For Immediate Release
Contact: Jim MacKenzie (610) 742-8788

Kirkwood, Pa. – “We at Octoraro have some exciting changes in 2021,” announced Jim MacKenzie, president  of Octoraro Native Plant Nursery. “Most of this activity will occur at our newest production location affectionately called “Ticklewood.” Simply, this is because it’s the site of the former Ticklewood Nursery.”

“We are expanding our propagation facility here giving us the capacity to produce thousands of new seedlings,” continued MacKenzie. “We can also produce multiple crop rotations in the same growing season.”

Additionally, Octoraro will be consolidating two satellite growing locations in Peach Bottom and Parkesburg, Pa. to Ticklewood.

“This will greatly improve our efficiency by reducing from four locations to two by the end of the year, siad MacKenzie. “We have room for additional expansion in the future as needed.”

Ticklewood Nursery sits on land of one of the original J. Franklin Steyer’s Nursery farms. When Steyer’s split in 1988, Daryl Lewis headed to southern Chester County to continue the growing operations while Russ Jones kept the Concordville location for the landscape division. Located in the “Nursery Capital of the World,” this area has a rich horticultural heritage. It is the home of current and former nurseries (and nursery professionals) including:

•    Ticklewood Nursery – Paul Tickle and Norm Lehr (1994 – 2018, 24 years)
•    Conard Pyle Company/Star Roses (now a division of Ball Hort) – Dick and Steve Hutton
•    London Grove Nursery – Dick and Kevin Kauffman (multi-generational)
•    Water Crest Farms – W.D. Wells, Bill H. Wells, David Wells (multi-generational)
•    Birmingham Gardens – Chuck Feld
•    North Creek Nurseries – Steve Castorani
•    Green Light Plants – Dale Hendricks
•    Natural Landscapes Nursery – Jim Plyler

Many growers started here and moved to start their own operations. There is literally a “family tree” of growers with roots from this farm and the other Steyer’s locations.

“Octoraro’s own Larry Joyce has a picture of his son Pat in front of the pole barn we occupy here, said MacKenzie. “Pat is now the nursery manager at Longwood Gardens. Larry returns to his roots here where he started out of high school on this farm where Steyer’s produced field grown peonies for the cut flower industry.”

“With so many growers (wholesale and retail) departing the industry over the last 10 to 15 years, it’s fun and exciting to be putting new energy and infrastructure into this historically significant nursery operation,” concluded MacKenzie. “While we are using only a smaller portion of the 100 acre Ticklewood Nursery, we sense it’s happy to be utilized in growing plants for the environment once again.”


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