The Winter Gardens seed was planted in 1983 when Jessie and Gordon Pendergrass relocated a 100×40 foot greenhouse to their rural property in Umpire, Arkansas. For avid gardeners, this was a logical next step in a useful hobby, yet the idea of commercial enterprise was yet unborn. Soon Jessie was busy in the new greenhouse. It’s not hard to imagine how 40,000 square feet of greenhouse space was a lot to fill and maintain—even for avid gardeners! How could Jessie and Gordon use the extra space?
It was a florist friend who first suggested it: “Why don’t you start supplying florist shops with tropical plants?” It was a novel idea, but Jessie taught school and Gordon operated a cabinet shop. And greenhouses take time to maintain!
The idea grew, nonetheless. With the acquisition of a 14-foot box truck and plant suppliers in Florida, Jessie was soon ready to begin operation. Part time help lifted the labor load. The budding business acquired larger trucks, and in the mid ‘90’s Gordon retired from the cabinet shop to lend a hand. It wasn’t long before Winter Gardens became incorporated.
Many years have passed since Jessie and Gordon started Winter Gardens and much has changed, but many things still remain the same. The business was purchased by their daughter Tammie and her husband Jon in July 2019, but Winter Gardens’ delivery trucks continue to make their way to over 120 customers around the area each week. It’s seven delivery routes cover parts of Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, and they strive to meet the needs of florist shops and garden centers each day.