Growing up in Apopka, Florida, the foliage capital of the world, Jerry watched his father work at a plant nursery and worked in a nursery himself.
When Jerry returned from his tour during the Vietnam war, he quickly realized that he didn’t have many opportunities for employment, and with a young family to support, Jerry turned to the thing that he knew best: gardenias.
Since 1976, Jerry has successfully been growing gardenias at his nursery.
Just as Jerry’s dad taught him about growing gardenias, Jerry has passed on the family legacy to the next generation.
“Our dad taught us to get up and go to work,” said Kirkland, “every one of us did what we were supposed to do and learned to do the hard work.”
No stranger to family in business, Jerry has gotten his whole family involved in the nursery. Jerry’s son, Robin works in the business on day-to-day operations. Jerry’s children work in the business and his dad helped him get started.
Jerry hopes to be able to leave the legacy and a successful future for his family.
With more than 15 acres of shade houses, Jerry’s Gardenias is proud to be one of the largest gardenia growers in America.
In the early days of the hemp industry, Jerry was intrigued by the prospect of growing hemp. Shortly after his initial intrigue, Jerry learned that his sister, Sharon Treadwell, and her family were getting involved in growing hemp.
Kirkland hopes to keep the legacy of quality products not only in the gardenia nursery but also in the hemp he grows and the products made from their crops. He also hopes that the crop this year will be successful and plans to expand the hemp to a second greenhouse next season.
“Gardenias typically take 18 to 24 months to mature into a sellable plant. Hemp is much quicker, so it will be exciting to get multiple crops in a year,” he noted, “It’s been great to do something different and a new possibility. We’re excited to find out what the best hemp plants are. We’re committed to seeing where the hemp industry goes.”
“We don’t think hemp is going anywhere except up!”