Homestead Gardens was founded as a roadside plant stand in Davidsonville, Maryland, in 1973. In the decades since, that stand grew into a successful independent garden center, with three retail locations, a wholesale division, an award-winning landscape division, and a horticultural supply center. Today, Homestead Gardens continues to win local, regional and national awards for the quality of its plants. In March 2010, owner Brian Riddle opened a retail location right in the heart of the commercial district of Severna Park.
“Our Severna Park store may not be as large as our Davidsonville headquarters, but we love our location,” said general manager Heidi Tyler. “Our store has an immense amount of product that our customers say they need and are lucky to have close to home.”
Tyler, who has worked at Homestead Gardens in Severna Park from the beginning, said the store has always been well-received by the community. She credits her staff with making the environment so welcoming.
The plant selection at Homestead Gardens offers something for everyone. There are succulents for customers who enjoy current houseplant trends, herbs and vegetables, and countless varieties of flowering plants. Whether the customer prefers annuals or perennials, it will be difficult to leave the garden center empty-handed. Homestead Gardens is increasing its native plant and pollinator selections through its Native Habitat Center and pollinator clubs.
“We’re very proud of our Native Habitat Center, with plants that thrive right here in this area,” said Zach Ebaugh, greens manager and a licensed horticulturist. “It is a part of the Homestead Gardens mission to grow and sell plants that will succeed without unnecessary pesticides and herbicides, and that are at the same time beneficial to our environment and the wildlife that depend on native species.”
Homestead Gardens tries to help with everything from diagnosing growth or bloom issues, to troubleshooting pests and offering age-old garden advice. With an appointment, a staff member will even help customize or design planters or gardens.
“If you have trouble with houseplants, with annuals or designing custom combination pots, we’re here to help,” said Ebaugh. “We love to be able to make a true custom experience for every customer whenever we can.”
Homestead Gardens offers a variety of other products such as patio furniture, home decor, Maryland-themed gifts and even live chicks in the spring.
Hard goods manager Steph Stowell said that she is constantly updating and merchandising displays with new products. Her background in art comes in handy, especially during the holiday season, when Homestead Gardens transforms into a winter wonderland. In her role as hard goods manager, Stowell cares for a wide variety of products personally and with other associates who are experts in the sales area.
“We take care of everything that is inside the store,” said Stowell. “I like to say, ‘What's green goods is what is alive, what's hard goods is not.’ We love to showcase our gardening accessories and tools as much as we like to invite Severna Park locals to shop our unique home decor, clothing, gifts and jewelry.”
Business at Homestead Gardens was booming throughout the various stages of lockdowns due to COVID-19. During quarantine, many took up gardening as a hobby or redecorated the inside and outside of their homes. The team of category managers has had to stay ahead of the game to make sure customers could purchase their favorite plants amidst major national garden supply shortages.
“Our buyers are still working hard to bring plants in, even with all sorts of hurdles thrown their way,” Tyler explained. “As a team, we just work even harder to try to get products our customers need and the plants they love.”
The category managers have learned to get creative, while also remaining loyal to the vendors and growers that they have developed strong relationships with throughout their 48 years of business.
“Homestead is huge on supporting the growers,” said Tyler. “The fact is that there are no garden centers without growers, so having a good relationship is important.”
A member of the Greater Severna Park and Arnold Chamber of Commerce, Homestead Gardens is making a donation to the Severna Park High School senior class for prom and regularly supports the Wounded Warrior Project. Tyler also goes all out each year for the chamber’s annual Fourth of July parade. This year, she has enlisted Stowell’s help to create an over-the-top float.
Tyler said the entire Homestead Gardens team is proud to serve the community and hopes that Homestead Gardens will continue to bring people joy for years to come.
“I want customers to leave happier than when they arrived, but I also want them to tell their friends so we can continue to grow and continue spreading garden joy for another 48 years,” said Tyler.
Homestead Gardens is located at 522 Ritchie Highway. To learn more, visit www.homesteadgardens.com or call 410-384-7966. Find Homestead Gardens on Facebook and Instagram at @homesteadgardens.