Whether you picked up gardening this pandemic or have always been an enthusiast, there are few things that will up your plant game like a trip to a local nursery. If you’re looking for major garden inspiration and a car full of healthy young plants to head home with, Kerns Landscapes and Nursery in the Catskill Mountain town of Jewett is a destination worth detouring for.
Founded by Pat and Bob Kerns in the early ‘80s, this jewel of a nursery is nestled in the picturesque peaks between Hunter and Windham, not far from where the couple met in college working at a summer resort. The two settled in Jewett and were quickly drawn to careers in the plant world: Pat at a nearby greenhouse and Bob in landscaping. Today, they have over 40 years’ experience in the nursery and landscaping business, a team of over 20 knowledgeable sales staff, and over 600 varieties of perennial plants and just as many annuals, herbs, and vegetables, all grown in their eight greenhouses.
Pat is also an artist by training and her eye for color is evident the second you step foot among the nursery’s incredible selection. It’s easy to while away hours meandering along the neat, pebble-lined paths looking at all the gorgeous options. In addition to the knowledgeable staff, you’ll find help in the decision-making process from the information cards Pat has created for each section that include a photo of the mature plant and clear, concise information on its attributes.
First-time visitors will also get a thrill from following the paths right into the Kerns’ own front yard. Located just beyond the nursery, their home acts as an outdoor showroom for many of the plants they carry. “We have an open property where people can walk around and get the full experience of the place,” says Pat. “We even had groups of garden enthusiasts come for lunch and tours. It’s a nice diversion for these trying times because it’s all outside in a safe environment.”
Experimenting with plants in their home landscape has always been the best way for the Kerns to test each plant’s growing habits and hardiness for the colder mountain climate. It's also this instinctive talent for how each plant, tree, and shrub will thrive in its environment that has made Bob a name in the landscaping business. He’s currently the president of the board at the Mountain Top Arboretum in Tannersville and his work can be seen at homes and businesses all over the area, including the picture-perfect landscaping at the nearby Deer Mountain Inn.
With even just a quick trip around the nursery, the Kerns’ house, and their peaceful gardens, it’s easy to understand why they’ve become a Catskills go-to for plant enthusiasts. It’s a serene, plant-filled oasis where you’ll quickly find your inspiration, and the trunk of your car, full to the brim.