Luke Williams has lived on the Mornington Peninsula all his life, and understands the local landscape more than most. Luke’s grandfather owned a small nursery in Langwarrin around 60 years ago so plants have always been in the family’s blood.

Growing up in a family who owned fruit shops throughout Victoria, including Tullys which they ran for a number of years in the early 2000s, Luke's family is united in their love of the land. When Luke's father decided to get out of the fruit market (which had necessitated starting work at 2am and working until late in the day) he chose to start growing plants instead to achieve a better work/life balance. And the family hasn’t looked back.

Image: The Nursery Co plants by Phillip Withers

Luke attended Woodleigh School where he studied Agriculture and Horticulture, so working the land came naturally to him as well. He joined his father's business after finishing school, and it was whilst working at Farmer’s Advanced Trees that Luke saw an opportunity to start brokering plants. At first Luke’s father wasn’t keen on the idea so Luke started the venture on his own about four years ago. His concept was just what the marketplace wanted, and Luke was soon supplying plants to Bunnings and property developers across Melbourne. Gaining traction very quickly, the family decided to get on board and they now work together operating The Nursery Co.

Just over a year ago The Nursery Co opened up a retail arm to the nursery, to complement Luke’s mother’s business, Zuri Home. This beautifully designed space is all about organic textures and earthy hues with an exotic tribal influence in homewares, accessories, designer pieces and clothing. The green wedge land on Woollahra Drive in Mt Eliza is now home to the most stylish and inviting retail outlet, nursery and café. The kerb appeal is quite breathtaking.

“It’s taken a while to get traction,” says Luke. “Most people still think we just wholesale. But the word is spreading now. People understand that we have a retail offering albeit with a wholesale mindset, so our pricing is really competitive compared to the average retailer."

Image: The Nursery Co plants by Clapham Landscape

"We have about 15 nurseries on site consigning their product as well. They have their own allocated space where they offer their own plant collections which means we have a really wide range of well known and more quirky plants.”

Image: The Nursery Co plants by Phillip Withers

The Nursery Co now services Victoria as well NSW which accounts for around 30% of stock. Says Luke, “In Victoria the majority of plant product is sold to inner Melbourne hot spots like Toorak and South Yarra, as well as new more high density areas like Somerton for use in street-scapes and council planting. Builders and developers are our core market," explains Luke.

Image: The Nursery Co plants by Colin Hyett Design

"The Mornington Peninsula is only around 10% of our market at this stage, with a very small percentage of that being retail. So there is tremendous growth potential in our local area. We love having human contact with the locals so we can chat to them about where the plants are going and how they are being incorporated into the landscape. We have just started working on another five acre plot next door so we are continually growing, our foot print now extends to over 60 acres. In a few years we plan to open in Sydney as well.”

Image: The Nursery Co plants by Port Phillip Landscaping

Importantly, all of the trees and plants in the retail space are ideally suited to the Mornington Peninsula. So people can feel confident that any plants purchased from The Nursery Co and Zuri Home will survive locally - with love, care and attention of course.

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