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So You Want to Start a Nursery

By Tony Avent

When Avent announced that he was quitting his job to build a specialty nursery, his former horticulture professor begged his student to reconsider, telling him he couldn't possibly make a profit "without doing something illegal." More than ten years and 20 nursery catalogs later, Avent owns a thriving national business with nearly 30 employees. He wrote So You Want to Start a Nursery to debunk myths about the ornamental-plants nursery business and what it takes to succeed, whether you're a backyard hobbyist or a wholesale grower. (And he still has a clean arrest record.)

Assuming that the reader has some basic knowledge about how plants are grown, Avent focuses on the business and planning concerns of the nursery owner. While recounting humorous stories of his baptism by fire as a beginning nurseryman, Avent also provides a primer on the nursery industry as a whole, with discussions of the merits and disadvantages of retail, wholesale, mail-order, and liner operations, to name just a few. Readers of this book will obtain the tools they need to make a business plan of their own. This book is a must-read for horticulture students, industry insiders, and advanced gardeners who dream of turning their passion for plants into a job they love.

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Review quotes
“When I saw his book So You Want to Start a Nursery I half expected to open the cover and find a four-letter word: don’t. What I found instead was a comprehensive how-to textbook as well as a sober reality check.” —The New York Times

“A thoughtful, realistic overview.” —Booklist

“If I were truly thinking about starting a nursery, this book would be an indispensable starting point, and if I were already operating one, this book would make me closely re-examine my business practices, reduce costs, and increase profits. . . . it will spare every nursery owner (or dreamer) from the hundreds of headaches they are likely to encounter on the road to success.” —American Gardener

“This book is an invaluable guide for anyone even remotely considering starting their own nursery.” —Rock Garden Quarterly

“This is an essential book for all those considering horticulture as a profession.” —Gardening Newsletter

“You’ll find answers (or pointers to answers) here for questions that you might otherwise never even think about asking–until it’s too late! Most importantly, the advice here is from someone who has ‘been there, done that.’” —HortIdeas

“Encourages those who are considering following their dream to write themselves a reality check while they can still cash it.” —Hosta Journal

“Now, inquiring beginners can be referred to this very comprehensive book covering all aspects of starting up a nursery.” —Horticulture Update

“If you’ve ever thought about turning your gardening hobby into a nursery business, learn from Tony Avent’s experience.” —Akron Beacon Journal
Product Details
Number of pages
Publication date
July 11, 2003