Gardenside Nursery pots its last plant

Photo by Scooter MacMillan
Gardenside Nursery’s last day was Sunday, July 28, after 90 years of business.

Staff Writer

On Sunday, July 28, after more than 90 years the Gardenside Nursery on Webster Road in Shelburne closed without a whimper, without a bang, but with one heck of a sale.

Plants were going for 75 percent off on the final days of the venerable gardening institution that’s been selling plants, seeds and gardening supplies since 1926.

Jeff Haddock, who acquired the gardening center from his father in 1997, has been involved with Gardenside Nursery since his dad bought it from the original owner Fred Abbey in 1963.

Haddock’s wife Sandy Haddock has been involved even longer. Before Haddock’s father bought the nursery, she’d worked for Abbey weeding and doing the books.

She lived down the street on Webster Road in the house where she was born. “I was the girl next door when Jeff moved in,” Sandy said.

Jeff said his family came up from Connecticut to vacation with friends who’d moved to Weybridge. His father decided he’d like to buy a nursery and move to Vermont when he found Gardenside.

He said that his father paid about $50,000 for the business, but the first year didn’t pay anything.

“Not a dime crossed from one pocket to another for over a year,” said Jeff when Abbey said that they should probably work out a payment plan. “Can you imagine that happening today?”

Sandy retired from Bristol Elementary School in 2015 after 37 years of teaching.

“She didn’t retire to work for me,” said Jeff, “but that’s what she’s been doing.”

He said that was one of the main reasons he thought it was time for him to retire. A potential buyer for the property hopes to develop it into 15 house lots.

“My best days here are in late May when I go into the greenhouse and I look around and think, ‘My God, we’ve done it again,’ ” said Jeff.

“The gratifying thing is that we know we did this,” he said. “We didn’t get these plants from someplace else. We grow all our own plants.”

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