Williams Nursery is a family owned garden center located on 6 1/2 acres in Westfield NJ. They have one of the largest selections of annuals, perennials, and shrubs in NJ. Williams nursery has won national awards for their fall flower bulb display. Their Nursery has been featured in the national trade publication Nursery Retailer. They are also active in Garden Centers of America and the Garden Center Management Group. Still true to their roots, they are always looking for new and unusual. Williams Nursery are active participants in Garden Centers of America, networking with garden center owners from all over the country.
The seeds for Williams Nursery were planted in 1920 by William “Edward” Williams and his son, Roy Williams. The property was originally 13 acres in the late 1920s roughly half of the property was deeded to the Union County Park System through the newly created Green Acres program.
The store consisted of an open building with a large overhang. A brightly colored flower from the then named “Williams Floral Farm” proved to be a well-sought item.
The next decade brought diversity. Roy Williams became the known local expert on plants and flowers. When the Depression hit, much of their inventory was sold to Echo Lake Country Club for pennies on the dollar.
After the Depression, the store was moved to where the existing store is now. Roy Williams began traveling throughout the United States for new and exciting plant varieties. Many of these rare plants were sold to the Doris Duke estates, and many were planted in the quickly developing Westfield community.
In the early 1950’s the store was rebuilt into a gift shop with a glass greenhouse roof. “Williams Floral Farm was the only place in the state that offered gorgeous camellia plants in bloom”. The 1950’s also brought a large cut-flower boom. Ed Williams, then a teenager, was following in his father’s footsteps,”he said his father taught him that hard work leads to success, and the entire spring season would pass without a day off.”
First the trend was cut gladiolus, then as the market shifted it was cut dahlias. The Williamses adapted their crop to meet the market demand. In the early 1960’s the cut-flower market tapered off, the Williamses focus was diverted to selling plant material again. At this point the name of the business was changed to Williams Nursery.
In Roy and Edward Williams’ travels they found new suppliers in California and Oregon. In a first for the nursery industry, they brought these unusual plants to the east coast
They began selling these plants to other garden centers, and became the first plant broker in the eastern United States to bring in west coast material. Now 40 years later, almost all garden centers receive some material from the west coast.
Edward Williams marketing ability began to shine in the 1970’s when he introduced Japanese rock gardens into the area. His garden was one of the first in the New Jersey Flower Show. His wife, Mrs. Joan Williams, took on the job as controller.