Gurneys Chat About Plant Nurseries Then And Now

Welcome to our weekly Plant Exchange Blog where we share about plants of the Northern Plains and people who grow them. Interest in the season is building. It’s not so long before we’re all outdoors!

Gurney Seed & Nursery Company left Yankton over a decade ago but many who worked for the company part time still live here. Interest in plants remains high throughout the region.

Jay Gurney is Yankton Nurseries owner and nurseryman for the past 40 years. Daughter Emily and son Mike grew up with the nursery in daily life. A college history graduate, Mike enjoys finding out about early nursery days in this region. Jay showed Mike a Concord, Nebraska nursery contract for orchard trees from 1892. Customers paid for the trees after they grew for three years.


Colorado blue spruce appears in the book Northwest Pomology (1904) as a promising new introduction to the Concord, Nebraska region in 1890’s. The author C.W. Gurney, brought the later named Gurney Seed & Nursery to Yankton. C.W. was a nurseryman and early Nebraska Extension agent.


Waneta plums, early tomatoes, and Beacon apples were featured in this 1939 The House of Gurney, Inc. seed catalog. Vegetable and flower seeds were open pollinated at that time and some apple trees were grafted.


Jay Gurney and his adult son Mike chat about the Nebraska plant nursery of the 1880’s that later moved to Yankton and how nurseries have changed through the years in the article at this link at Yankton Press & Dakotan newspaper where the article was published:

We hope you’ve enjoyed Plant Exchange Blog this week. Please note the other topics on the right column of your screen and the topics by category below them. We hope you’ll consider visiting again. Hats off to our loyal “Followers” and visitors who send us “Likes.”


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