COLTON, Ore. — By the time Ken and Kathy Carroll got together 28 years ago, they already shared many years of nursery and greenhouse experience.
They decided to start their own nursery in the countryside near Colton, Ore., on the 4 acres where Kathy grew up. They started K’s Nursery in 1993.
One greenhouse has become 10, and over the years they have built a diverse collection.
“We have everything,” Kathy said. “We grow baskets, annuals and perennials; trees, shrubs, vines, berries, herbs; and vegetables of all kinds. We try to have a large variety of things.”
In previous years, the Carrolls participated in plant sales and farmers markets, but after the closures of the COVID-19 year, they realized that wasn’t necessary to keep their nursery profitable.
Kathy said it helps to be part of the Molalla Country Farm Loop, a community of family farms and businesses that have banded together to provide visitors with a taste of the bounty the Willamette Valley has to offer.
K’s Nursery is open about 7 months a year during spring, summer and fall. They have some wholesale sales but most of their business is at their retail nursery.
On a recent day Kathy was finishing some color-themed baskets for an upcoming wedding. The nursery produces hundreds of flats of annuals and perennials every year.
“Business is very good,” Carroll said. “Of course, you never know what the trends are going to be until they happen but having a wide selection helps.”
In the country as they are, Carroll enjoys meeting visitors and talking plants.
“People are happy when they come to get flowers,” she said. “It’s not that way with every retail business.”
Kathy and Ken are going to continue running the nursery as long as possible; upon retirement their daughter-in-law will take over.
“The business will keep rolling and I’m loving that thought,” Carroll said.
The nursery also sells onion sets and potato seed in bulk. They buy vegetable seeds in bulk and package them for individual sale to save money for their customers.
Contrary to what they had feared, the COVID year was a good one for the nursery.
“It was very prosperous; it was really great for us,” Carroll said. “People were home and they were wanting to fix up their places and it was a blessing.”