Four Kids, Four Different Backgrounds....Our Story3/7/2013


Four kids, four different backgrounds, one thing in common…. 


As young children in the 60’s and 70’s the four owners of Somerset Nursery had yet to meet each other  or even consider the thought of what would lie ahead for them yet they all had their fingers in the dirt so to speak. 


In those early childhood years it seems that each one had the propensity for plants, each in their own way also was born with an entrepreneurial spirit. Although each of them choose different career paths as adults, it was not what they did as adults that led them to the garden center business, but it was what they did as kids.


John and his brother with their dad’s help would plant small seedling trees and mums and watch them grow until they were big enough to sell.  They also would venture deep into a nearby woods to dig up the lush pachysandra they found there.  The two of them would load up their little red wagons and travel their Berwyn neighborhood in hopes of selling a few plants to their neighbors.  They also would load up their dad’s car and take their to their school’s flea markets.  Selling plants continued to be a part of his youth as he earned his way through college working in the family garden center business.


Jeff’s career started as young teenager but he had a fairly larger wagon.  He purchased an old street cleaner cart previously used in the City of Philadelphia for $50 and with his dads help, refurbished the cart into a roving plant shop.  After school and on weekends, Jeff and a buddy would push the cart from his South Philadelphia home to Rittenhouse Square where they would set up shop selling hanging baskets. With Jeff’s plant business occurring in the late 60’s and early 70’s he capitalized on the times with a slogan “the plants are cheap but the “pot” is free”.  Today, that very same plant cart has once again been refurbished and serves as “Peg’s Hot Dog Cart”.  


A little red wagon was also used by Peggy as a very young child in her early and short lived career in the “green industry”.  Peggy, living in south Jersey once had a neighbor who lived in a very beautiful house on a hill.  This house had gorgeous gardens, which Peggy admired from a far.  One day, Peggy decided to venture up to the house (while no one was home of course) and investigate those gardens.  There she found the most beautiful vegetable garden she had ever seen, overflowing with beautiful – ripe vegetables.   Thinking her other neighbors would love some of these beauties, Peggy filled her wagon with the bounty.   Peggy made her way around the neighborhood, wagon close behind selling the neighbors beautiful veggies. 


Maria didn’t own a wagon, but her love of flowers would get the best of her much like Peggy’s vegetables did.  Not having a beautiful flower garden in her own yard, Maria would sneak over to the neighbor’s house in West Norriton every day in May to cut a bouquet of flowers to place at the Blessed Mother’s feet at school.  It never occurred to Maria that she was doing something wrong since she was sure the Virgin trumped all the rules!  Her love of flowers followed her into her teen years, when she and her mom opened a tiny silk flower shop in a corner of her uncle’s store calling it “Maria’s Flower Nook”.