The Home Gardener has a family history, beginning with my dad, Robert Nelson. In the early 1940s, he studied landscape architecture at Fullerton Junior College in California. He had grown up in Silverton and through a friend had discovered this college program. After the war he returned to Silverton to begin his new career, first on a ranch in Silver Creek canyon, later moving into town on a 5 acre plot. Shortly after I was born, the business moved to Salem, and in the '60s it had a new name: Patio Villa. Growing up at Patio Villa left an impression on me. I was often dad's companion as we'd hop into the pickup and head up 99E, stopping at 4-5 nurseries to purchase the loads of shrubs for his designs. I'd wander through our nursery, which was at our home, and pick out my favorite plants. Dad had a gift for designing, and many gardens in Salem still display his creativity.
It was years later, Patio Villa had been sold, and dad had retired from designing; when in 1988 I had an inspiration. By now I had a career and family. But I wanted to start designing. I took some coursework, did some research, and with dad's guidance, The Home Gardener was born in the spring of 1989. It first operated from a charming bungalow on Saginaw St. in South Salem, where I had a small nursery, garden shop and office. Later I moved the business to my family's home in West Salem. And in 2002, we moved to a 1 acre plot in Silverton. We live a stone's throw from that 5 acre plot in town, where I was born. And it is with pleasure that I see someone is restoring the home there, which was in a state of serious disrepair. Here in Silverton, I continue to have a small nursery and practice the art of gardening.