go-mr-42-3-homestead-gardens1by Hope Holland
It might seem that Homestead Gardens of Davidsonville and Severna Park in Maryland is just beginning the peak of its busy season if you didn’t know that Homestead Gardens makes sure that all of its seasons are busy. Ever since Don Riddle started growing azaleas on his parent’s farm in Hyattsville, MD in 1971 the idea of Homestead Gardens has been one of continued development, from its 1973 incorporation through the move to Davidsonville and then to the Severna Park location.
Every weekend through October 30 at the Davidsonville location, they host their Fall Festival with a 4.5 acre corn maze, jumping pillow, hay rides, pipe slide and more. During this time they offer a Fall Porch Package for $59.99 at both locations, which consists of your choice of a yellow or bronze mum, two corn shocks, two small or one large hay bale and, of course, two pumpkins. You can pre-order this package and specify your choice of pick-up location, which must simplify getting in and out of such a busy place and saves time for both the client and the retailer. In the house-proud Washington D. C. suburbs this is not only a great idea but also a sure hit with busy householders.
In keeping with the suburban urge to keep their lawns and gardens flawless and looking their best Homestead Gardens offers a Garden Rewards program to its customers. This no-fee membership includes 2% back on purchases, Member Exclusive Promotions, weekly One Day Deals as well as Bonus Rewards to earn extra points during special product promotions or sales and for plant purchases made through their Landscape Division. There are special mailings, and a 10% discount on Homestead Gardens’ adult education seminars and workshops throughout the year. They also offer their members Extended Tree and Shrub Guarantee with a 2-year warranty on trees & shrubs installed by Homestead Gardens.
Under the title Golden Spades, Homestead Gardens offers meetings at both locations for their senior gardeners, age 50 and older. Golden Spades offers senior gardeners hour long gardening seminars or workshops on a variety of gardening topics and sometimes includes a field trip.
Participants come as they like and don’t have to feel obligated to attend every meeting. Each attendee receives a discount coupon for a purchase at Homestead Gardens at every meeting.
Homestead Gardens’ also offers seasonal and holiday fundraising programs to help school, church or non-profit groups with low, wholesale pricing on flowers and plants. These offers can be tailored to the needs of the groups offering not only a low minimum order but also the flexibility to sell a product at the height of the season and the group’s choice of a more focused choice or a larger selection of product.
This fall the fundraiser offered a choice of 8” potted mums or ornamental cabbage or a flat of 18 pansies. The holiday fundraiser can be either white pine roping or a wide choice of sizes in either wreaths or potted poinsettias in several sizes, as well as four different colors or a mixed selection.
Homestead Gardens grows its own poinsettias in their greenhouses at the Davidsonville location. They currently offer pot sizes from 4.5 to 12 inches as well as 10 inch hanging baskets and poinsettia trees that are 40 – 48 inches tall.
If this was all that Homestead Gardens offered it would surely be plenty in this busy suburban area but they also offer decorating services not to mention being the official Christmas decorator for the small city of Annapolis, Maryland’s quaintly old-fashioned capitol city.
The Homestead Gardens landscaping services include landscape design, site enhancement and hardscape as well as maintenance and storm clean-up which is a boon in this area that can be beset by heavy rains and wind driven storms.
Bryan Riddle, now in charge of Homestead Gardens, specifically mentions that his father, Don, originator of not only the company but also the philosophy that drives it, was a strong proponent of a community service based viewpoint in making a business popular with its customers. In keeping with Don Riddle’s larger view of the business Homestead Gardens is now realizing that its original client base is aging and is creating positive ways to serve it, including container gardens, raised bed gardens and, already in the works, fully contained indoor gardens which, in the words of Bryan Riddle, “Look like furniture and not science projects!”
Bryan himself is aware of the sweat equity in gardening having spent his share of time with a shovel and wheelbarrow while growing up in the business. “I went to school right down the road from where we are now, so I was completely involved with this business after school and on vacations.”
And now in the holiday season Riddle is proud of the fact that his company is, “One of the largest Christmas ornaments retailers in the Washington D. C. area. We have 30 different themed Christmas trees and each year we put up over a quarter million Christmas lights. This is important on two fronts: as a retail business, but also as a part of a family’s Christmas and holiday seasonal experience. This is one of the things that a child will remember, walking around and seeing all of the lights, decorations and the excitement of the season with their family. We hope that it will become part of their memory of the holidays, hopefully one that they will want to share with their own children.”