James Nursery Company began in 1907 as Northern Nursery Company. Started by Albert and Charles Ferguson, the nursery’s first location was at 2424 Arapahoe Street in what is now downtown Denver. (Yes, that number is also the root of our phone number, 303-288-2424. We also had P.O. Box 2424 for many years.) At that time they did not grow any of their own stock; it was brought in by rail from nurseries in the mid-west. This location was used primarily for heeling-in bare root material before shipment to customers, mainly during the spring season.
Soon the Fergusons began growing some of their own bare root stock on ten acres across the street from the old St Vincent’s School at 39th and Lowell in Denver. (Imagine it as a rural farming area in about 1912, not as the urban area it is today!) From there they began buying ten-acre parcels at 64th and Washington (way out there), ultimately with thirty acres total. It was one of the largest nurseries in the Rocky Mountain West at that time.
In 1920 Albert Ferguson passed away and in less than a year Charles had died as well. It was then that Carlisle Ferguson, Charles’ son who had been active in the business, took over operations. The nursery continued to thrive, it even had it’s own railroad spur to ship and receive material.
In 1927 Steven H. James began working at Northern Nursery. He eventually took over the responsibilities of day-to-day operations, while Mr. Ferguson focused on the business management. In 1949, Mr. James was offered the chance to buy in as a partner. No cash was exchanged, however. Mr. James traded for his partnership with two acres of upright junipers that he had grown on his own time at his home on South Chase Street.
During the ensuing years the business evolved from growing strictly bare root stock to a combination of several nursery products. Most of the deciduous trees were sold as bare root, even trees as large as four to five inches in caliper. The nursery also sold thousands of balled and burlapped upright junipers, a very popular tree in the late 1940’s to the early 1970’s. Also added were container grown trees and shrubs, which extended the selling season beyond the spring digging season for the first time in the company’s history.
Mr. Ferguson died at the age of 86 in 1974. His heirs were not interested in continuing the business and his assets, including 18 acres of the nursery at 62nd and Washington Street were liquidated. Mr. James, now at the age of 77, offered his remaining 9 acres of land and the nursery stock on it to his three grandsons: Mike, Dale and Danny, “to keep the business going”. In honor of Granddad James, the decision was made to change the name to James Nursery Company.
The grandsons began operations as James Nursery Company in January 1975 on the seven acres at 64th and Washington. They soon began leasing small parcels of land nearby of two to five acres for expanded production of B&B and bare root nursery stock. The business began to evolve from a retail/wholesale operation to the mainly wholesale operation of today. Products include container grown trees and shrubs; B&B deciduous trees; pine and spruce; spreading evergreens and a full line of nursery stock for our wholesale customers.
In 1977 Danny was bought out and in 1990 Mike decided to move on. Dale DeJacamo took over 100% and continued to run the nursery.
In 1984 James Nursery Company bought 45 acres of prime farmland on Road 6 & 37 in Weld County to consolidate their growing operations. Additional land has been acquired since 1984 for a total of 72 acres at the Weld County location. The container/holding yard operation continued at 64th and Washington streets. Unfortunately, in June of 2001 the farm was pummeled with golf ball size and larger hail. The total inventory of 72 acres and 50, 569 trees was completely destroyed. The trees were grubbed out and burned that winter. Ultimately, management made the difficult decision to discontinue the farm operation and focus on the wholesale operation on York Street.
Since 1993, the company has continued to grow and maintain a loyal customer base which will lead James Nursery Company into the future. In 2000, an additional holding yard, almost 4 acres exactly, was established just southwest of the main yard, 78th and York, which allows for a larger holding capacity of B&B trees. James Nursery Company currently sells almost 10,000 B&B trees between the two holding yards. Roughly 38,000 container shrubs are potted up and sold throughout a single year. However, in order to facilitate organized operational methods and practices, the staff of James Nursery Company has become a large part of day-to-day operations.
We have had many team members contribute to the success of James Nursery Company. Cheryl Puckett joined the team in 1993 as Office/HR Manager. Other exceptional people have contributed in recent years to service our customers including Antonio Yanez, Yard Manager; Joshua Favuie, Quality Control; and Bill Clifford, Sales Manager.
In 2014, Dale DeJacamo decided it was time to retire. Joe Haskett, who has worked for the company for many years and started full time in 2002, made the decision to purchase James Nursery Company. Although the parent company has changed to J&S Ventures, Inc., the business will continue on as James Nursery Company.
James Nursery Company has continued to thrive for over one hundred years, thanks to the efforts of our dedicated employees and also to all of our loyal customers and friends.