Chapter 1-The Hart's Greenhouse Story
Chapter 2 The Hart's Greenhouse Story
Chapter 3 The Hart's Greenhouse Story
History of Hart's
Hart's Greenhouse and Florist LLC began in 1980 in Canterbury with a purchase of a tractor for growing vegetables to sell at a local farmer's market. Back then it was difficult to depend on other growers for all our plant needs so a small cold frame heated with horse manure was constructed to grow our own vegetable transplants for field production. The first year, there were more vegetable transplants grown than needed and the extras were sold to the local hardware store. The second year was the first of many expansions; a 20' by 30' greenhouse was built to produce even more transplants for field production than the year before, as well as more for the hardware store. After two more years, the retail side of the business was started out of our greenhouse, which was located on a rural country road. Soon there was a demand to be on a busier road, so a small house surrounded by three acres was purchased on Route 14. Just days after closing on the property, the construction of the first greenhouse began. It was a 26' by 48' hoop house where both growing and retail sale would take place. This was the beginning of the Canterbury store our customers know today.
Rte 6 Brooklyn store
In the spring of 1986, Hart's Farm and Greenhouse opened for business. After a very successful first year, a salesroom was added along with more greenhouse space. In 1988, the business became a full-time job; at this time about 6,000 square feet of greenhouse space were added. With the continued growth of the greenhouse and vegetable production, another expansion began to include a full service florist shop. In 1992, a 10,000 square foot retail greenhouse was built and the parking lot was enlarged and paved. In 1995, our name was changed to Hart's Greenhouse and Florist and the vegetable production was phased out. The following year, we added a gift shop to complement the florist shop.
In 1998, a second location was opened in Brooklyn along Route 6. The original structures on the property were in substantial disrepair, which required a great deal of demolition and remodeling to create an attractive and shoppable retail space. Renovations on the gift shop were the first order of business, followed by the construction of the foliage greenhouse, retail greenhouse, and open air structure. With the lovely pond as a backdrop, the outdoor space was expanded to include trees and shrubs along with a potting shed and gardening supplies, soils, & mulch. In Fall and winter of 2013 and spring of 2014, the greenhouse was reoriented to have the gable ends face Rte.6 and a new greenhouse look was established. We expanded the size of the greenhouse and installed new benching, lighting and venting. The hanging basket poles that grace the front of our store are a show stopper, many people pull in to gaze at their beauty and to take photos with our famous Bubblegum hanging baskets.
Growing Facility at Bennett Pond Rd Canterbury
Also in 1998, we began our Growing Facility on Bennett Pond Road in Canterbury. More space was needed to supply our two stores, and we were interested in wholesaling some of our plant material. We started with outdoor field production of hardy mums at this location, and quickly grew our production to include three 30' x 150' quonset hoop houses. We grew annuals and poinsettias in these greenhouses. In 1999, we constructed three more quonsets, a storage barn, and an office area. The Growing Facility was really taking shape. In 2001, we took on our most ambitious building project yet: the Westbrook greenhouse. The Westbrook is a half-acre gutter-connected greenhouse with heated flood floors, Echo watering systems, water / misting booms for propagation of cuttings, energy curtains, and a potting barn for our automated transplanting equipment. This project took about six months to complete, and our first crop to be produced from that greenhouse was in the spring of 2002. This was the best decision we ever made. The new facility allowed us to propagate unrooted cuttings and grow superior crops with a computer controlled environment. In 2010, we doubled the size of the gutter connected greenhouse and it now encompasses one acre under cover. We currently grow over one million plants that originate out of this facility. We have automated pot filling equipment as well as two transplanting machines, a plug seeder, watering tunnel, and transplanting line.
In 2005 we built our Norwich store. Norwich is our largest location with a state-of-the-art glass greenhouse, and a large gift shop. As with our other locations, Norwich has a great selection of tropicals and houseplants in their foliage house; annuals and hanging baskets in the main greenhouse and open air section; perennials, trees & shrubs, garden accents, statuary, pottery, soil, mulch, fertilizers & chemicals, gifts, and so much more.
In Spring of 2015 we acquired the former T & C Greenhouse. It encompasses 20 acres and over 100,000 square feet of greenhouse space. In summer of 2015 we remodeled the former pool house on the property and transformed it into a gift shop/salesroom. We opened for retail business in September. The rest of the greenhouses are used for wholesale production. We ship bedding plants and fall mums all over New England from this location and our Bennett Pond Rd. location.