Kale’s Nursery & Landscape Service, Inc. marks 65 years as one of Princeton favorites
TABLE OF TREES: “We sell a lot of high quality specimen trees – of all kinds: native, exotic, evergreen, shade, flower and all sizes. We also install large trees – 25 feet. In addition, we ship trees all over the east coast. Customers know they can count on our high quality samples. Douglas W. Kale (left), owner and president of Kale’s Nursery & Landscape Service, Inc., is shown with his son Scott as they prepare the trees for delivery to the new owners.
By Jean Stratton
Magnolie, cherry, pear, dogwood, azalea, forsythia, lilac! Do you have a favorite?
Either way, Kale’s Nursery & Landscape Service, Inc. is sure to have it. With all hydrangeas, rhododendrons, roses, pansies, tulips, geraniums, daffodils, lettuce, tomatoes, strawberries, basil, thyme and rosemary – whatever makes your garden a permanent pleasure!
This detached family garden and long-time favorite landscaped center is celebrating its 65th anniversary. In an era when family businesses are much less prevalent than in the past, this is a proud and welcome achievement.
Founded in 1956 by Herbert Kale, it still stands at its original location, 133 Carter Road. It started as a landscape design and construction company, says Douglas W. Kale, current owner and president, and son of Herbert Kale.
A boy from his hometown, born at Princeton Hospital, Douglas Kale knew he had always wanted to continue the family business, offering quality products and helpful, knowledgeable service. As a boy he worked in the nursery on weekends and in the summer, learning about the operation. After earning a horticultural degree from Rutgers University, he joined the company full time.
“When dad retired, I expanded my business into retail in 1977,” he recalls. “Many of our customers had asked to buy plants and trees. Landscaping is still a big part of the business and in order to provide customers with the best quality we grow many of our trees, shrubs and plants. We grow most of our ornamental trees and some conifers. “
In addition, the garden center is stocked with good quality potted perennials, all kinds of annuals, ornamental shrubs and potted plants. And everything to make your garden grow! Planters of all sizes, types and designs; also mulch, topsoil, potting soil and fertilizer. In addition, upgrades such as water fountains, wind chimes and fascinating birdhouses for squash birds.
Kale’s customers have always enjoyed their gardens, and this has only increased with the advent of COVID, Kale notes. “People spend more time at home and want to have beautiful gardens and landscapes.
“Our customers run the gamut from gardeners – from passionate DIY enthusiasts who take care of preparation, planting and maintenance to those who just love to relax and take in their beautiful surroundings. Gardening is also a well-known stress relieving activity – important nowadays!
Helping clients with landscaping is a big part of the business, he adds. This includes advice to homeowners regarding the placement of plants for sun and shade, and advice on color combinations and flowering during different seasons.
Hedges and screens
“We have landscape architects, we design and install. We also have material to use as hedges and screens in the yard for privacy, such as holly, boxwood and evergreen foliage. It is becoming more and more popular for privacy as people spend more time enjoying their backyard. We help with the right kind of plant material. “
Another important part of Kale’s business is resolving drainage issues, Kale adds. “We have drainage specialists to deal with water runoff issues, and we can also help build a rain garden. We find solutions. “
The majority of the company’s work is residential, but Kale’s has also provided assistance with commercial properties, including Grounds for Sculpture. “We did a lot of installation work for them for a long time,” Kale reports.
“We also have many long-standing residential customers in Princeton and the area,” he adds. “Customers now include children, even grandchildren, of our original customers.”
“We also have a great staff, and many have been with us for a very long time. Two, who have just retired, were here 42 and 45 years old. When our team comes to your property, you can be sure that the planting will be done correctly by very knowledgeable staff and supervised by a supervisor with years of experience.
Many factors influence a business like Kale’s, including climate and environmental change. “It’s a constant challenge, and there are constant changes,” says Kale. “Climate change is a factor that affects the growing season with warmer weather.”
The business has changed over the years and some of the changes are positive, he says. “There have been big improvements, with the arrival of new hybrids and varieties, which offer better flowers, better color and better durability with stronger branch construction. For example, beautiful new elms are coming.
“We have to stay up to date with constant education, awareness of improvements and progress. In addition, customers are better informed thanks to the Internet and computers. Businesses must always adapt to change, and there are also new government requirements.
“Kale’s has always been a place for high quality, great selection and great advice,” he continues. “Our standards are very high and we are fortunate to be in an area where people value quality.”
He points out that staff go to producers across the country to find the best materials. “We go to North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and the West Coast, including Oregon. We have 60 years of experience with some producers. it takes time and effort to find special plant material, and we have very interesting and unusual plant material. We also ship to customers everywhere, including factory brokers.
“Of course the good thing is that customers can come here and see our selection, and hang out to see the great variety.”
A beautiful garden and landscape becomes a personal oasis, carefully fashioned for your continued enjoyment, he adds. Plus, it improves the possible future sale of the property, and realtors sometimes approach homeowners about landscaping improvements.
Over time, he emphasizes: “Your landscape can mature with you. If you are moving and downsizing in a smaller house, for example, you may want to improve and adapt the new landscape. “
Customers represent a wide age group, he adds, because gardening is for all ages. “We can also provide appropriate opportunities as people get older, including raised beds, which can be easier on the knees!”
As Princeton gardeners well know, deer are a lifelong presence. They continually munch on their favorite hosta and tulips – and much more – leading many gardeners to distraction.
“The deer population has exploded,” Kale observes, “and they’re destroying the landscape. This is the biggest change over the years and the biggest challenge we face. Fences (at least eight feet high) are the best solution, but there are a variety of deer repellants available as well.
Among the fences available is one made by Walpole Outdoors, a company known for its high quality outdoor products, ranging from gates, railings, arbors, trellises and pergolas to benches, chairs, patio furniture, birdhouses. , planters, etc.
The products are made of AZEK strong cellular PVC, an eco-friendly synthetic material that offers the look and feel of wood and is very durable. Kale’s has been a distributor of Walpole Outdoors products for several years, and a separate room has been set aside to display the items.
Point of pride
Douglas Kale is proud of his family’s long tradition and exemplary reputation. The company has received many accolades over the years, and the fact that his son Scott has now become the third generation to take part in the company is another point of pride.
“It’s a real affirmation to have a 65th birthday. Especially in these times when you don’t see as many family businesses as you did in the past. I am proud that my son Scott is now part of Operation Kale. He takes care of the larger residential landscaping work, the wholesale business, and also manages the nursery.
“We always strive to provide customers with something unique and of the highest quality,” he continues. “We introduce new ideas, new design and new products to accompany the design. We will visit a client to consult with them and help them with suggestions. I enjoy discussing choices with people and working with them to implement their choices. We can always show customers how to be more efficient with their garden.
“I especially enjoy the feeling at the end of a job and the satisfaction of seeing the result of hard work and observing customer appreciation. It’s wonderful to help people improve their property.
The springtime splendor on display at Kale’s can create some magical moments, but Kale’s is a year-round treasure, and everyone looks forward to a visit in December when their Christmas shop is filled with holiday mystique and sightseeing. with Santa Claus are a must!
Kale is open Monday to Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 a.m. (609) 921-9248. Website: www.kalesnursery.com.