New Middletown Nursery will open May 1
The property once known as Middletown Nursery has languished empty and sad on State Road in North Tisbury, next to Dion's restaurant and across the road from the Glass Works. For five years the fate of John Gadowski's former business has hung in the balance. No more.
John and Heather Hoff, owners of Oakleaf Landscaping in West Tisbury, purchased the property last week and will open on May 1. With the blessing of Mr. Gadowski, they will call their new business Middletown Nursery. "No matter what we called it, it would always be Middletown," Heather said recently.
The area is zoned residential/agricultural. From time to time buyers, including the most recent owner Chris Morse, have investigated running other business there, but because the neighborhood is zoned agricultural/residential, none has received the blessing of West Tisbury town officials. To qualify as agricultural, the business must grow or nurture 25 percent of what it sells on-site, and another 50 percent must be grown in Massachusetts, according to Heather.
At their business off Lamberts Cove Road, the Hoffs have been raising trees, shrubs, and other plants for their landscaping customers. They plan to continue on a larger scale, specializing in native plants and non-invasive ornamentals. They will also sell bulbs and other flowers as well as seedling plants for vegetable gardens. As much as possible, what they sell will be organically grown.
Photo by Ralph Stewart
Town officials will also allow them to sell agricultural supplies, such as fertilizers and gardening tools, but they will not be permitted to sell feed or other pet products. John says that they will have a large selection of containers, so that a customer could take home, for example, a strawberry barrel ready to put on the deck to be watered and eventually harvested.
John told The Times, "West Tisbury is the agricultural center of Martha's Vineyard. We look forward to working with the Polly Hill Arboretum and with the other nursery business in town. They'll have some things we don't, and we'll have some things they don't."
One of those special things is a children's garden, where the Hoffs will encourage youngsters to get down in the dirt and touch and smell the plants. In anticipation of the final steps in the sale, the Hoffs have already begun to make improvements, regrading the back lot, replacing the irrigation system, and restoring the greenhouses.
John and Heather, originally from New Jersey, have been on the Island for about 20 years. They have operated Oakleaf Landscaping for 14 years. They have two daughters, and a son is on the way.