Welcome to our new blog for www.GreatGardenPlants.com!
My name is Chris Hansen & together with my business partner Mary Walters, we launched Great Garden Plants several years ago as an online source for New & Exciting Garden Plants which are shipped in large jumbo 1 & 2-quart pots.
How it all began!
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!
We spent many months deciding the optimal size for growing your plants and we ultimately chose a larger size than most of our competitors. We did this to ensure the success of each of our gardening friends & customers!
I hope you enjoy our new blog! Mary & I will try to keep it both educational & entertaining!
Your gardening friend,