Studley’s Flower Gardens has been a downtown Rochester, NH staple for more than 80 years, dazzling customers with beautiful fresh flowers and great garden services. Founded in 1928, the business has grown to include a full range of floral design services, an extensive selection of annual and perennial garden plants plus landscaping and irrigation services. Today, Studley’s continues to offer personalized service and customized solutions for every flower and garden lover’s needs and interests. “The difference will delight you!”
This interview with Jeffrey Meulenbroek of Studley’s gives more information about their nursery, their plants, their 8-decade history, and their vision for 21st century gardening!
What makes Studley’s unique?
Studley’s is unique because my parents, the owners from 1971-2008, designed the business to be a truly year round operation. Although we are still primarily a retail florist, we have expanded to include an onsite garden center and also perform landscaping and irrigation services. The original greenhouses from 1928, which once grew cutflower carnations and chrysanthemums for the florist, are now utilized to grow a unique selection of foliage houseplants as well as seasonal crops like bulbs and poinsettias, as well as a full line of herbs, annuals and hanging baskets in the spring. I think it is pretty unique to be growing foliage plants in New Hampshire. There is so much production in Florida and foliage plants are now available at every box store, however, quantity has replaced quality. I like to be able to control growing our wide variety of 3″ foliage plants. They are primarily sold as combination dish gardens through our florist.
How did Studley’s start back in 1928? Has it always been a nursery?
Studley’s began as a florist in 1928. As a true florist, all cut flowers were grown on site. Gradually, as cut flower production moved offshore to South America, the crops grown at Studley’s evolved. The houseplant craze of the 1970s provided the biggest change in what we grew. In the 1980s, the garden center began to take shape behind the florist and has evolved every year. We now carry over 500 varieties of annuals in the spring as well as over 500 varieties of perennials hardy to our area. A wide selection of trees and shrubs rounds out the mix.
What kinds of plants do you specialize in?
We specialize in having a great breadth of plant material, although not much depth. I am always scouring catalogs and other growers for new varieties, however, we are limited by our size and can only grow a few of any one item. Combining such a wide assortment of plants in one operation is a challenge, although it is enjoyable. It is always amazing to see how plants have grown and progressed. We do specialize in small foliage plants suitable to be grown indoors as well as unusual annuals. I can’t possibly post all the plants I have available on DoLeaf. If you are looking for something specific, give us a call.
Personally, what’s your favorite plant to grow and why?
Coleus. Without a doubt. I am in awe of the foliage variations and how easily they can sport into new varieties. Coleus is the plant that got me interested in growing and sticking around at my parents business. It is also perhaps the easiest plant to propagate and grow. Virtually foolproof.
Do you have advice for the gardeners out there who grow Studley’s plants?
The best way to be successful with our plants is to observe them. We will provide you with care information and the internet is a treasure trove of information from university and government websites to garden forums and blogs. However, the best way to be successful with any plant is to be observant and see how it is growing in your environment. Pay attention to the basics, such as light and watering and how your plant responds. You may kill a few plants, but gardening is a learning experience. You will be more successful with your plants if you observe and through experience can figure out their needs.