Growing up on family farms in the Willamette Valley, both Bob and Jean knew the value of hard work. After getting married in 1961, they started raising mink, cane berries and filberts. In 1968 they decided to try their hand at the nursery business. They started with a 25’x96’ greenhouse growing florist azalea liners. They continued to grow the business and in the early 70’s they decided to switch to dormant azaleas instead of liners. They also started raising foliage plants and a few annuals. In 1979 they purchased Salem Nursery, a competitor in the dormant azaleas. The energy crisis in the late 70’s caused them to drop the foliage and annuals. At this point they decided to get into outdoor nursery stock. Tom came on board full time and worked in production on the nursery stock. Several years later Rick joined the company working with Bob on the azalea production. Daughters Karen, Sandy, and Jodi were brought on to help in the accounting and human resource areas.
The nursery continued to grow, introducing field grown rhododendrons in the mid 80’s. In 2000, Tom wanted to trial 1 acre of pot-n-pot production for rhododendrons and other shrubs. After receiving some positive feedback from a few customers, the 1 acre turned into 10 acres. By 2007 the nursery had installed 185 acres of this type of production.
Today the nursery consists of 116 acres of covered production area, 56 of which is for azalea production. The balance is for nursery stock production. The nursery stock includes 65 acres of can yard and 220 acres for pot-n-pot production.
In 2009 we also dedicated space for annual production. Woodburn started growing annuals to diversify our greenhouse product line. We continue to dedicate more space as our customers needs increase. It also helps us utilize our greenhouse space more efficiently. This product line includes tray packs, six inch pots, hanging baskets, and patio planters.
Farming is still in the blood of Bob and Jean and they continue to increase the farming side of the business. Today they raise grass seed, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet corn, onions, and peas, blueberries and hazelnuts. Bob has always pushed the thought of being diversified, to smooth the ups and downs of agriculture production.