Welcome to Long Mountain Nursery

Growers of 200 evergreen azalea varieties

 Company Name: Long Mountain Nursery Inc.
 Location: Washington, Va.
 Owners: Richard and Sandra Antony
 Year Established: 1981
 Type of Operation: Wholesale Grower and
 seller of azaleas, hostas and daylilies. "We're
 a very small nursery," Richard says. "We only
 have about 30,000 plants a year. We probably
 grow about 15,000 with a two-year rotation."
 Facility: 8 acres on the eastern slope of
 Long Mountain, located off a state-
 maintained gravel road and reachable by a
 steep driveway that has kept the owners
 stranded for days after every major snow
 storm. At the top of the mountain and the
 western slope rests the Antony's azalea
 arboretum, containing in excess of 500
 azalea varieties. The arboretum sits on a
 couple of acres open to the public.
 Specialty: 300 varieties of 3-gallon
 evergreen and deciduous azaleas, 50
 varieties of hosta, and 50 varieties of
 daylilies grown for garden centers in the
 metropolitan area. In addition to its wholesale business, the nursery operates a thriving
 retail business during peak azalea bloom each spring.
 Aim: Originally suburbanites, the Antonys chose to give up city living and moved to the.
 country. After finding the perfect spot, they settled on the idea of starting a small nursery
 with the goal of growing high-quality finished azalea varieties not generally available
 to the trade.
 Philosophy meets innovation: Long Mountain's "do more with less" philosophy led
 Richard to build a contraption described by an article in The Washington Post as a "cross
 between a piece of mine-working equipment and a carnival ride." The 100-foot-long
 potting line is made from PVC pipe, lawn mower clutches, used washing machine solenoids,
 discarded clothes dryer motors and a wide selection of other hand-selected items from the
 local landfill. "We started as frugal entrepreneurs," Richard laughs. The Rube Goldberg-
 inspired machine has been potting Long Mountain's plants for 15 to 18 years. "It's not as
 efficient as a commercial potting line, but it's a lot more fun to watch," the nursery
 professional reports. "We [pot] about 1,500 a day."
 Location, location, location: Perhaps what helps Long Mountain stand apart from other
 nursery operations is the space around it. "The location we're in is a very beautiful area,"
 Richard says. "People are always astounded when they get to the top of the mountain and
 look below. The natural beauty of the area is what impresses a lot of people who come to
 visit for the first time. The terrain is gorgeous."
 Telling the story: What began as an effort to document a brief account of the Antony's
 journey into the green industry evolved into a four-volume book series. Richard's first
 publication, Mountain of My Dreams: The Early Years, describes the couple's adventures
 in building their growing operation. "It's a story of our back-to-the-land experience,"
 Richard explains.
 Biggest challenge: The Antonys have faced many obstacles along their growing path,
 from Hurricane Fran to fire. Yet Richard states the biggest challenge with certainty: "Trying
 to stick with your dreams in the face of adversity -- that's everyone's challenge," he says.
 "But the nursery is a special challenge in itself."
 Contact Information: 488 Long Mountain Road, Washington, Va 22747;
 phone and fax (540) 675-3707; e-mail sandy@longmountainnursery.com
 Internet www.longmountainnursery.com.
 
 
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