On Sunday, June 26, we’re honored to be visiting the Flower Factory, near Stoughton, Wis., southeast of Madison. Long a favorite regional destination for gardeners, the Flower Factory, at one time, boasted the Midwest’s largest selection of perennials, hostas, and ornamental grasses. Here are Fling team member Mark Dwyer’s recollections of his first impressions of the Flower Factory and the joy of visiting this special place:
I moved to Janesville, Wis., in the summer of 1998 to start my job as director of horticulture at Rotary Botanical Gardens (RBG). Kim Emerson, the executive director at the time, wanted to introduce me to area growers and nursery folks, which certainly made a lot of sense. It was an enjoyable “whirlwind” of travelling for three days around Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois to connect with many amazing people, many of whom are still close friends. This tour culminated with a stop at The Flower Factory near Stoughton, Wis. Kim had mentioned that I wouldn’t believe this nursery when I saw it. That was the understatement of the century.
Peak offerings, in terms of varieties, were more than 4,000; although scaled down to around 2,500 selections during the last years of the business. Grabbing a wagon(s) and filling it to the brim was always a joyful experience at The Flower Factory. The nursery closed at the end of August 2020, much to the distress and dismay of literally tens of thousands of customers. The customer base for The Flower Factory extended well beyond the immediate area, and the nursery was a common stop for bus tours interested in a buying spree! Nancy and David were also very active in providing educational programs and supporting area botanical gardens and the green industry in many ways.