“My grandfather Loyd was born in 1915. He and his wife, Elizabeth, along with my father Robert started this nursery when Loyd was 58 and my father was 18. It was just a little hobby business,” Brandon Settlemyre said as he gave me the tour. “It was fairly small, and my grandmother liked to pull the weeds and keep the place tidy. They worked this nursery until he passed away at age 97. I’m proud to say, our family heritage of growing quality plants goes back a long way.”
Indeed, three generations of Settlemyres have been growing, selling, and offering professional advice in landscape and garden since 1973. Their beautiful nursery is a fixture in Valdese and known for miles around. “We have loyal customers who’ve been getting all their plants here since the 70s,” Brandon explained. Many make the trip from Salisbury, Lincolnton, Lake Lure, and more. They remember getting advice from my grandfather and father, and their trust in our plants, our friendly service, and our quality has done nothing but grow over the years. Just talking with my grandfather, you knew he knew his stuff.
Brandon’s dad, Robert, was a grower. Since the early 1980s, he cultivated plants on about eight acres. “Dad worked 16-hour days. He was a stickler for getting things right. I started here when I was six-year-old. I really liked playing in the dirt; they made me do all the non-fun stuff like weeding, dumping and cleaning pots, you name it.”
When Brandon and Michelle took over in 2014, they brought new ideas and renewed focus, but they have continued the family-run, home-grown quality standards established in the early years. They purchased more land for growing and are now expanding across Drexel Road. They have added e-commerce, curbside pickup, and deliveries. “Our new retail space will make everything more convenient and easier for our customers,” Michelle said. “We built 16,000 square feet of shaded display area with plenty of office space for meeting with folks to talk about what they’re looking to create with their plants.” On over 12 acres of growing fields, the nursery raises flowering, privacy, ornamental, evergreen, and fruit trees, as well as shrubs, azaleas, hydrangeas, perennials and annuals, edibles, grasses, ground covers, hanging baskets, and house plants. Perfect gifts—you can buy gift certificates to share the love!
SKETCH & GO DESIGN
I was very impressed with the nursery’s Sketch and Go service. You take photos and measurements then supply them with specifics like amount of sun or shade, what you want your plant scape to look like, whether or not you need low-maintenance plantings. Then, they will create full-view, color pictures with recommended plants for your space. Very helpful for foundation plantings or beds around patios and decks—actually, any place you want your plants to look perfect and thrive for years to come. The process is fast and friendly, and the design is created from their plant material to ensure a happy and healthy landscape. You’ll walk away with excellent advice on how to get your project done right.
Sketch and Go makes visualizing simple. “First, we listen to discover what customers are after,” she explained. “Since we are the growers, we know a lot about our plants: growing habits, suitability to our region, what they will look like seasonally, later this year, and five, ten years down the road. We recommend proper placement and planting instructions to ensure your plants will look right and complement each other. And, you can come in to tell us what you’re thinking about or we can do it on the phone or email.”
PLANTING TIME IS COMING UP
“Fall is a big season for us, as many know,” Brandon said, “so I recommend people get in touch with us now. That gives us time to plan before you plant…our mantra. Make an appointment to consult with us—it’s best if we get your measurements and specifics beforehand. We’ll be ready to get started. And you’ll have plenty of time to get it all done.”
Brandon researches the trees, shrubs, and plants they grow. “We trial test them, too, so we know for sure what works in our Southern climate; what to expect. If it isn’t suitable or doesn’t grow well, we eliminate it from our inventory,” he said. “Over the last ten years or so the market for branded plants has exploded. Now we have international breeders, scientists and R&D labs that create new plants. Some take 10 years or more to develop.” These new plants offer increased variety and options. They may have improved color, flowering, and re-blooming; dwarf plants are popular, and many new breeds are geared toward low maintenance. “We really enjoy growing the Proven Winner line of plants, like beautiful Limelight hydrangeas with their amazing big blossoms that are quick to emerge.”
You can contact the Settlemyres to ask about availability, pricing, sales, and more. The new website, https://settlemyrenursery.com/ is full of products, details, ideas, and inspiring photos.
WE WANT TO BE YOUR NURSERY
Settlemyres Nursery is not a one-and-done shop, as their many long-time customers will tell you. “We believe that our customers probably know what they want, they just don’t know how to get there,” Michelle told me. “We want homeowners to participate in the design and planting process, so they become experts in taking care of everything. We’re the grower, not a big box store that buys truckloads of plants from Florida, so we feel it’s important to share all we know with buyers—to educate before, during, and after you select and take your plants home.” The nursery also carries top-quality gardening supplies like Daddy Pete’s Plant Pleaser products with advice to go with.
IT’S ALL IN THE FAMILY
“When our children take over,” Brandon said with a smile, “I want to pass on the same level of respect and appreciation we have for our customers and our plants, those values my dad and grandparents built almost 50 years ago. These plants are our babies; we’re a seven-day operation taking care of living organisms that we want to share with you.”
Michelle and Brandon have two boys. Schyler is four, and “He’s a mile a minute. He loves coming to work with us, being outdoors, getting into the sprinklers, and he’s not scared of bugs,” Michelle shared. “Henry is ten months old, and he loves his brother! He tries his hardest to do everything Schyler does…he’s very sweet—looks just like his dad.”
Brandon left me with one last thought, “Gardening is becoming a thing again with young people, especially things like growing native plants and edibles like blueberries. This new generation inspires me,” he said. “Digging in the dirt is my outlet, my labor of love, and I’m seeing this in others more and more. It’s the perfect way to relax.”
I took one more look around at all the amazing plants. Michelle put my two dwarf spruces, a big aloe plant, and Daddy Pete’s organic soil in my Jeep, and I told her I’d be back before long—no question about it!”
1460 Drexel Road • Valdese, NC
Monday - Friday 8AM - 5:30PM
Saturday 8AM-2PM, Sunday closed