Home Business St. Croix business @Work: Shady Lane Nursery

@Work: Shady Lane Nursery


Nov. 17, 2004 – A colorful feast of plant life greets the eyes of a visitor driving down the narrow lane leading into Shady Lane nursery on St. Croix. The hot pink of the native locally grown bougainvillea and the pretty scent of the frangipani are appealing..
Mark and Niki (they wish to go by first names only) are the owners of Shady Lane located on Centerline Road, just west of Beeston Hill Medical Center.
Mark brings a family of knowledge to the nursery business. He is a fourth-generation nurseryman.
The couple bought the property in 2000. A hurricane had devastated the nursery formerly on the site, and the land had been idle. It took four months for Mark and Niki to clear all the debris and trash just to get to bare ground. It took several more months to get the land to a workable state.
Mark says they now have between 5,000 and 7,000 locally grown plants at the nursery at all times. They do not have one single imported plant on the grounds. Mark and Niki grow all of the plants at the nursery from cuttings planted in plug trays. After the plants reach maturity they are moved to one-gallon pots, then three-gallon pots. Most are sold in the three-gallon pots.
Palms may be purchased in pots as large as 10 to 15 gallons. At this time they have three acres of field-grown palms coming into maturity. They were started in 2000.
Mark says, "It is so important to buy locally grown plants to have the most success. Buying plants grown in Miami or Puerto Rico is not the same as getting locally grown. The angle of the sun on St. Croix is like night and day compared to other places."
Soil makes a difference too in the growth of the plants. The couple mixes soil with 20 percent of it being local. This way the plants have an easier time being acclimated and are stronger and healthier. The local soil is very clay-like.
Their customers include many landscapers and condominium associations. The most popular plants are bougainvillea, ixora, allamanda, asparagus ferns, hibiscus and shade and indoor plants.
They have five acres of land and 100 percent of it is being used.
Niki and Mark also do contract growing. They are presently growing 5,000 sweet lime shrubs for UVI, with whom they have worked closely a number of times.
They have donated plants to the Lions Club for the beautification of St. Croix and to the Queen Louise Home.
They also encourage field trips for all schools, which they do free of charge, where they show children all the workings of a nursery.
Shady Lane has wholesale and retail sales from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and by appointment on Sunday. The nursery may be reached by calling 719-6407.


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