Pleasant Run Nursery was started on a farm in central New Jersey in 1998 by Richard Hesselein. He had grown up in California as a 4th generation nurseryman, with a degree in botany from Humboldt State University. He relocated to New Jersey in 1977 when he and Heidi Flemer Hesselein (also a 4th generation nurseryperson) were married. Both worked at Princeton Nurseries for a number of years, increasing their love for and knowledge of a very broad range of woody ornamental trees and shrubs, field grown and containerized. Heidi and Richard are NJ Certified Nursery Landscape Professionals through the NJ Nursery & Landscape Association. Richard was awarded NJNLA Nurseryman of the Year in 2008. When they started Pleasant Run they wanted to pursue their passion for growing hard-to-find and cutting-edge woody plants, perennials, grasses and tropicals as well as what has become a growing line of standard garden-worthy landscape plants. Richard’s interest in collecting and grafting Magnolias and other rare ornamentals has added to Pleasant Run’s lengthy list of budded, custom-grown varieties.
The nursery started with 9 bow houses and 1 propagation structure. Today, it has grown to encompass a number of growing areas and 95 houses with a total of 15 acres in production. A state of the art iron removal system to improve irrigation water quality has been installed in their pump house, a shade house and a potting barn have been built, and the propagation house recently received a make-over with a new mist system allowing Pleasant Run Nursery to propagate rare and hard-to-find liners.
Richard and Heidi have raised 4 children in the 18th century farm house on Pleasant Run’s acreage. They share the farm with numerous poultry, peacocks, donkeys, cats and dogs. Whenever possible they travel to tradeshows, public gardens, and private nurseries, always on the lookout for the best in new plant introductions. They have felt blessed in having the opportunity to get to know all kinds of amazing people in this diverse industry, and look forward to many more years of learning and sharing.