BLAIR COUNTY: Direct Marketing, Nursery, Perennials, Gift-Shop

Piney Creek Greenhouse includes a nursery and greenhouse, gift shop, and beautiful gardens. Over the years, Vernon and Lucille Martin have added dozens of small structures to display their plants and products and to create a welcoming space for customers.

The Martins find ways to use recycled materials for most of these structures. For example, they used an old fence that a neighbor was tearing down to create a short wall between the plant tables and the area where employees work on potting plants and other "behind the scenes" jobs. This way, customers can peruse the plant tables and ask the employees questions while they are working. The Martins hang baskets and other decorations on the fencing to create a charming and rustic look.

They have also taken old cupboards, old doors, and similar scavenged materials to create outdoor backdrops for ferns, hanging baskets, and garden sculptures.

Perhaps the most impressive sight at Piney Creek Greenhouse is the botanical garden surrounding the nursery where Vernon and Lucille display many of the plants they sell. Customers wander along pathways rich with color and scent to see how the annuals, perennials, bulbs, flowering shrubs, and trees available at the greenhouse might look when they are planted at home.

Water tumbling from fountains and benches hidden along secluded passageways hung with Silver Lace vine and in gazebos encourage customers to rest a while. A small vegetable garden tucked away in a sunny spot in the middle, where scarlet runner beans climb a trellis among cucumbers and squash, entices customers to taste the culinary herbs, cherry tomatoes, and raspberries grown from Piney Creek plants. The setting provides an unexpected gift for customers and it's a wonderful marketing tool for Piney Creek.

In the future, the Martins plan to build a large gazebo in the gardens that will allow them to take advantage of the gardens even when the nursery is closed. The gazebo will be rented out for weddings, parties, and other gatherings that would benefit from a beautiful, picture-perfect space.

Pennsylvania Women's Agricultural Network


302 Armsby Building
University Park, PA 16802