McMinnville, Tennessee: Nursery Capital of the World

53 Comments By 
| Originally Published: February 10, 2012

Debbie Vaughn of the Old Feed Store Antique Mall in Woodbury, Tennessee, stock up her greenhouse at Mary's Greenhouse, Inc,, in McMinnville, Tennessee.

It doesn’t take long for visitors to Warren County to realize the region is a natural wonderland. With more than 300 nurseries operating in McMinnville and the surrounding vicinity, the city has come to be known as the Nursery Capital of the World. Local growers ship their trees, plants and flowers to customers all over the United States. It’s a trade that has thrived in McMinnville for more than a century, thanks to the region’s fertile soil, mild climate and geographic location.

Cumberland Valley Nursery

Warren County nurseries range in size from one-man operations to long-standing family businesses such as Cumberland Valley Nursery, which dates back to 1902.

Rows of greenhouses as seen from the road at Four M Greenhouses in McMinnville, Tennessee.

“I started as a partner at Cumberland Valley Nursery in 1988, and my wife Pat and I bought it in 1992,” says Phillip Pelham, president of Cumberland Valley Nursery. “My wife and I had both been growing trees all our lives, even before we met. Today we’re one of only two Warren County nurseries that specialize in fruit trees and sell them to commercial orchards.”

SEE ALSO: Wonderful Wildflower and Native Plants

Cumberland Valley Nursery grows 1.5 million fruit trees annually in more than 150 different varieties of peaches, plums, nectarines, apples, pears, cherries, apricots and almonds. Phillip’s son Nick is vice president of the nursery and started helping his father with the business at age 19.

“I love farming and being outside – it’s all I’ve ever done,” Nick says.

While Cumberland Valley primarily sells trees wholesale to commercial orchards, they also sell to homeowners. “We’ve seen a lot of homeowner demand from people who want a few fruit trees in their back yards,” Nick says. “We can ship anywhere from one tree to a whole semi-truck load.”

Phillip credits McMinnville’s geographic location as the reason for the area’s high concentration of nurseries. “If you go any further south, the climate is too hot, and if you go north, the growing season is too short,” he says. “McMinnville is an ideal location.”

Thousands of plant labels are lined up in greenhouses at Mary's Greenhouse, Inc,, in McMinnville, Tennessee.

Mary’s Greenhouse

At Mary’s Greenhouse, the focus is not on trees, but on annuals and perennials. The business is named after founder Mary Hamby, who started the nursery with her husband Joe as a backyard hobby around 1976. Mary died in 2009, but her husband and adult children continue to work at the greenhouse, which now has about 20 employees.

“My mom loved plants, and that’s how we came to be,” says Mike Hamby, president of Mary’s Greenhouse. “She liked trying new things, and people showed up to buy them. She loved to dig and weed, which sounds like work to most people, but it wasn’t work to her.”

Mike runs the business with help from his dad, brother Gary, wife Beth Hamby, sister Beth Jacobs and sister-in-law Charlotte. His nephew, Scott, works at the greenhouse part-time.

“We grow a huge variety of annuals and perennials, from impatiens to hostas, and sell them both wholesale and retail to the public,” Mike says.

Mary’s Greenhouse also offers ornamental grasses, vines, hardy ferns, roses, groundcovers, hanging baskets, herbs and vegetables. There are too many varieties to choose a favorite, Mike says, but he is somewhat partial to daylilies.

“We grow a lot of daylilies. They’re a good, low-maintenance plant,” he says. “If I want to get away from everything, I’ll go divide up daylilies. I like to watch things grow.”

Orange Symphony flowers at Mary's Greenhouse, Inc,, in McMinnville, Tennessee.

Boyd & Boyd Nursery

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Please contact these businesses directly if you have specific plant requests or questions:

Three miles away on Smithville Highway, Boyd & Boyd Nursery is run by fifth-generation nurseryman Tommy Boyd. He took over the business in 1988, and it offers a large selection of shade trees, ornamentals, evergreens, and deciduous and ornamental shrubs. About 90 percent of the nursery’s products are sold wholesale to landscapers and garden centers, but they welcome the public too.

“We keep a well-stocked sales yard, so it’s easy for people to drive in and visit us,” says Tyra Green, office manager at Boyd & Boyd Nursery. “I love seeing all the people who come through. We get a lot of customers from Nashville, Chattanooga and Kentucky.”

