(Green Industry Businesses Only)
9865 Wales Road
Erie, PA 16510
814.897.1900
(Open To The General Public)
10000 Wales Road
Erie, PA 16510
814.739.2820
 

About Johnston's Evergreen Nursery

Aerial view of the nursery circa 1998

"Rooted in Family" Since 1953

Overview

     Johnston's Evergreen Nursery is a family-owned and operated wholesale nursery and garden center located in Erie, Pennsylvania that specializes in growing high-quality nursery stock in both container-grown and field-grown balled and burlapped (B&B) sizes. Johnston's currently farms about 400 acres of field production, 5 acres of 4,800 Pot-in-Pot containers, 175 polyhouses offering 250,000 square feet of enclosed container production, and a 2.5 acre garden center for public sales. We aim to grow healthy, hardy plants that meet the landscaping needs of homeowners, businesses and landscapers regionally and beyond.

You can view descriptions and photos of the plants we grow on our Plant Pages, or check our current availability to see what's for sale right now.

Johnston's offers delivery service locally (within 100 mile radius encompassing Northwest PA, Western NY, and Eastern OH) and we can arrange shipping to just about anywhere else!

Pot-In-Pot GARDEN CENTER OFFICE Garden Center Polyhouse
5 Acres of Pot-In-Pot Garden Center Staff Polyhouse at the Garden Center

 

History

     Johnston's was founded in 1953 by Richard M. and Jean Johnston. Richard learned the nursery trade from his father, Frank M. Johnston, who managed a Pennsylvania state nursery near Penfield and eventually opened his own evergreen nursery with the help of his two sons Richard and Blaine. That tree nursery that is still in operation in Penfield today, and is still run by members of the Johnston family. Richard married Jean and started a family in the 1940s, moving his young family to Erie to take a job at General Electric. However, Richard had nursery work in his blood, and he dreamed of starting his own nursery in Erie just as his father had done.

     That dream became a reality in 1953, when Richard and Jean bought a 30-acre farm on Wales Road in Greene Township, Erie County that would become Johnston's Evergreen Nursery, Inc. Richard, who was working second shift at GE at the time, cleared the ground with horses during the day and began sowing evergreen seedlings. Like his father Frank, Richard began with just evergreen saplings but eventually expanded his catalog to include evergreen shrubs with the help of his two young sons, John and Gary. As time passed, the three Johnston men continued working the nursery together while maintaining full-time jobs elsewhere, gradually gaining farming experience and building a strong local reputation for quality and service.

Richard Johnston 2005
Founder Richard M. Johnston in 2005

     The nursery gained its first full-time employee when young Gary returned home from serving in Vietnam. Soon after, Richard along with John and Gary began landscaping and selling plants at their garden center as a means to expand the size of the nursery. They started growing deciduous trees and shrubs and began containterized production. During the 1970s, Richard retired from GE and John left his full-time manufacturing executive job. For the first time, all three Johnston men were able to work full days on the farm, growing their nursery business. The nursery was incorporated in 1989.

     The family tradition continues today, with John M. Johnston, Sr. and Gary L. Johnston, Sr. co-owning Johnston's Evergreen Nursery, Inc., which employs about 50 people including 15 Johnston family members representing three generations of Johnstons'. Much has changed since 1953 at the Johnston farm on Wales Road. What has remained consistent through the years, however, is our love for plants and for each other.  At Johnston's, the same solid work ethic that we were raised with continues to drive us to innovate better growing techniques with honesty and integrity. Into the future, we hope to continue to better ourselves, our business, and our plants. We are thankful for the loyal customers who have supported us through the years, and we invite new customers to come visit our nursery and see the Johnston's difference!

Our Mission

Providing high quality nursery stock,
Providing satisfying service to our customers and future customers,
Protecting and conserving nature,
Striving for a challenge,
Working hard and smart,
Not letting the fear of failure retard experimentation or new ideas,
Operating with honesty and integrity,
Positively promoting and enhancing the industry,
Thanking God for rain, sun, air, and soil,
Educating others, and
Always remembering:
The nursery is our way of life, but our family and friends are what make our lives worth living.

Nursery Goals and Achievements

     At Johnston's, we are continually striving to grow a higher quality plant through chemical root pruning, proper weed control, and balanced fertility. We had this same desire in the past when trying to think of a way to provide hand dug plants with a packaging to secure the roots, decreasing transplant shock. By originating the flat-welded, self-forming, wire basket for hand dug plants, we were able to assure increased livability. Now, this wire basket is used in many forms nationwide. It feels great when you can better the plants you are growing, but it is even better when your ideas are used by many to increase the quality of the nursery industry as a whole! New in 2019, we created JEN Ed, Johnston's Evergreen Nursery Educational Training, to share our love and knowledge of plants with our customers and community.
    
     Our nursery has grown very quickly. What we grow, how we grow it, and who is doing the growing has made big strides in just the last five years. Through all these changes, the thing we consider as our biggest accomplishment is not that our nursery is successful, but that all the family members who are involved in this nursery are able to be happy, get along, and work together. That is one of our greatest achievements that we are most proud of and thankful for.
Hard work, creativity, risk taking, determination, morals, faith, and even luck built-- and continues to build-- this nursery. These are the standards that have been with this nursery from its earliest beginning. Our roots are deep! Our goal at Johnston's is to carry on our commitment to the ideals with which we grew up, and to pass it along to future generations. <3
   
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