Lincoln Nurseries is a wholesale grower of nursery stock. Our customers are licensed and engaged in the buying and selling of nursery products. With a large selection of nursery stock, you can offer your customers a wide range of choices of larger, healthier stock. We ship in our own fleet of trucks, and trailer options including refrigerated and lift gate access. So your order arrives healthy and ready to sell and plant.
Around 1880, Aart de Wit Sr. started his nursery in Boskoop, The Netherlands, which was known at that time, the nursery capital of the world. He began his nursery like many other area nurseries with rose multiflora under stock. This under stock was shipped to the United States and Canada by exporters who bought them from the startups for $5.00/thousand. Under stock had to be bundled, graded, trimmed, and made ready for packing. After shipment was made they had to wait until July 1 or Christmas, whichever came first, to get paid. Aart’s wife owned and operated a very small grocery store at this time also which is the way that the family got groceries at wholesale and also sold groceries to the neighbors and friends.
While the nursery grew with new varieties of shrubs, the family also grew. Paul, his son, felt the need to continue in his father’s footsteps and continued growing a larger variety of shrub liners. Starting with hardwoods, then adding the growing of softwoods under double glass frames. As things progressed, they started to graft a large variety of Cherries, Apples, Crabs, Caragana and Plums.
World War II took its toll and plants were not needed as they had been. The only item that sold was boxwood because the Germans planted them on their airport runways for camouflage. Every time a plane went up it would destroy a few thousand of those boxwood. When it became known what the Germans were using the boxwoods for, Paul stopped growing them.
After the war there were restrictions placed on the nursery industry. Each business could only grow on a prescribed amount of land. Another restriction was our nursery industries dependended on exports to other countries. Post war countries with little money had a habit of closing down their borders. This action would cancel all orders.
Paul had a brother-in-law who lived in Muskegon, Michigan USA who had often suggested that he move his family there. In 1949 Paul moved his wife, Sons Aart and Harry, and Daughter Mary to Mentor, Ohio. Aart’s fiancee Margaretha de Kort arrived from The Netherlands in 1951 with her family. On September 6, 1952 Aart and Margaretha de Wit were married.
In 1955 Aart and Margaretha moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan and founded Lincoln Nurseries. Their vision was to establish a successful wholesale nursery. It all started on 15 acres of land they purchased with a $500 down payment borrowed from Margaretha’s father. The first greenhouse was a plastic lean-to, kept warm with heating cables and an oil stove. The first year it produced 15,000 evergreen cuttings along with the stock they had grown in Ohio after work. The first plantings were made in 1956 – all by hand with a line and a trowel. Acquiring more land as time went on, they came to own about 200 acres and over 40,000 square feet of heated propagating houses, which produced at one time over 2.5 million cuttings, over 1 million of which was dedicated to the Taxol Cancer project. Now there are over 100 16′ x 300′ polyhouses for container production, over 40 heated houses, and 10 medium temperature houses. Field operation has slowed somewhat, but the containers have taken over. We now grow evergreens, shrubs, trees, roses, perennials, ground covers and some fruits.
Aart and Margaretha have retired from the nursery. After their retirement the nursery was run and owned by three of their nine children Bernie and his wife Margie, Shirley and her husband Bruce, and Bryan. Unexpectedly Bryan passed away in 2011, and Aart passed away in 2013. As Aart and Margaretha’s grandchildren are growing older they are discovering a love for the nursery industry and are working for the family.