Terra Nova Nurseries Receives Industry Achievement Honor

Owners - Group Shot
Terra Nova Nurseries’ owners are (clockwise from left) Ken Brown, Dan Heims, Lynne Bartenstein and Jody Brown.

Based in the Pacific Northwest, Terra Nova Nurseries is a haven of breeding majesty, where plants thrive in the temperate, cool climate. The breeder, located in Canby, Oregon, has enriched the industry with more than 700 new plant varieties, including 30 that have been recognized with national and international awards.

Its marketing efforts have brought gardening with rare plants back into focus among gardeners, and piqued curiosity in a new generation of homeowners with perennial plants like heuchera, heucherella, echinacea, coreopsis and new developments in annuals like coleus and begonia.

“‘Terra Nova’ means ‘new earth,’ and in every aspect of our company, we are constantly changing and evolving for the better,” says Co-owner and President Dan Heims. “We have a passion for our work, and it is truly exciting for all of us every day.”

Plant Lovers Unite

Terra Nova Nurseries was founded in 1992 and is co-owned by President Dan Heims, General Manager Ken Brown, CFO Jody Brown and Contracts Manager Lynne Bartenstein, who recently retired.

In the beginning, Ken Brown and Bartenstein worked together in a laboratory as microbiologists. Ken Brown had a keen interest in plants, thanks to a family full of gardeners, and Bartenstein was being courted by a mutual acquaintance – Dan Heims. Brown says Bartenstein kept bringing cool plants to work with her and when he asked her about them, the co-workers realized their mutual connection with Heims.

As Heims’ and Brown’s interest in plants grew, they worked together to purchase used tissue lab equipment and built a laboratory on Brown’s property to start new plants for tissue culture production. They built a greenhouse on Heims’ property to house stock plants and allow controlled breeding.

Since these humble beginnings, Terra Nova Nurseries has grown over the years to become a world leader in annual and perennial plant breeding. Its three divisions employ more than 100 people.

Terra Nova Nurseries’ business divisions each serve different customers: the liner division provides liners to finished growers for both retail garden centers and box stores; the laboratory division serves young plant producers; and the licensing division works with a network of 60 propagators and young plant producers worldwide, who distribute Terra Nova’s plants outside North America.

“We are proud to have started from our personal visions, with little money and resources, and to have turned Terra Nova Nurseries into an internationally known entity,” says Ken Brown.

Traveling The World For New Genetics

Terra Nova Nurseries’ mission has always been “to breed and introduce exciting new annuals and perennials for the global market.”

That mission holds true today, as the operation has worked on more than 75 perennial genera over the years and holds more than 500 plant patents in its portfolio. With the addition of annuals, Terra Nova has more than 50 different perennial and annual genera in its current catalog and introduces at least 50 new plants every year, mostly from its own breeding.

Terra Nova employs a staff of breeders, including three primary breeders, Janet Egger, Harini Korlipara and Chuck Pavlich. Each year, Heims and Pavlich actively search for and locate native species of plants all over the world.

“We will license other breeders’ plants, if they present outstanding plants,” Heims says. “For our own breeding, (which is more than 90 percent of our catalog), we find it much easier to reach our goals by starting a breeding program from scratch and not from other breeders’ inventions.”

Terra Nova reveals new crops, plants and series on an ongoing basis, with set release dates and full launch and marketing programs for each. Throughout the summer and fall, it launches a schedule of sneak peak varieties. The operation is also finding that some plants are becoming reestablished by popular demand among customers and others in the industry, and Terra Nova Nurseries is reintroducing these favorites as part of its “Back by Popular Demand” program.

“Our job is to satisfy the dreams of the breeders, growers and gardeners around the world,” Heims says. “If a breeder shows a plant that is not ready for market, we will finish it. If a grower is fighting with cultural problems, we will try to eliminate those problems. If gardeners say, ‘If there were only a plant like this…,’ we will try to create it. First and foremost, we work diligently to produce plants that have easy culture and do well in the garden.”

Expert Marketing Plus Gardening Personality Creates A Loyal Following

Terra Nova Nurseries is a fully integrated company that does everything in-house with an extended team, from plant development to stock plant fulfillment. Its onsite marketing department produces a four-color catalog, complete with high-resolution, full-bleed photography that provides a virtual encyclopedia of information for garden writers, growers and retail customers. Its most recent endeavor includes making the newest catalog both print and fully interactive digital, designed in the flip book style and available on the website, TerraNovaNurseries.com.

Growers can access culture sheets for each of Terra Nova’s plants on its website, and the company makes it easy for customers to create their own marketing by providing free high-resolution, professional photos with comprehensive catalog and tag copy available.

