Spring starts blooming early at Baucom’s Nursery, so shrubs, annuals and other plants can be colorful, fresh and ready for your garden at The Home Depot stores during the annual Spring Black Friday event, marking the beginning of the planting season.
Vast greenhouses at Baucom’s Nursery are brimming with colorful blooms from Gerbera daisies, marigolds, roses and, pictured above, bright red Encore Azaleas. Nursery employees began nurturing and growing the red azaleas more than two years ago to ensure that the most popular color in the collection is healthy and hardy when it reaches your garden.
“Our goal is to bring the best blooming and unique shrubs that require minimal maintenance to market for consumers that will have the best opportunity for success, year after year,” says Eric Baucom, vice president of Baucom’s Nursery.
The Charlotte, N.C.-based, family-run nursery grew alongside The Home Depot for more than two decades. Baucom’s Nursery is among the more than 150 small growers who work closely with The Home Depot to supply stores with locally grown plants.
That means the plants from Baucom Nursery’s farms and greenhouses don’t need to travel far to reach your garden. This grower to garden philosophy and sustainable practice keeps plants fresh and thriving in your garden.
Like many growers for The Home Depot, Baucom’s Nursery tests plants and varieties before they make it to stores. Tests are an integral part of business so plants perform optimally in customers’ home gardens, including the newest crops of blueberries.
“With plants that we bring to stores, they typically go through a multiple year process to ensure viability,” Baucom says. “That includes trials at the breeder, trials at our facility and then varying stages of production before making it to the shelves of The Home Depot.”
fruits of labor
Baucom’s Nursery exclusively grows everything from shrubs and trees to annuals, roses, tropicals, perennial grasses, floral (floral hydrangeas pictured above for Easter and Mother’s Day) and fruit varieties for The Home Depot. Some of the more popular varieties include dwarf butterfly bushes by Proven Winners, Sunshine Ligustrum by Southern Living Plant Collection, First Editions Magic Crape Myrtles, Drift Roses and Endless Summer Hydrangeas.
“Most successful plants now are smaller, and either have an optimal bloom cycle or attractive foliage, if not both, to meet the needs of current yards and patios where consumers want smaller plants for smaller spaces to decorate,” Baucom says.
Nursery employees (a total of 200 at peak season) farm on 190 acres in two locations, with plans to expand on another 30 acres for blooming shrubs. The company services 132 The Home Depot locations in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Indiana.
Baucom says the majority of nursery shipments go from growing beds to The Home Depot stores in 48 hours or less.
“It’s fresh plants for consumers,” Baucom says. “It’s important to have product that’s been grown for that local growing area. It gives customers better odds for success.”
Plants from Baucom’s Nursery are safe for consumers. All plants are neonicotinoid-free. Additionally, many plant pots get recycled, along with 100 percent of all water used on the farms, including in greenhouses.
“We try to be good stewards of sustainability,” Baucom says.
Baucom’s grandfather, Amon Baucom, began growing plants for landscaping and retail businesses in 1947. As the company grew, Baucom’s father Gary joined the family nursery business in 1971. A decade later, the nursery switched its focus to wholesale. It turned out to be the right decision, Baucom says.
The nursery began supplying plants to The Home Depot in the early 1990s as stores started opening in Charlotte, N.C. Today, that partnership is an exclusive one. Though the company is now run by the third generation, brothers Eric, Cory and Cole, Gary Baucom remains at the helm as president. Eric’s wife, Jennifer, serves as director of merchandising and Home Depot support. Nearly half of all Baucom’s Nursery employees have worked for the company five years or more.
“Our father is an invaluable resource for us now just as in the past on direction of key aspects of the business,” Eric Baucom says. “We learned a strong work ethic and core lessons from our father and grandfather on accountability and how to treat people. If consistent with those simple things, they lead you to opportunities for success.”
With success comes challenges, but Baucom’s Nursery is facing those head-on. Being a long-term shrub supplier and crop producer means planning and production must be locked down early. Baucom says the nursery is planning and growing shrubs for seasons up to the year 2022.
“We’re dealing with a lot of crops in the annual category but some crops on the shrub side are three- to four-year crops,” Baucom says. “We need a lot of support on the planning side and the right team to execute a well-laid plan. The Home Depot is an exceptional partner in providing us with appropriate feedback and support to help us in that planning process.”