Green scheme . . . Wilson Nurseries loves to grow

Posted on May 1, 2014
Wilson Nurseries in Frankfort is among the largest operations enrolled in KFB’s Certified Roadside Farm Markets Program, consisting of a huge retail garden center and nursery, a 75,000 square-foot greenhouse growing operation, a Shelby County farm for growing trees and shrubs, a nine-acre wholesale distribution center in Lexington, a landscaping business plus an on-site café.

Jennifer Wilson says “I love growing things and interacting with our customers.”
Jennifer Wilson says “I love growing things and interacting with our customers.”

Owner Jennifer Wilson recalls that when one of her employees suggested she join the KFB promotional program several years ago, “I didn’t think we’d fit into that program; I assumed it was for roadside stands at the farms.”

After learning about the program and its diverse mix of enterprises, Mrs. Wilson signed up, and Wilson Nurseries is now one of the crown jewels among the 106 program participants.

“We’re big, but I feel we are a good fit for the program,” Mrs. Wilson said. “We’re all about growing things. We want to be the place for plants. We have a lot going on, but it all fits together and makes a whole.”

The business was founded in 1979 by Jennifer’s late husband, Charles Wilson. It started as a landscape contracting firm and retail garden center and quickly became established as a popular local source for quality plants and landscaping. In 1988 Wilson started growing trees and shrubs on a Shelby County farm.

There are three varieties of strawberry plants.
There are three varieties of strawberry plants.

The current retail nursery and garden center opened in 2001. It sits on a 24-acre site on the busy East-West Connector  with many of the 50 greenhouses that are used to produce hundreds of varieties of plants. “We grow 99 percent of our perennials, annuals, flowers, shrubs, trees, grasses and vegetables,” said Mrs. Wilson.

Wilson’s pretty much has something for everyone. Beyond the enormous variety of plants is a large garden center packed with items for gardening and outdoor living. The prices and variety of items are on par with the “big box” stores.

The garden center has everything for outdoor living.
The garden center has everything for outdoor living.

Its landscaping operation offers the services of several professional landscape designers. The wholesale distribution company in Lexington has a sizeable clientele that includes horse farms, golf courses and construction companies.

Spring launches a busy period that won’t slow down until July. Business picks back up with the beginning of the fall season, when mums, pumpkins and other traditional autumn staples are in great demand.  And, of course, Wilson’s sells Christmas trees.

Mrs. Wilson cites a loyal customer base in Franklin County and surrounding areas. On weekends during the peak spring and fall sales seasons, she will draw customers from Lexington and Louisville, plus see license plates from other states.

“I love growing things and really enjoy interacting with our customers,” she said. “Many tell me they look forward to coming here. They say ‘this is my getaway place.’ They enjoy the garden atmosphere, the color and the variety of plants.”

She has about 120 employees. Many of them have a green thumb.

“We have a great team behind this,” Mrs. Wilson said. “I have managers who have been with us for 34 years. We have a very talented team of designers and growers who are very passionate about what they do.”

Wilson’s is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year with several special events. For more information go to www.wilsonnurseriesky.com.

Tagged Post Topics Include: Certified Roadside Market Program, Charles Wilson, Frankfort, Franklin County, Greenhouse, Landscaping, Lexington, Louisville, Nursery, Wilson Nurseries