Founded in 1947, the family-owned company began with a single greenhouse and a roadside stand offering bare-root perennials and field-grown shrubs. In later years up to 35 employees were engaged in retail and growing operations on three farms with over 35 acres in production.
During 2017 the owners, Kris and Mark Gilson, approaching age 65, elected to liquidate the nursery and garden center, with the intention of selling to others interested in maintaining this proud horticultural tradition!
We have always believed that a nursery should play a unique and important role in the community. It should be a pleasant and mellow place to visit or work, a place to connect with people and plants, a place to learn, a place to grow. Since 1983 over 750 workers sweated over the fields and greenhouses at Gilsons! Our proudest achievement relates to all the student-workers we have employed over the years! During 2017 we had children of former student workers on staff! In addition, we continue to cherish and respect this fertile land along the shores of Lake Erie and the rich ecosystem that surrounds it. We take seriously our responsible stewardship during the short time (70 years!) and the three generations that it was on loan to us.
During 2018 Kris moved on to part-time work at Ballantines Florist in Mentor. Mark stayed around until May 2019 wrapping up nursery affairs. A final auction of the Main Farm took place in May 2019
The closing and transition is bittersweet. Yet, here is a beginning and ending to all human endeavors. Mark continues his website posts on environmental horticulture, nursery history, politics! and the human zoo.
Over the years, Mark Gilson, President, backed up his commitment to industry and community affairs with a variety of activities:
- Nursery Growers of Lake County Ohio (past president 2008, newsletter editor and historian 2018)
- Ohio Nursery and Landscape Association (board member 2010, invasive plant work-group 2012, grower committee chair-person 2012)
- Ohio Invasive Plant Council (Board member 2009-2012, Treasurer 2011-2012)
- Lake County Farmland Preservation Workgroup (through Soil & Water Conservation District)
- Lake County OSU Extension (advisory committee, executive committee 2011)
- Lake County Development Council (agribusiness committee)
- NGLCO Summer Field Day (chairperson 2007 – 2013)
- Perry Township Planning Workgroup (Lane Road Corridor Study 2009)
- Perry Joint Economic Development District (representative from North Perry Village 2010-2014)
- Ideastream (Cleveland Public Broadcasting) Community Advisory Board (2011 – 2017)
- Lake County Ag Water Users Group (co-founder 2009)
- Latino Advocacy as a Friend-of-Hola and other groups (2007 to present)
Our previous affiliations: