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Nursery approaches 60th year
Floyd Cover stands with greenhouse staffers Dana Ontai and Shelley Corona in a display room at the longtime Ripon nursery. - photo by GLENN KAHL

Brothers Floyd and Jack Cover experienced quite a ride after launching Park Greenhouse Nursery in Ripon almost 60 years ago on West Ripon Road.

The seeds they planted have blossomed into a business serving a nation-wide market as well as providing landscaping and home garden plants for South County gardners.

Their long line of repeat customers speaks well of their success over more than half a century.

Floyd and Jack were first in the landscaping and lawn maintenance field before establishing their nursery. Floyd’s wife Glenna took on the fresh flower side of the operation. Son Gary is now the general manager with grandson Joe next in line with a degree in business management. 

Floyd was the perfect host with his personal tour of the nursery and its more than 20 large greenhouses. He used a golf cart to make his way around the 18-acre nursery operation on West Ripon Road less than a mile west of Jack Tone Road. The green houses are a surprise for the first time customer who can easily think they are limited to the frame structure on the street and a small open area to the rear.

Having been in business since1955 the family started construction on their massive greenhouses some 20 years later. 

“The whole place was in dry flowers and we sold to wholesalers all over the U.S. including Florida. We made enough money that we could build the greenhouses,” he said. “We went totally wholesale and then went back to retail as well some 10 years ago.”

Cover credited his wife Glenna with being a very good florist. He said she would give advice on ceramics and suggesting just what people should buy. He added that a lot of people from Escalon, Oakdale and Manteca would go to their nursery if they wanted to know something about their plants and landscaping.

Park Greenhouse specializes in annuals, perennials, tropical plants and dish gardens, he added. 

“We don’t know what is going to happen with the drought situation. We are growing succulents and cactus that don’t require much water,” he said. “The whole thrust in California is to cut water use.”

Cover added that everything produced in the nursery “is family grown — we grow our own plants.”

There are seven members of the Cover family that help run the business.

“Son Gary runs the operation and is at a trade show today in the Bay Area. At my age all I do today is stomp my feet and nobody listens,” he said chuckling.

Working the front office and home planting area with Floyd were grandson Joseph along with staffers Shelley Corona and Dana Ontai. As many as 35 workers are spread out in the many greenhouses on the property.

Floyd’s brother Jack passed away several years ago.