The beautiful oceans of red and white have graced the greenhouses of Down Home Ranch for many years, but many of our friends have no idea of how this annual endeavor came to be. Let’s dive in…
Horticulture was on the forefront of our founders’ minds from the beginning. Thanks to a gracious donor, the Ranch was gifted their first greenhouse, a large, open-sided hoop house, to get started. A few years later, Joe Matthews, an Abilene businessman, donated and delivered the parts for five additional greenhouses.
Without funds to pay someone to build them, we figured out how to do it ourselves, panel by panel, bolt by bolt. We were even able to recruit Lambda Omega Alpha, a Catholic fraternity from UT Austin, to help! (Little did we know that one of their members, Brian Loer, would become the Head Grower for the entire operation one day!)
When the greenhouses were up and functioning, another friend magically showed up to teach us the ins and outs of growing poinsettias. C.O. Smith was owner and operator of Hill Country Nursery in Austin, and out of the kindness of his heart and appreciation for our mission, shared his knowledge and experience with us.
We started small and worked our way up to as many as 15,000 plants in one season. Our team of volunteers, staff and Ranchers pour their hearts into planting, watering, pinching, spreading, packing and delivering thousands of blooms each year. Our plants have been picked up and delivered to people all over Central Texas and even Texas’ favorite grocery store, H-E-B, has started selling them in their Elgin, TX location! The plants have been used as fundraisers for schools, sports and dance teams, theater groups and more! Churches have even decorated their sanctuaries with the festive plants.
From the very beginning, the success of the horticulture has always been dependent on friendship and kindness.
If you’re interested in playing a purposeful part in this Down Home Ranch tradition, here are a few ways:
-Pre-Order your own poinsettias today!
-Volunteer to pack the plants for delivery!
-Share the word on social media!
To everyone who has purchased plants, helped out in the greenhouses during crunch time or donated to the Ranch to help make this venture continue, thank you! We couldn’t do it without you.