The operation also joined forces with Eberly & Collard Public Relations, an Atlanta-based firm that successfully promotes Terra Nova’s varieties to print media via garden writers, and social media on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest pages.

“The reports show we have a following of almost everyone from growers, to garden writers to the general consumer and plant collector,” Brown says. “Our social media channels continually grow in their follower and fan bases, and the overall interaction is active and energetic.”

As a well-known speaker, plantsman and garden personality, Heims spends many weeks on the road each year, educating the public and visiting growers. Heims has a portfolio of more than 20 lectures and seminars that he delivers around the world.

He has hosted a weekly gardening show on radio and appeared on U.S. Hallmark Television (Martha Stewart TV Show), Martha Stewart Omnimedia Radio (Sirius), (HGTV) and British television (BBC). Heims’ work and garden has been featured in USA Today, Forbes, Better Homes and Gardens, Sunset and Organic Gardening.

On the wholesale and licensing side, Terra Nova’s licensing team actively visits all trial sites, licensed propagators and young plant producers, providing training and tech support.

Innovation Is Sustainable, Complacency Is Not

The growing urban population is one trend the owners of Terra Nova Nurseries say is crucial to the industry’s growth. With its experience selling plants in markets around the world, Terra Nova reacted early and has been actively breeding plants for smaller containers to answer this trend.

For innovative companies like Terra Nova Nurseries, thinking progressively is the key not only to fulfilling industry goals, but also to sustainable and profitable business.

“We would like to see more diversity from the breeder to the marketplace,” Heims says. “We want exciting plants delivered to consumers, so they do not get bored with gardening. Developments of more markets can help create and enhance this type of excitement.”




Leave a Reply

More From Business Management...
Heuchera 'Red Lightning' (Terra Nova Nurseries)

October 6, 2015

14 New Perennials For Containers, Pollinators, Beds And Borders

With an abundance of blooms and textures, new fuss-free perennials add interest to the garden year after year. Here are 14 perennials new for 2016 to consider for your growing operation.

Read More
Stephanie Whitehouse-Barlow, Peace Tree Farm

October 6, 2015

Generation Y’s Reluctance To Garden Linked To Fear Of Failure

The Rookie Gardener is easily spotted at a garden center by her nervous and unsure energy that’s as glaring as a scarlet letter, or by his exuberant, self-assured confidence that is only otherwise seen at a college fraternity party. They are our industry’s enigma, our Kryptonite, the treasure chest we cannot open. The Rookie Gardener’s reluctance to garden isn’t from our industry’s lack of targeted marketing or encouragement but from Millennials’ Fear of Failure (FOF). It is obvious that failure is a part of life, but we as a generation have been programmed to not expect or accept failure. Since early childhood, we were encouraged to always win, to do our absolute best at school every day, to beat the competition. “Focused on getting the grades or winning the game, these children have internalized the pressure, (which) paralyzes kids in their ability to take risks,” writes Holly Korbey in an […]

Read More
CropKing Fall Workshop Schedule 2015

October 6, 2015

CropKing’s Grower Workshops Offer Training On Growing In Controlled Environments

The next two workshops take place Oct. 9-10 in Oregon and Nov. 6-7 in South Carolina. Space is limited, so sign up quickly.

Read More
Latest Stories
Stephanie Whitehouse-Barlow, Peace Tree Farm

October 6, 2015

Generation Y’s Reluctance To Garden Linked To Fea…

The Rookie Gardener is easily spotted at a garden center by her nervous and unsure energy that’s as glaring as a scarlet letter, or by his exuberant, self-assured confidence that is only otherwise seen at a college fraternity party. They are our industry’s enigma, our Kryptonite, the treasure chest we cannot open. The Rookie Gardener’s reluctance to garden isn’t from our industry’s lack of targeted marketing or encouragement but from Millennials’ Fear of Failure (FOF). It is obvious that failure is a part of life, but we as a generation have been programmed to not expect or accept failure. Since early childhood, we were encouraged to always win, to do our absolute best at school every day, to beat the competition. “Focused on getting the grades or winning the game, these children have internalized the pressure, (which) paralyzes kids in their ability to take risks,” writes Holly Korbey in an […]