If the dedication of current nurserymen and women in McMinnville is any indication, the region’s abundance of green-thumbed citizens is sure to carry on into the future.

“I’ve got a 3-year-old grandson who already wants to be a farmer,” says Phillip back at Cumberland Valley Nursery. “He lives and breathes John Deere tractors.”


  1. debbie pratt

    September 10, 2012 at 7:25 am

    iam looking for juniper shrubs, i will need about 40 low growing no larger than 1 gallon what would be the price and could get them?

    • Jessy Yancey

      September 11, 2012 at 8:41 am

      Hi Debbie,

      To find out about juniper shrubs, please contact the nurseries mentioned above at, or Good luck!

      Jessy Yancey
      editor, Tennessee Home & Farm


      May 13, 2017 at 11:40 am


      • Rachel Bertone

        May 15, 2017 at 7:56 am

        Hi Mary,

        Sorry you’re having some trouble. However, we are a magazine that wrote about several nurseries in McMinnville, and are not directly affiliated with any of the nurseries mentioned in the article. Please contact the nursery directly and hopefully they can help you out. Thanks!

        Rachel Bertone,
        editor, TN Home and Farm

  2. Janice

    October 16, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    I am looking for a litte leaf linden tree-either a Corinthian Linden or an American Sentry variety. Do you know if any of the nurseries there grow these trees? Thanks!

  3. Kathy

    November 15, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    I am looking for a Meyer lemon tree. Anyone?

  4. Kathy

    November 15, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    I am looking for a Meyer lemon tree. Anyone know where I can find one?

  5. Larry whitley

    November 19, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    Looking for a tree we understand is named Drake Elm

    • Jessy Yancey

      November 27, 2012 at 9:58 am

      Hi Larry,

      To find Drake Elm trees, you probably should contact the nurseries mentioned above directly at, or Good luck in your search!

      Thanks for your comment,
      Jessy Yancey
      editor, Tennessee Home & Farm

      • Debra

        February 11, 2020 at 8:56 pm

        Do you EVER answer anybody’s question other than “contact the nursery above?” You sound lame.

  6. Chris Fox

    November 24, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    I am looking for Joshua Trees. Any help would be appreciated.

  7. Gregory Fassler

    December 14, 2012 at 2:12 pm


    I would like to travel to McMinnville from Paris, TN to purchase the following:
    1. Crape Myrtles/Ruby Red Variety
    2. Rabbiteye Blueberry Bushes

    Please let me know which nurseries I may contact to purchase above varieties.

    Thank You,
    Gregory Fassler

  8. kathy butcher

    January 8, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    I am looking for 25 plus bare root leyland syprus trees

  9. william johnson

    February 1, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    I am looking for purpleleaf wintercreep plants in flats.I have 300 sq. ft.
    to cover under a tree in the shade. do you ship UPS? Thanks, Bill

  10. Renee

    February 3, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    Can anyone tell me if a Joshua Tree will grow in Chattanooga Tn?

  11. Pamella Eichelberger

    March 10, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    I am working on a landscaping project, in which I am adding a dry creek bed. I would like to know where is the best places to buy different types of grasses. I like sheep fescue, buffalo grass and any similar type of grasses. Also which nursery would you recommend for herbs.

  12. Bonnie Cox

    April 15, 2013 at 9:30 am

    Where can I find yellow transparent apple trees?

  13. Dennis Lewis

    April 17, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    Looking for a paper-white clump birch tree. Would like to know the price.

  14. B Jenkins

    May 21, 2013 at 10:20 am

    I am looking for NEW Dawn Climbing roses or Zephyr climbing roses .
    Do you know where I can locate ?


    June 9, 2013 at 8:21 pm


  16. Bob Davis

    June 13, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    I would like to buy wholesale seedlinks.Can ifind them in McMinville?

  17. susan tinsley

    July 8, 2013 at 7:42 am

    i’m looking for source for plum trees, ponder rosea and burbank

  18. Dennis

    August 10, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    This is a great article and I know us Tn farmers works hard and sleeps harder.I don’t know a lot about annuals but they sure are nice. Cumberland Valley is a good place. We buy fruit trees from them and they are honest folks.

  19. Char Tucker

    August 27, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    I am looking for an old fashioned horse apple tree. Does anyone know where I could purchase several?

