Our mission is to spread our passion for plants by offering a unique collection of perennials, produced in an environmentally responsible manner, that will contribute to our customers’ growing success. We consider our employees, suppliers and customers to be our trusted partners in the perennial business and hold our relationships with them in the highest regard, servicing all with integrity and kindness.
From Humble Beginnings
Before they even married in 1985, Patty and Jay Steinhauser dreamed about owning a nursery together someday. The idea of working hard in the spring and summer, then taking some time off to relax was appealing (and maybe a tad bit unrealistic!) While Jay worked outside the industry in quality control, Patty worked for a wholesale grower and grew custom herbs and woody liners on the side. As is often the case, the skills they gained in these early positions would benefit them in their future roles at Stonehouse Nursery.
A free standing lean-to greenhouse was the first to be erected for propagation work, and a series of hoop houses followed soon afterwards. After attending her first Perennial Plant Association symposium in 1989, hearing the talks and visiting the nurseries and gardens opened Patty’s world up to perennials. The business Patty and Jay knew they would start someday solidified around a single focus: perennials.
Daring to Be Different
Patty and Jay wanted to grow plants that were out of the ordinary. There were plenty of other growers propagating hostas, daylilies and irises in the 1980s. They wanted to grow harder to find items like Clethra, Cotinus, Kerria, Crocosmia, Delphinium, Brunnera, Eupatorium, Euphorbia, Geranium and Nepeta. When you look through their catalog today, you’ll see this mission continues.
Hard Work Pays Off
By the mid-90s, Stonehouse Nursery was growing and selling perennial plugs and finished perennials full time. Most finished product went to serve the Chicago IGC market, which was just 100 miles away, while plugs were shipped on a broader scale. A decade later, the focus shifted solely to providing perennial plugs nationwide and into Canada. But from the very beginning, it’s always been all about the roots. Starting with premium quality plugs has always put Stonehouse Nursery customers a step ahead of the competition.
Today, gutter connect Cravo houses with climate control and automatic irrigation systems make producing perennial plugs easier. Stonehouse Nursery maintains their own clean stock of many key items which helps them control the quality and trueness of the plugs they ship out. URCs, rooted cuttings and seed also are key components of their propagation program.
Trusted to Deliver Reliable Stock
Plants are trialed extensively by their trusted suppliers and also by Patty and Jay before they are offered in the Stonehouse Nursery catalog. You won’t find all of the newest perennials here, but you will find tried-and-true plants that landscapers have come to trust and retailers are happy to guarantee. Reliable plants like Heuchera ‘Autumn Bride’ have been staples in their catalog since it was first printed in 1999.
Patty and Jay have put a renewed focus on native species and nativars as their customers’ desire for perennials that fit the naturalistic style of the New Perennial Movement builds. This garden style is becoming popularized by highly acclaimed garden designers like Piet Oudolf and Roy Diblik. Their idea that the objective of a natural garden is to grow plants that are perennially reliable and require little intervention is one Patty and Jay can stand firmly behind.
Staying True to Their Roots
If you’ve ever met Patty and Jay, you’ll understand why people enjoy doing business with them. In an industry that can be aggressive and impersonal, Patty and Jay continue to remain fair and grounded while truly enjoying working with their customers. They hold those relationships in the highest regard, as they have from the very beginning, and work hard every single day to deliver the highest quality perennial plugs. They simply are the kind of people you want to do business with. If you find yourself in Southwest Michigan, stop on by. The light is always on at Stonehouse Nursery.