Read More

October 6, 2015

NASA Scientists To Discuss Indoor Agriculture Innovatio…

The University of Arizona’s Controlled Environmental Agriculture Center (CEAC) will host Dr. Jacklyn Green, CEO and founder of Agate Biosciences, and Dr. Roger Kern, president and founder of Agate Biosciences: Science & Systems Engineering, on October 30, as part of its seminar series. Both Green and Kern are former NASA scientists and engineers, and they will discuss their continuing efforts to develop technology and seek innovations to address issues concerning urban indoor agriculture, with a potential for application on Mars. Through the creation of Agate Biosciences LLC, Kern and Green have turned their attention to earth-bound issues of food production, to provide advanced technologies for plant nutrition, biosecurity and the undertaking of scientifically based research in greenhouse design and controls systems, and in plant health under controlled environment agriculture. A recent NASA news release reports that the Mars Rover 2020 mission is planned to deliver an extensive array of instruments designed to explore the habitability […]

Read More

October 5, 2015

Smart Business Sense At Tidal Creek Growers Yields Succ…

Tidal Creek Growers stays competitive by focusing on what really turns a profit. It helps the large operation successfully balance contract growing with growing for retail garden centers.

Read More
EPA WPS Standards

October 5, 2015

EPA, Department Of Labor Announce Updated Agriculture W…

More than 20 years after the original standards were developed, the EPA has developed enhanced worker protections that include annual training, minimum age requirements for pesticide handling, mandatory recordkeeping and more.

Read More

October 4, 2015

ePlantSource Adds 5 New Partner Companies

ePlantSource has announced an additional five companies that have been added to its partner distribution list. Not only do the additional partners offer more supplier options to ePlantSource customers, but the website now also provides a more diverse product list with the addition of bulbs, clematis and many new varieties. New partners added for the 2015 – 2016 season: A.D.R. Bulbs Lennon Farm Greenhouses Micandy Gardens Pacific Growers Roseville Farms “We make it a priority to respond to our customers, and we have had many requests for additional options and a more diverse product line, so we are continually evaluating suppliers that work well with our non-traditional approach to the sale of live goods,” says Gary Falkenstein, President and CEO of ePlantSource. “We feel that it is good for our company, our customers and the industry as a whole to keep looking forward and seeing how we can improve and expand how […]

Read More

October 2, 2015

How To Make Your Website More Google-Friendly

During a presentation at Cultivate’15 this past July, Katie Dubow of the Garden Media Group offered several tips on how you can use search engine optimization (SEO) tactics and Google’s search features and updates to your advantage.

Read More
Margery Daughtrey

September 29, 2015

Margery Daughtrey Advises Women In Horticulture To Crea…

As a plant pathologist working with ornamental plant diseases, Margery Daughtrey enjoys helping others understand how to better manage the diseases that impact their crops and is fully dedicated to healthy, robust, disease-free plants.

Read More

September 28, 2015

Filmmakers Release “Field To Vase, The Documentar…

“The Field to Vase Dinner Tour is a series of meals set on flower farms across the country. Each dinner is curated by a local chef and floral designer, highlighting the region’s produce and flowers. This is the story of Santa Cruz, California.” These opening lines introduce “Field to Vase: Santa Cruz,” a new documentary filmed, written and produced by the Los Angeles-based husband-and-wife team, Hyunsoo Moon and Haejung Kim. This past June, Haejung and Moon traveled to Santa Cruz in pursuit of a visual narrative that had captured their creative imaginations. They were enamored with the storytelling potential of the Field to Vase Dinner Tour and wanted to document their observations on film. The result of their efforts is “Field to Vase: Santa Cruz,” a documentary about the American grown flower movement and the people involved in the floral renaissance that is taking place on farms and in flower […]

Read More
Janeen Wright

September 25, 2015

Benchmarks: People Make The Difference In The Horticult…

The people behind the plants keep our industry moving forward in the right direction.

Read More
Gerbera Revolution Series (Kieft Seed)

September 23, 2015

Join SAF And Other Growers To #PetalItForward And Sprea…

Next month, the Society of American Florists (SAF) will tap into the popularity of random acts of kindness with its latest public relations campaign, "Petal It Forward." Find out how you can join SAF and other growers to take part in this campaign and spread happiness with the power of flowers.

Read More

September 23, 2015

Cultivate’15 Session Reveals How To Attract Young…

A dynamic discussion during Cultivate’15 between growers, horticulture professors and both current students and recent graduates, provided some insight on how grower operations can attract the next generation of growers, and what’s important to make them stay once you hire them. The session, “Attracting the Next Generation of Industry Professionals,” featured a panel including Dr. Peg McMahon of The Ohio State University’s Horticulture and Crop Science Department, Dr. Marvin Miller of Ball Horticultural Co., Dr. Brian Jackson from North Carolina State University’s Department of Horticulture, Lloyd Traven of Peace Tree Farm, Douglas Schuster of Kingwood Center and Courtney Crawford of Millcreek Gardens. The preface for the session is something many industry professionals have lamented for years now — enrollment in college horticulture programs is dropping, and university programs are losing funds or disappearing. Much of this may be attributed to the perception among potential students and their parents that horticulture means […]

Read More
Rebecca Lusk

September 22, 2015

Trailblazer Rebecca Lusk Of Luxflora And Dümmen Orange …

Rebecca Lusk of Luxflora and Dümmen Orange is no stranger to breaking new ground, whether it's in her own company or in forming an organization that gives women in horticulture a united voice.

