Donna Patterson chats about the history of the greenhouse that is the centerpiece of Bryant’s Nursery. The nursery, at 2700 Loop Road in Vale, recently opened. (The Enterprise/Pat Caldwell).
VALE – A greenhouse with a long history is now the centerpiece of a new nursery operated by a local couple outside of Vale.
Bryant’s Nursery – operated by Donna and Bob Patterson – opened up earlier this spring and offers a wide variety of flowers and plants inside a greenhouse that once was scattered into more than 100 different pieces.
The Bryant’s Nursery greenhouse is the last vestige of what was once a major nursery in California.
Donna Patterson’s grandparents once owned the large nursery in Santa Cruz, Calif., and it offered more than a million plants.
After her grandparents died, said Patterson, her father’s family sold off the nursery, including all but one of the greenhouses.
The remaining greenhouse – used for cutting and seeding – was stored by Patterson’s uncle at his house in Santa Cruz. There it sat in pieces under the eaves of the house.
Patterson wanted the greenhouse and her uncle often joked about giving it to her.
Then on a Thanksgiv- ing Day more than 20 years ago, her uncle told her she could have it.
By then Donna and Bob Patterson lived in Malheur County. Bob Patterson worked for the Bureau of Land Management and Donna filled a paralegal slot.
The Pattersons picked up the pieces of the greenhouse and brought them back to their place on Loop Road some years ago. There it sat as Bob and Donna Patterson continued to work, but it was never far from their minds.
Bob eventually retired and, one day in 2017, turned to Donna and said, “Why don’t I get that thing built.”
For the next two years Bob and Donna and various family members and friends worked to put the greenhouse back together. The job wasn’t an easy one.
Progress came in fits and starts.
As they rebuilt the greenhouse, they realized they were handling something special.
“The greenhouse is pure virgin Redwood. The wood is chocolate brown, no rot,” said Donna.
When the greenhouse was finished, the couple pondered what to do next.
“The past winter, we talked. Decided we ought to sell plants,” said Donna.
Suddenly, the Pattersons were back in the family business and a new Bryant’s Nursery was born.
“We didn’t decide until late, so we had to order seeds,” said Donna Patterson.
From there it was a race to get the seeds going but spring weather and the sun did their part and the plants and flowers inside the greenhouse are flourishing.
Donna said now she may end up specializing in hanging baskets of flowers.
“We’ve had so much luck with the baskets,” she said.
Already, she said, busi-ness has been steady and often men will stop by, admire the greenhouse and shake their heads.
“The guys say, ‘my wife would love it. But I’m not bringing her out here,’” Donna said with a laugh.
The greenhouse nurtures everything from garlic, to petunias, to geraniums to sage and basil.
The nursery is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The greenhouse is closed Monday.
To get there, drive west out of Vale on U.S. High- way 20 to Graham Bou- levard, turn right and go northwest. Follow Graham Boulevard to Loop Road then take that road to the nursery.
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