Welcome to Tankard Nurseries online! We are a wholesale nursery serving the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. In this modern era of significant labor and inventory holding costs, it is our intention to make our inventory of landscape plants available to our customers on a real time basis. Tankard Nurseries is positioned in one of the best growing and distribution points on the East Coast. Surrounded by the Atlantic and the Chesapeake, our moderate climate enables us to grow a wide selection of well-acclimated plants. We grow old standards like Boxwood and American Holly while also endeavoring to grow the newest Hydrangea and Crape Myrtle. Our nursery is composed of four divisions: above ground containers, Pot-in-Pot, B&B shrubs and evergreens, and specimen trees and hollies. We encourage you to browse our website or make an appointment to visit the nursery so that we may show you why our plants and service are one of the best values in the industry today.
Tankard Nurseries sits on 700 acres surrounded by the waters of the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean, part of which is a farm that has been in the Tankard family for seven generations. The nursery is a true blend of history and innovation. Founded in 1933 and now in its third generation of ownership, Tankard Nurseries utilizes techniques and plants at the forefront of the industry to offer you a complete palette of quality landscape plants. Yet, our core business strengths, hard work, attention to detail and customer focus transcend generations.
Nursery production includes areas of above ground pots, Pot in Pot systems and field material both large and small. Tankard Nurseries was one of the first nurseries to begin growing in the Pot in Pot system. Many plants are grown in the field and transplanted to larger pots. We are continually expanding our selection of large potted plants in 20, 25 and 50 gallon containers. Still there are many acres of standard field production. There is also a new 4.2 acre retractable roof structure that allows us to manipulate the environment to enhance the work of natural elements.
We propagate 90% of our plant material. Importantly, propagated material is single stuck to benefit the lifespan of the plant. Cycle time is a priority here and the large, beefy liners we produce come from liner beds or 3.5” peat pots, which decrease cycle time significantly. There are no plastic liner pots to hassle with or throw away. Propagation is a core competency that allows us to produce consistent sustainable plants in a timely fashion.
All plants are now machine dug by either Optimal or Pazzaglia diggers. Root pruning by hand and machine is a mainstay that promotes dense root systems for making transplanting to landscape successful.
Tankard Nurseries is also proud to be an advocate for the industry. Ed Tankard, our president, currently serves as the Legislative Chair and Vice President for the Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association as well as senator for the American Nursery and Landscape Association. It is our philosphy to act as a positive force in our community, industry, state and country. To support that philosophy, we have supported organizations that improve our environment, promote our industry, enhance the Eastern Shore culture and economy and promote citizen involvement in government. The organizations in which we have taken an active role include Eastern Shore of Virginia Land Trust, the Barrier Islands Center, Virginia Marine Resources Commission and Northampton Conservation Voters.
John Ed and Sam Tankard, two hardworking brothers and graduates of Virginia Polytechnic Institute, began lining out their first nursery stock in 1933. Sam, sporting a Harvard Landscape Architecture degree and working for a landscape nursery in Hickory, North Carolina convinced John Ed, a farmer and county agent to convert truck farm acreage to nursery stock. After World War II, they began to earnestly distribute nursery stock in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.
John Ed's son, John E. Jr., began working for Tankard Nurseries in 1957, after graduating from Long Island Agricultural & Technical Institute, where he studied horticulture, and then spending two years in Germany with the Army's armored calvary division. Although no longer with us, John Jr.'s legacy of integrity, reliability and compassion remain as fixtures that guide us daily.