September 2003

Book Review - "So You Want to Start a Nursery" by Tony Avent.

Reviewed by: Cynthia W. Mueller

'So You Want To Start A Nursery'
The idea of beginning a nursery is one that appeals to many people, even though they may have no prior practical experience to go on. When Tony Avent first confided to his horticulture professor, the late J. C. Raulston, that he wanted to quit his present job to open a nursery, Raulston was horrified and begged his former student to reconsider. Not only is the road to success in the nursery business crowded with pitfalls, but many untutored nursery operators have little business training or actual knowledge of what it might take to succeed in the business. Avent has evolved into one of the most well known and successful nurserymen in the country, and can speak authoritatively on the process.

Now, inquiring beginners can be referred to this very comprehensive book covering all aspects of starting up a nursery - how to assess your skills, formulate a business plan, analyze potential buyers of your plants, soil and water qualifications, purchase of necessary equipment and materials, fertilizing, purchasing plants locally and from overseas, making profit and loss statements, government regulations, insurance, catalog construction, financing, migrant labor, state and regional nursery associations, valuable references such as conversion charts, a large and useful bibliography, employee burden rate charts, ports of plant entry into the U.S. - the liner nursery, wholesale nursery, retail or garden center nursery, mail-order nursery - and many others, even tips on how to sell your business after it has been built.

Avent's point is very well made that a love of plants alone is not always enough to spell success in the nursery business.

2003, Timber Press, ISBN# 0-88192-584-5.

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