Perennials department head Jane Sterling
Photo courtesy of Sylvan Nursery

Westport, Massachusetts-based grower Sylvan Nursery prides itself on being a reliable source of quality plants for its customers, most of whom are landscape businesses in the area. According to perennial department manager Hope Sterling, the focus on consistency is what makes the business successful year after year.

“We know what we want, we order it, we get it, we plant it and we sell it,” she says. “Our biggest problem is often that we don’t have enough plants.”

Consistency is also what Sylvan Nursery looks for in what it will grow and sell to its customers. According to Sterling, who has worked at the nursery for 32 years, it values reliable year-to-year quality and a predictable offering above all else. She says this is what makes Emerald Coast Growers, which supplies 15-20 percent of Sylvan Nursery’s young plants, a trustworthy partner.

“They have a great line of perennials and grasses,” Sterling says. “They are excellent to work with, their customer service is great, their communication is great, they ship on time. I really enjoy working with them.”

A self-described plant geek, Sterling began at Sylvan Nursery to learn more about plants and rose up through the ranks along the way. She admits that the science of growing is not her background and she relies on others to help her when she faces a problem she doesn’t know how to combat. Sterling also knows that when ordering from Emerald Coast, she’ll be receiving healthy plant material that won’t cause her or her team extra headaches down the line.

“When I get plants from Emerald Coast that are clean, and I don’t have to worry about pest issues or diseases or anything like that, that’s important,” Sterling says. “It means a lot to me.”

Sterling also says that Emerald Coast is an easy company to work with. During the shipping process, she says that Emerald Coast is transparent about the status of any orders and will be upfront about any issues or shortage. She also raves about Emerald Coast’s ability to produce consistently sized young plants year after year.

According to Sterling, this matters because Sylvan’s landscaper customers aren’t the type that like to experiment with plant size or new varieties. When they come to Sylvan to place an order, they already know exactly what they are looking for and it often closely resembles a previous order.

“[Our customers] already have their lists and they are just trying to fill their lists and plant their landscapes,” Sterling says. “The plant sizes are the same from year-to-year [from Emerald Coast], so I definitely know what to expect when the plants come in and they have a fairly steady product line. That’s huge.”