Photography by Colin Coleman
In the 1980s, Tom Hebel experienced a stroke of luck when he was hired as a landscape designer for Royer Nurseries, the company that he would transform into Bucks Country Gardens about a decade later. But his expertise transcends landscaping and planting—as president of Bucks Country Gardens, Tom Hebel helps customers discover the love of gardening every day.
How did Bucks Country Gardens get started?
Bucks Country Gardens began as Royer Nurseries, a small wholesale nursery and landscape company in Doylestown in 1961. I was hired as a landscape designer in 1981. The founder of the business more or less offered me future ownership the first day I met him. It was almost too good to be true. Within a few years, we purchased the property we call home today, formed a partnership and began growing the retail side of the business. My passion was landscape design/build and his was growing and selling plants. Together we built a great little company but not big enough for two of us. In 1993, my partner retired and I changed the name to Bucks Country Gardens.
What are some products that people might not know you carry?
Most importantly, we are a garden center and a landscape design/build company. We live together, but we’re not married. Our nursery includes large trees and specimen evergreens; our garden department features a huge selection of pottery and planters; we are the Bucks County business partner of Walpole Outdoors and we continue to grow our award-winning patio furniture department. None of these would be as important to our garden center if it were not for the connection to our landscape division.
More unique in our industry is our boutique, home décor and our seasonal Christmas Shop. We also host Harvest Days in September and October with a pumpkin patch, corn maze, hayrides and kids’ attractions.
What are some common questions/concerns that customers have about planting and gardening?
Will it live? Is it easy to care for? Will it continue to bloom? Does it attract butterflies and bees? Is it organic? Is it safe for my children and pets? Is it guaranteed?
Many customers are intimidated by gardening. They’re afraid to make a bad choice, plant the wrong thing in the wrong place and, ultimately, fail. It’s our mission to help them find plants that answer yes to all those questions and discover the pleasure of gardening.
How do you help customers determine exactly what they need and make sure it leads to success?
Our staff includes interior designers, horticulturists, botanists, arborists and landscape designers with years of training and experience. We diagnose problems and prescribe solutions daily. We listen to better understand what is important to our customers when making selections and offer our suggestions of products we know will perform well, look great and make them happy.
Tell us more about the furniture and home décor offered at the store. What about at the boutique?
Patio furniture, home décor and boutique (we call them “lifestyle”) are a major component of our garden center. The most popular styles of patio furniture are cast aluminum and resin wicker in both dining and lounging groups, and we have 40 groups or more on display every day. We’ve chosen manufacturers known for quality, style and great value. Although we have a large in-stock inventory, we specialize in custom orders and we deliver to the Lehigh Valley and Jersey Shore regularly. Wall art, mirrors, lamps, tableware, linens, candles and botanicals are featured in home décor, and clothing, handbags, jewelry, accessories, fragrances and baby are the focus of our boutique. Including Christmas, the lifestyle department is our largest.
What types of specials and rewards does BCG offer its customers?
We have seasonal promotions going on all the time in every department, but our most popular is Bonus Bucks, which are earned March through June and redeemed in July. For every $10 spent, customers receive $1 in Bonus Bucks. During the redemption period, Bonus Bucks can be used to pay for up to 50 percent of any item purchased. Each year, we distribute over $250,000 in Bonus Bucks and redeem more than half of them.
What is the best way for an amateur planter/gardener to get started?
We suggest that inexperienced gardeners start with easy-to-grow, manageably sized and cost-effective projects. Planting a flowering tree in the lawn or a few flowering shrubs in a small garden can be easy and almost 100 percent successful when following our simple planting guidelines. Right plants, little water, little fertilizer, little sunshine and it will grow. For the less adventurous, a container garden might be appropriate. Tropical and annual flowers or vegetables are easily grown in containers on the back porch or patio, and we can help you choose awesome varieties that are easy to grow.
1057 N. Easton Rd., Doylestown | 215.766.7800 | buckscountrygardens.com