  20. Robert

    September 20, 2013 at 10:38 am

    Will Jiro Fuyu Persimmons grow in Zone 5 Naperville, IL? Please advise. I love this variety of persimmon. Is there any other variety that will do good in Zone 5?

    Thanks and Best Regards,

    • Jessy Yancey

      October 2, 2013 at 2:34 pm

      Hi Robert,

      For assistance, I would recommend taking with your local university extension agent. Here’s a link to their website:

      Hope this helps!

      Jessy Yancey
      Tennessee Home & Farm magazine

  21. Lee A

    October 27, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    I’m looking for two plum trees; one red / one purple; one ripening earlier/ one later; 12-15′ trees; sweet taste fresh; I will probably pick them up, as I want to plant them soon.
    Also; a dwarf or semi dwarf cherry. Maybe one red and one purple. Fresh sweet taste.

    Does anybody have American hazel nuts? I would like two or three trees. The kind that are good to eat and look great in the fall.

  22. luther clemons

    December 20, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    I am interested in starting a small apple orchard in North Ala. and need some help on the type trees I should buy.

  23. trey

    January 4, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    I’m trying to sell my gently used growing equipment anyone know where i could do that

  24. Don Jackson

    January 9, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    We have been using Vita Products to help aide in the natural health of our plants. It hydrates, helps plants fight off pests and disease. We use this as part of a pest and disease management program.

  25. mattie thompson

    January 13, 2014 at 3:59 pm


  26. M. E. Keller

    February 27, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    We are wanting young transparent apple trees to replace a very old dying such tree. The apples on it are two sour to eat raw, but they are excellent for cooking.
    They usually are ripe by late June here.

    Please respond.

  27. George Ankar

    April 3, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    I like to buy some fruit trays and almond trays

  28. Carol

    April 29, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    looking for information on the nurseries who sell retail.

  29. jace burnette

    October 12, 2015 at 6:10 am

    I have rose of sharen seeding 6 colors, mixed
    25.00 a 100,also suger maple,rebud, an others.

  30. Bob Thompson

    March 3, 2016 at 8:13 pm

    I want to know if your furit trees grow in florida andhummingbird vine will grow hereand the 3-in-1cherry tree will and theroyal paulowina will grow here Thank you Bob Thompson

  31. William Swann

    May 29, 2016 at 8:18 am

    R U open today

  32. mj smith

    September 14, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    do you have the very short grass ground cover muni grass? mj smith

  33. robert rauch

    October 4, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    im looking to replace a 4 inch dia. loose leaf linden tree. Can you help me locate a field nursery that might be able to supply this tree?

  34. Bonnie Bibeau

    March 2, 2017 at 11:33 am

    Do you deliver and plant trees in Hermitage, TN?


    March 12, 2017 at 1:15 pm


  36. Judith Malone

    June 22, 2017 at 12:35 am

    Two fraudulent competitors are giving McMinnville an untrustworthy name. Please investigate USA Nursery and Summerstone Nursery. Dead twigs are sent. They are calling them 1-2 ft trees. Root and dead twigs are barely 12 inches. Coming with no leaves or dead leaves. Stems break as they are dead. Your reputable companies should seek these sites out and I will file fraud claim against them. They will ruin your business if not stopped. I’m planning a campaign. Don’t order from anyone in McMinnville as most are scams. No return on their website after purchase.

  37. Elizabeth Bernard

    October 10, 2018 at 5:08 pm

    Hi, I am a horticulture student at Amarillo College. Our horticulture program is young in fact this is its first year. So far our green bean plants grew pretty well despite all the disease we have breeding in our greenhouse.

  38. Allan Beuerman

    November 1, 2018 at 9:04 am

    I’m looking for a source of White River peaches. I live in Little Rock, Arkansas

  39. Rodney L Piner

    April 16, 2019 at 11:51 am

    I need resale hanging baskets. I live in greene county. Who are close and good prices?

    • Tim cyr

      January 14, 2020 at 7:23 pm

      Need fruit trees call me 217 690 9058
      Ask for Tim

  40. Tim Cyr

    January 14, 2020 at 7:25 pm

    Farm , I need several hundred fruit trees call me 217 690 9058

  41. Cravens John

    March 24, 2021 at 2:07 pm

    I am looking for a bright red crape mertle

  42. Cravens John

    March 24, 2021 at 2:19 pm

    Wanting to purchase a red crape myrtle . Do you have any?

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