HG History: Humble Beginnings
Upon his return from military service, Don E. Riddle, Jr. entered college set on a career in Horticulture. His studies and a long-standing tradition of truck gardening were to become the inspiration for Homestead Gardens.
With support from his parents, the business was founded in the backyard of the Riddle home in Hyattsville, Maryland. The level of activity during those formative years set the pace for the company’s rapid development. The 1970’s saw the construction of the first greenhouse–an 8′ x 11′ structure–adjacent to the family home, and the introduction of azaleas to customers in the Hyattsville, University Park, College Park & Adelphi areas.
The business expanded rapidly, and a search soon was underway for a more suitable location. Primary attention was focused on several of the major arteries of the Washington beltway. In 1973, Homestead Gardens was incorporated and opened a new facility on Central Avenue in pastoral Davidsonville, Maryland, a short distance southwest of Annapolis.
At the time, Davidsonville was sparsely populated without the traffic flow favorable to drivein business. Riddle developed the idea of transforming Homestead into a destination Garden Center and began offering a series of events and festivals throughout the year to coax customers into taking a drive into the country.
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HG History: A Timeline
- 1980: Homestead Gardens Landscape Division was founded.
- 1985: Additional land was purchased to accomodate the new Wholesale Production Division.
- Aug. 1995: 40 pregnant llamas and 6 studs arrive to Homestead to form the Homestead Llama herd in their brand new llama barn constructed just for them. Within a few years the herd had grown to 120 llamas!
- 1998: Oriole Park at Camden Yards opens for the season with re-charged landscaping courtesy of Homestead Gardens Landscaping. This partnership would last (?) years.
- 2004: Awarded “Garden Center of the Year” by the Garden Centers of America.
- 2008: Awarded “Nursery Retailer of the Year 2008″ by Nursery Retailer Magazine.