjoy keeping the plants to the true their named varieties.
Let me also mention Goldfish. A few years ago we went on a voyage to find some top quality Koi wholesalers. On that journey we stumbled across Blackwater Creek Koi Farms. We paid them a visit, looking to sample some of the Koi, and we got blown away with the Goldfish. Now we have been dealing with goldfish since the 1990’s and could not believe the quality, colors and size they produced. I have always been a big proponent of goldfish in the pond. I believe a lot of beginners and people with smaller ponds, little maintenance time, or under filtered ponds should really take a good look at high quality Goldfish. Blackwater Creek has some varieties of “Black Opal”, “Sanke Gold”, Calico Wakin, and many others that they have developed. We also import Chinese and Japanese Goldfish, but tend to stay in the Goldfish that can stay in a pond year round. We had no intention on even looking or thinking about Goldfish, but now we are very much vested in Goldfish all thanks to the stunning Goldfish we saw at Blackwater Creek. We stay focused on carrying small quantity of high quality fish as opposed to lower quality big volume fish.
Let us not forget about Koi. We have a few wholesalers that are from the US for Long fin Koi. We have found the US bread Long fin to be a better quality Koi then the Japanese Long fin Koi. Starting this year, we start working with our Japanese import Koi, through Ornafish. They are one of the top wholesalers in the World. They work directly with the breeders in Japan as well as have offices in Japan. Again we stock fewer high end Koi, then a lot of lower quality Koi.
Our hope is to turn the Nursery into a destination location with the Bed and Breakfast, over the next 5 years. Please let us know if you have any questions or we can help you with anything.
River Garden Nursery
You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbL6x4YtlX0pyInW68nywjA