Published : Monday, August 22, 2016 | 11:09 AM
Burkard Nurseries, a horticulture staple of Pasadena since 1978, is closing its doors as owner and plantsman Frank Burkard Jr. announced his retirement. A going-out-of-business sale starts today.
“All my life, I never really did a lot with my daughters because I was working 80+ hours, seven days a week,” Burkard Jr. said. “ I missed a lot of the children’s parties and gatherings, so now I’m refocusing, I have grandchildren and new nieces and nephews.”
The nursery, known for its premier customer service and high quality exotic plant life, is having an everything-must-go 50 percent off sale today after Burkard Jr. announced the property has been sold and will not remain a nursery.
“About a month ago, we got an offer and the property and decided to sell it,” Burkard Jr. said.
Burkard Jr., the third-generation proprietor of the family-owned business, is known for his encyclopedic knowledge of plants — not only can he name thousands of them off the top of his head, he can tell you exactly when and where to plant them and how to take care of them. His knowledge is what kept his business thriving and customers happy, he said.
“We were able to build large collections of plants,” Burkard. Jr. said. “We were able to diversify into unusual plant materials. We propagated new plants, did crosses and created new plants. Our customers really responded to that.”
Burkard nurseries was founded by Hans and Rosa Burkard, who first opened their business in 1937, specializing in hybrid delphinium and pansies. After the business expanded and became a primary destination for green thumbs and landscape artists in the immediate area, a teenage Burkard Jr. fell in love with horticulture after learning from his father and his grandfather.
In 1978, he earned his Bachelor of Science in Ornamental Horticulture from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and joined the business.
“I had a great life experience getting to work with my father and grandfather, and then taking over the helm afterwards,” Burkard Jr. said.
Burkard. Jr. was known for pioneering South African bulbs and was one of the few people who could offer Florida Dogwood trees that could grow in the dry Southern California heat.
Burkard Nurseries was known locally for having a family tradition of community involvement. It supported local civic organizations such as the Tournament of Roses, The Los Angeles County Arboretum, Descanso Gardens, the Junior League of Pasadena and the South Pasadena Beautiful Association.
The nursery is located at 690 N. Orange Grove Blvd. in Pasadena.