I'm somewhat boggled to reflect that millions of plants have been distributed by Buchholz Nursery, a relatively small company “from out in Gaston, Oregon.” Yes: literally millions. We were lining-out players in the industry, especially 10-25 years ago when we employed about 40 earnest souls. These days our propagation is only about one-tenth of yore as we are supplying the competition with less and growing more to specimen size ourselves. I'd like to know exactly how many plants we have sold, but I only keep my records back to seven years per IRS requirement; still it's like counting the stars in the heavens.
Back when we were producing 150,000 maple grafts (alone) per year (pre-recession), you could say I helped create the maple glut that rocked Oregon's claim to “Maple Capital of the World.” My numbers were obscene when one Oregon company ordered custom grafts of 60-80 thousand per year, providing us with both rootstock and scions. Everybody was joining the 'Bloodgood' party, and one wonders where all of those hundreds-of-thousands went. Did most of them survive the journey form nursery to retail market to homeowners' gardens? It would be fascinating to know not only how many plants and dollars I generated with my sales, but also the ultimate sales statistic paid out by the gardening public. For example, if I sold a maple for $5 to another nursery, and they grew it on for 5-8 years and commanded $50-100 per tree, and then if the retail nursery or landscaper doubled or tripled that price to the home gardener...you get the point: did my beginning efforts add up to over a billion dollars to the world economy in the long run? Probably so, probably much more so.
|Oregon Gov. Brown|
We ship plants every month of the year, but about 80% leave in the months of March, April and May. Over 90% are sold to out-of-state or out-of-country customers, so I'm the perfect Oregon employer: I pay a ton in Oregon taxes, I give Oregonians a job, I purchase a lot of Oregon goods and services. Nevertheless, no Oregon politician has ever thanked me for my contributions. I think they're pleased that I'm subservient and apparently stupid enough to just keep grinding and financially supporting their arrogant vision about what's important and what are the highest priorities.
|Metasequoia glyptostroboides 'Miss Grace'|
Cornus kousa 'Summer Fun'
|Acer palmatum 'Japanese Princess'|
Though there are times when I feel like my career has been a troubled dream where I am unable to gain control, nevertheless it is rewarding to witness the parade of trucks being filled with our product and heading to far-flung destinations. Hopefully everybody will continue to request our plants and view us as a reliable, professional supplier. I was proud the other day when a long-time customer was being loaded up with 1) maples, 2) conifers and 3) all the others – our three major plant groups – and in the plant mixture was Metasequoia glyptostroboides 'Miss Grace', Acer palmatum 'Japanese Princess' and Cornus kousa 'Summer Fun', all Buchholz introductions.
And look – the sun is out this morning and birds are singing in my spring garden. I actually have it pretty good.