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Inspiration for your garden and landscape
Nobles Greenhouse in full swing

Nobles Greenhouse and Nursery is a full service garden center. Their huge selection is sure to revive and inspire gardeners of all ages.  -SVT Photo by Tami Stevenson

By Tami Stevenson

Since 1975 Nobles Greenhouse and Nursery of Live Oak has been a leader in the gardening industry. Owners Chris and Kim Carter, along with employees, were busy with new shipments and displays for the 2018 growing season when the Suwannee Valley Times stopped by last week. The owners’ hands-on approach was evident as they shared their knowledge and advice between helping customers, and is likely a contributing factor to their ongoing success.

This full service garden center is not the typical greenhouse many would envision. The moment customers pull in the parking lot stunning color captures the imagination. Every corner is artfully filled with beautiful plants and shrubbery, garden accents, yard art, statuary, fountains and bird baths, pottery from all over the world, wind chimes, garden benches and more. The exquisite and peaceful atmosphere lends itself to more of a park theme than a typical nursery and is why many garden enthusiasts will make a day of it and drive a couple hours or more to visit and purchase their greenery and yard accessories throughout the year.

This water fountain at Nobles is one of many designs displayed throughout the grounds. The gentle sounds of the fountains can be heard wherever you walk. -All Photos by Tami Stevenson

Dianne McGregor, left, along with Jackie Darrow, both from Live Oak, browse the tomato plants and other garden vegetables.

“Sometimes people think the only time to come to a nursery is in the spring but just as there are tons of flowers for spring, there are tons of flowers for fall as well,” said Chris Carter. October and November are also good times. They sell many of their fruit trees in the fall because they are dormant during that time. “There are so many things to grow,” he added. “Many of our customers come every few weeks because it’s just in a constant state of flux.”

Nobles owner Chris Carter points to a list on display for customers that refers to the different characteristics of the many heirloom tomato varieties they carry.

The Carters have owned and operated the greenhouse and nursery for 32 years. Stewart and Connie Nobles started the business in 1975 and ran it until they sold it to the Carters in 1986. They said they wanted to keep the name the same and still today have no aspirations of changing it.

The gift shop, filled with wind chimes and other whimsical gifts and memorabilia, used to be the greenhouse where Connie Nobles grew African Violets, Kim Carter explained, and the house on the grounds, which is all offices today, is where the Nobles’ lived. The Carters lived there as well for the first 14 years. She explained how difficult it can be living at your place of work.

Whimisical dragonflies - Colorful displays fill every nook and cranny among the shrubs and plants, from clay statuary and outdoor wall hangings to metal art and bird baths.

“I’d be doing the dishes and look out and see something that needed to be done or making beds and look out the window and see something else… and so it was never ending. It’s better to have your home somewhere else than your workplace, so you can separate yourself,” she said.

They strive to sell the widest varieties and highest quality plants and materials recommended by the University of Florida for the North Florida area. They have a huge selection of peppers, heirloom tomatoes and other garden vegetables, plants and/or seeds. Citrus trees are a large part of their business as well, oranges, lemons, peaches, plums, pears, figs, persimmons and more that are all cold-hearty and on hand for customers.

“Citrus is usually grafted onto hardier root stock that can take the colder weather. The older they get the more durable they are,” he explained. In addition to fruit trees they carry a full line of shrubbery and shade trees, garden herbs and in the greenhouse they sell more exotic plants – a whole world of house plants.

This blue pottery at Nobles Greenhouse and Nursery is very popular.

People particularly from down south will ask if they can buy something that will bloom all year “...and that is not possible here,” he said. But they can help them pick a mix so they will always have something blooming, just not the same thing. “So that’s another reason, if they come periodically, they can see what is blooming that particular time of the year and can keep their yard in bloom all the time.”

Avid gardner Dianne McGregor of Live Oak brought her friend, Jackie Darrow, a new resident to the area that shares her friend’s interest in gardening, to Nobles for the first time. McGregor said she had to show her how beautiful it is at Nobles.

McGregor said she loves coming, “I love the ambiance, it inspires me.” She added that gardening is like therapy to her.

Owner Kim Carter, left, shows shoppers Jackie Darrow and Dianne McGregor their popular Earth Box Garden Kit. It is self watering and has a breathable cover that keeps weeds down throughout the growing season.


They also carry a full line of organic fertilizers, sprays, fungicides and organic potting soils, organic plants and some organic seed.

“We’re not real deep in organic seed but the fact of the matter is we kind of feel like, if you start with an heirloom or organic seed, the way you treat it is going to make it organic. Once the plant comes up as long as you don’t use chemical fertilizers and sprays on it, it’s going to be organic.” They do not sell any genetically modified (GMO) seed.

“Anything that is called heirloom or open pollinated means you can save the seed from year to year and reproduce,” Chris said. He explained that if it is called an F1 hybrid, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s GMO, it usually means they have cross-pollinated the plant. They will not reproduce seed you can use for replanting because the seed is now a hybrid and you cannot reproduce using that seed. For example, if you save the seed from an heirloom tomato and plant it the next year, it will grow, because it is the same plant, it is not a hybrid mixed with any other variety.

This is just one of a myriad of displays with various pottery imported from around the world, including Asia, Italy and Spain.

Another service they offer is landscape design for do-it-yourself enthusiasts. Customers can bring photos and give them measurements and they can help design a perfect landscape that meets the customer’s needs and tastes.

The Carters are adamant about ensuring their customers success and want them to be happy with the plants and products they take home from Nobles.

“If you buy something and you fail, you’re going to get discouraged,” they said. “So we really pride ourselves on our service and our knowledge to help people.” Their website states that success in a customer’s garden is their most important objective. Through continued education their staff strives to provide customers with answers to all their gardening questions. Whether a beginner or experienced gardener they appreciate the opportunity to work with their customers on their gardening projects.

The next time inspiration for gardening or landscaping is needed, visit Nobles Greenhouse and Nursery located at 9250 129th Road in Live Oak, Florida. Their phone number is 386-362-2333. It is an experience one can enjoy throughout the year as it is ever changing and ever growing.