Peter and Leslie van Berkum created Van Berkum Nursery in 1987 on a small plot of land in a sandpit near their apartment in Chester, NH

They persuaded the owners to let them start a wholesale perennial nursery there and set out to pipe water in from a nearby river. Their original focus was to grow plants for massing and ground cover. Since less than 5% of landscapers from northern New England used perennials at the time, they did some careful thinking about how to create a market for their product and how to set up a “user friendly” wholesale nursery.

They moved to their current location in 1990, on 22 beautiful acres on a marsh surrounded by hills, in Deerfield, NH. This property was originally in the woods, thus ideally suited to their growing interest in native perennials

It is there that they set to grow and propagate quality perennials for New England horticulture professionals. This has become such a large focus of their operation that they created a line called “New England Woodlanders” of strictly propagated woodland plants native to the New England region.

Today their business has grown to offer over 1200 varieties for sun and shade. Their plants and business model has won numerous awards. Among them the Jeffrey H. Butland Award for outstanding family owned business, given by the SBIA. And the 2015 Outstanding Leadership Award, presented by Ascentria Care Alliance for excellence in hiring practices and helping with immigrant workers.