The inception of Garden Treasures began as an idea in the minds of David Parks of Camellia Forest Nursery and Pat McCracken of McCracken’s Nursery in 2013. They felt there was a need for a wholesale source of high quality camellias and shade plants in the Raleigh, NC area and at the same time being as environmentally friendly as possible.
Initially the nursery was designed to be a wholesale source of landscape sized material (and it still is), but our staff are all crazed plant fanatics and we struggled tying to grow the limited numbers of varieties needed for the wholesale trade, so we decided to be open, on a limited seasonal basis, for retail sales as well. This allows us to indulge in our plant obsessions and grow smaller numbers of a huge range of interesting plants.
We grow many extremely rare plants that are likely not available any place else in the World. Some are our own discovers that have never been sold before. Our staff has hugely varied interests, so we have expanded on our original range of plants to include tropicals, subtropicals, Japanese maples, a few select perennials and groundcovers as well as Camellias and shade plants. We strive to offer our customers a great selection of outstanding plants that will add color and excitement to their gardens!
The nursery was planned in great detail before the land was even cleared. It took nearly a year to get land cleared and graded before construction could start. From inception of the idea to actually greenhouse construction took early three years.
To keep the nursery as “green” as possible, large engineering projects had to take place. The primary greenhouse is nearly 30,000 square feet and was designed with an enormous underground drainage system installed. 100% of irrigation water that isn’t used by plants is captured with the system and drains into an underground storage tank. The water is then pumped uphill about 500 feet and flows into a shallow ditch filled with Japanese iris – the iris act as a biological filter to remove nutrients from the water. From the iris filter, water flows into a created and maintained wetlands area that does additional filtering, from here water flows into a series of three small ponds we designed for additional filtering and well as to allow any sediments time to settle out. Water is then returned to the primary irrigation lake. The idea is to return water cleaner than what we took out. After two years of use, the lake water is looking fantastic! We also wanted to minimize any human contact with the few pesticides that are essential. A system was designed that allows the plants to be treated remotely with no employees in the greenhouse. The water that is collected after pesticide treatment is collected and dispersed into a wooded area that does not have runoff back into lake to allow time for it to naturally and safely break down. In total we have approximately 2 acres of covered greenhouses in production.
We use modern technology and proprietary concepts to grow very high quality plants that will enhance our landscapes. We take great care to keep plants true to name and each variety has its own pruning regiment designed to produce the best plant possible. Sanitation is critical when pruning camellias – some varieties have a virus (it is a very desirable virus that causes unusual variegations in the flowers and sometime foliage). The virus is easily transmitted via pruners when pruning plants – we don’t want non viral plants to get the virus, so strict sanitation protocols are in place. Pruners are treated with alcohol when changing from one variety to another. This might not sound so difficult, but our stock block/collection contains over 1600 varieties of camellias and we have to clean pruners between EVERY plant when we prune them!