How Terra Nova Nurseries turned the challenging year of 2020 into a positive 2021

US (OR): “A wildfire, an ice storm, and a pandemic”

After three unusual and “catastrophic” events took place for Terra Nova Nurseries over the last year, they are making positive changes. The team at Terra Nova Nurseries, which is an international breeding company focused on Tissue Culture (TC) and liner production of annuals and perennials based in Oregon, dedicated time during the year to actively improve their assortment and supply chains, and were grateful their recent expansion of supply chains enabled them to meet the increased demand caused by the events.

Ken Brown, managing owner of Terra Nova, explains how they were able to clone one of their difficult varieties in their TC lab and improve it from the regular, seed version. Overall, after all the challenges of the past year, they are now focusing on improvements and a positive future.

The owners of Terra Nova. From left to right: Dan Heims, Lynne Bartenstein, Jody Brown, and Ken Brown. 

A wildfire and an ice storm
As Brown explains, labor shortages continue to have an impact on every industry, making it hard to bring in supplies. Yet Terra Nova Nurseries has had to face some other challenges as well, making their last year unlike any other. “A year ago, a wildfire got close enough to make us evacuate our facilities. This winter, an ice storm caused us a power outage for 10 days, with three of our four large generators malfunctioning. We were able to keep them going, but in the end, the three generators had to be replaced."

“Three unusual and catastrophic events”
Add to that the pandemic and that equals three very unusual and catastrophic events that severely impacted the company. “Everyone is dealing with the same issues at different times as the pandemic ebbs and flows into our different areas. Yet our team really pulled together, and we have survived them. At our home location, we are working hard to compete on the labor market and deal with the restrictions placed on us by our government. Globally, we worked very hard to provide communication between our license partners and help bring supply chains together.”

Positive changes
Terra Nova has survived the challenges and luckily, there have been many positive changes as well. Brown explains that the timing of the increased demand was perfectly aligned with their expansion. “The timing of the global pandemic, which created the new ‘stay at home gardener’, happened just as our efforts to greatly expand our supply chains were coming together. Our team really stepped up to take advantage of the new business, and I am very proud of the results.”

Improving assortment and supply chains
Now that things are improving again Terra Nova is excited to focus on the future and bringing bright colors to the market. “Our goal is always to produce varieties with the brightest and clearest colors, that are able to draw the consumer across the garden center or nursery. We also invest much care into training our Tissue Culture (TC) labs to maintain fresh and vigorous stock so that the plants not only look good but also perform for the finish grower year after year. Terra Nova is a breeding company first, and we are constantly improving our assortment and our supply chains. We are mostly known for our Heuchera, and the Forever Series has been very popular.”

Heuchera Forever Red  

“Cloning Hellebore in TC lab is a game changer”
One of their unique new varieties is their double Hellebore, which is bred to be cloned in their Tissue Culture labs. “Our double Hellebore is not only one of the most colorful and most amazing varieties, but they were bred to be cloned in a TC lab. Unlike seed Hellebore where you never know what you are going to get, our varieties are clones, meaning each plant is the same. Tissue Culture can be shipped to every licensee who has a TC lab where they can be produced on a schedule. By manipulating the schedule, it is possible to bring this normally two-year crop down to a one-year crop in full bloom, which is a game changer.”

Helleborus North Star Ruby Heart  

Accommodating future demand
Terra Nova is now focusing on the future in order to continually improve their business and ensure that they can meet the future demand. Brown says: “We must continue to improve. The addition of licensees and suppliers to meet our increased demand in all areas of the world will make us stronger. In addition, we have a new high tech propagation greenhouse and new shipping containers coming online to ensure we can accommodate the up-coming demand.”

For more information: 
Terra Nova Nurseries

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