Friday, April 19, 2019

Here Comes The Sun

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 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.


  1. Yes, you do and so do the people who buy your products.

  2. See!,life is really not that bad Talon!. Keep em coming.

  3. Talon, if it were not for you and your great crew serving up quality trees i would not have my tiny slice of joy. I already loose myself for hours at a time in my little nursery, maybe one day ill be fortunate enough to have gardens with views somewhat like yours, but on a smaller scale.

    Cheers! and many thanks,
    Mahdi Robert Mathews