For thirty-one years, Marc Richardson and Richard Berry shared a passion for preserving and popularizing perennial garden plants. While Students at the University of Georgia, the two friends discovered a mutual interest in gardening and started Goodness Grows in 1977 as a simple landscaping business.
After moving their business to Crawford, Georgia and starting with a few marigold seedlings they put into pots, the business quickly evolved into a “backyard nursery” filled with perennials, herbs and native plants. In 1983 Marc and Rick purchased land in Lexington, Georgia and began working on the plant-growing and retail business that exists today.
About seventy percent of the plants offered for sale at Goodness Grows are herbaceous perennials. The rest are a careful selection of flowering shrubs, trees, and other plants. The Lexington business consists of a one-acre location for retail sales with a gift shop and more than six acres used for growing plants for the wholesale market.
When Rick and Marc founded Goodness Grows, perennials were being treated as the forgotten stepchildren of the plant world. Few in the nursery industry even realized perennials could be cultivated in the South. Their commitment to the re-introduction and promotion of these useful garden plants inspired the renaissance of their use and popularity in the South. They have provided the gardening world several new plant varieties including Dianthus ‘Bath’s Pink’, Lantana camara ‘Miss Huff’, Achillea ‘Oertel’s Rose’, and Veronica ‘Goodness Grows’.
The nursery was one of the first in the South to offer container-grown perennials year-round and to use display gardens for marketing and educational purposes. In the meantime, the nursery’s propagation and protection methods have set an industry-wide standard for perennial plant production.
Goodness Grows now provides plant material to nurseries and consumers throughout the Southeast. Mailed to addresses nationwide, the nursery’s free annual wholesale and retail catalogs list and describe the nearly five hundred plant varieties it grows in Oglethorpe County, Georgia.