Many think of garden centers as seasonal businesses that, like our favorite perennial flora, go dormant with the onset of cooler, late fall temperatures. Not so with Willow Ridge Garden Center & Landscaping of Oak Ridge. In fact, the cooler the weather gets, the busier things get here at Knoxville’s premier provider of retail gardening products and landscape design services.
Greg Steele, garden center manager, is quick to point out that “there really is no off season here in Tennessee, where we have a fall growing season that doesn’t start until late October. That means we keep pretty busy with both indoor and outdoor plants… fall ornamentals, trees, and house plants, for example. We have folks planting vegetable gardens at this time, too. Let’s not forget those cold crops that are traditionally planted during the fall, such as spinach, cabbage and cauliflower.” The short of it is this: people’s love of decorating with plants both inside the home and out, as well as a continued interest in growing their own vegetables, keeps the folks at Willow Ridge Garden Center & Landscaping quite busy all year long.
If you’re a person who enjoys The Great Outdoors, and even The Great Indoors, the Garden Center at Willow Ridge is a plant lover’s paradise. November and December being Tennessee’s late fall season, this is the best time for planting trees, shrubs and perennials. And, you won’t find more knowledgeable professionals anywhere. Many are like Greg Steele, who have spent many, many years at Willow Ridge and are well versed in horticultural best practices. When it comes to gardening products, at the Garden Center Gift Shop you’ll discover the area’s widest selection of year-round plants (indoor and out), an amazing assortment of planters, yard décor such as windchimes and birdfeeders, and much more. Right now, Steele and his crew are hard at work transforming the Garden Center Gift Shop into the center’s annual Christmas Wonderland. “As always, visitors will enjoy the usual holiday favorites,” says Steele. “Fresh cut Christmas trees, handcrafted wreathes, swags, roping, garland, silk arrangements and poinsettias, artificial trees, ornaments, and more; in short, everything you need to make your holiday season the most memorable ever.”
The holiday activities here at the Garden Center will be a bit different this year due to COVID-19 and CDC guidelines. “For example, even though we won’t be able to have Santa visit with us or let the kids make hot chocolate, roast marshmallows and make S’mores,” says Steele, “we are planning on a fun, festive holiday. Some traditions, such as the photos we take of families with their newly-cut Christmas tree in front of a scenic background—a Christmas Wonderland favorite—will still be part of the celebration,” he says.
The seed for Willow Ridge Garden Center and Landscaping was planted back in 2000 when Gene Marlow, who had joined the company in 1989 as a landscaper, was named president. In the decades since its founding, Willow Ridge Garden Center & Landscaping has grown to become a partnership of people who have a passion for gardening, many of whom having been with the company over 20 years. In addition to their Cityview Magazine awards, the company has received numerous awards of excellence, including Today’s Garden Center Top 100 Revolutionary Garden Centers in America, Tennessee Nursery and Landscape Association Retailer of the Year, Dogwood Arts Festival Best of Show, Best Overall Garden, and People’s Choice Award.
To learn more about Willow Ridge Garden Center & Landscaping retail gardening products, landscaping services, and upcoming events such as the Christmas Wonderland, visit their website or facebook page.
97 Oak Ridge Turnpike,
Oak Ridge, TN 37830