Read More
Retailers declined a coupon deal for hanging baskets because of timing

September 19, 2015

Retailer To Grower: Why Aren’t Garden Stores Letting Gr…

Have you ever sat around at a family gathering and heard someone recount a story from your childhood, except knowing your own version of the story, it’s something that casts an entirely new light on everything you think you experienced? It seems like that dynamic happens a lot between growers and retailers. Both sides know the same story, but each version is so different, it’s like two unconnected stories. This came to mind when I was talking with a regional grower, Elmer Grosser, who owns Cincinnati-based Diefenbacher Greenhouses. The operation serves about 50 customers — an even mix of local garden stores and landscapers. Grosser first came to my attention last fall, when one of his customers, Chris McKeown of Bloomin’ Garden Centre, told me I needed to call Grosser, because he was a great example of a grower who cares about retail. When Grosser and I connected, he was […]

Read More

September 14, 2015

Smith Gardens Is Developing Growers With A New Initiati…

Finding enough qualified growers has long been a problem in the industry, but it’s one that Smith Gardens is working to solve, at least locally. The operation, which ranks No. 22 on Greenhouse Grower‘s Top 100 Growers list, is the largest in the Pacific Northwest, and spans more than 50 acres of greenhouses and 50 acres of field growing over four locations in Washington, Oregon and California. As a 112-year-old family business that recognizes the need to invest in its future, Smith Gardens has made its Cultivating The Future initiative a corporate priority to attract young people to careers in the horticulture industry. Don Spence, the production manager at Smith Gardens’ Aurora, Ore., location, started working with local schools years ago. The operation expanded its program to local community colleges, and this year Smith Gardens worked with the American Floral Endowment to set up an internship program, and hosted an […]

Read More
Laura Drotleff

September 14, 2015

Develop New Growers In Your Own Backyard [Opinion]

One of the greatest parts of my job is having the opportunity to honor ingenuity in breeding, marketing and innovative growing in this industry at Greenhouse Grower’s Evening Of Excellence, a premier event held during Cultivate in July. The work leading up to the event is just as rewarding, from attending California Spring Trials to see all of the beautiful new varieties released to the marketplace to inspire consumers and solve problems for growers, to selecting the best of the best varieties for Medal Of Excellence In Breeding Awards. I humbly learn about and choose the Marketing and Industry Achievement Awards through industry nominations, and serve as a member of the selection panel for the Grower Of The Year Awards, on which we review nominations from people across the industry about creative, hardworking, dedicated operations and individuals who not only love their work but also live it. The Evening Of […]

Read More
Smartphones may influence kids’ decisions about food

September 12, 2015

To Understand Your Next Consumers, Look Beyond Millenni…

There seems to be a constant stream of content in the media about Millennials and their habits and characteristics, particularly as consumers. But, what if they’re not the ones to be focusing on? A recent article in Food Business News is saying that they’re not. Instead, it suggests shifting the focus to the next generation. The article states that, according to bestselling author Matt Walsh, the most disruptive group of future food consumers was born in 2007. With gardening consumers becoming increasingly interested growing their own food, changes to the food industry will likely impact the horticulture industry, as well. “If you understand how an 8-year-old thinks, you’re a long way toward really understanding a transformative change in consumer behavior,” says Walsh, CEO of innovation research lab Tomorrow, during a July 13 presentation at the Institute of Food Technologists’ annual meeting and food exposition in Chicago. When an 8-year-old makes […]

Read More
Head Grower Of The Year winner Tom Wheeler (middle) from Bell Nursery with Editor Laura Drotleff and Joe Lara of BASF, the sponsor of the Grower of the Year program

September 9, 2015

Greenhouse Grower’s 2015 Evening Of Excell…

The Medal of Excellence and Grower of the Year winners honored at Greenhouse Grower’s Evening of Excellence held at Cultivate’15, are the very definition of excellence and hold the standard high for our industry in growing, breeding and marketing.

Read More
Cannabis marijuana

September 8, 2015

Supplemental Lighting Benefits For Growing Cannabis In …

The cannabis industry has moved out of the basement and into the light, and with this shift in politics and regulation occurring worldwide there is a need for growers to change the way they think about lighting and energy consumption.

Read More