M R Gardens: Healthy Plants, Healthy Landscapes 

M R Gardens is a resource for both home and professional gardeners; landscape designers; and community organizers. We have a one-of-a-kind sustainable nursery, specializing in native perennials as well as high quality vegetable and herb seedlings, usually selling direct to customer. We can also fill large orders for landscape designers. Owner Megan Riley gives advice on how to install no-till Microbe Rich ("M R") garden systems, giving tours of her ecologically landscaped farm as well as consults at clients' properties.

Megan's philosophy is that well-managed gardens add to growers' quality of life on multiple levels, and those benefits should extend to all segments of the community. "Everyone can benefit from a garden, no matter how big or small it is," Megan said. "As our culture switches to healthy eating, reviving tasty nutritious vegetable varieties that are not easily shipped, more people will want to take part in the growing of their own food. The more we coordinate this endeavor—and provide education so that people have successful gardens—the more that healthy food becomes affordable for everyone in the community." In the meantime, the flowers planted around the vegetable garden are beneficial to the crops and the surrounding ecosystem, making sure it retains a healthy balance.

Four principles guide M R Gardens: Health, Community, Traditions and Sustainable Systems 

Health: Since Megan grows on a small scale, she gives individual attention to the plants and her customers in hopes of producing healthy products and relationships. She follows organic practices. The plants add joy to the customers' lives, and the activity in the garden is therapeutic.

Community: Creating a mission-driven business with strong values and a strong foundation is one of the best contributions to the community. The annual plant shows at M R Gardens are a great way for community members to make connections, and the on-site group classes foster relationships between gardeners. Megan also connects with and donates to community organizations that are spreading access of healthy food to low-income areas.

Traditions: The corner of Oakley where M R Gardens is located used to be a strong farming community, and her neighbors often talk about the spectacular garden that the former owners of her land tended. Bits of that gardening tradition still remain in the community, and Megan hopes to re-inspire her neighbors. Megan buys seed from a local company as well as exchanges heirloom seeds with Cherokee Reservation growers and others who have been in the mountains for generations.

Sustainable Systems: Megan promotes a no-till, low maintenance garden system that relies on layers of organic matter, microorganisms and healthy soil structure to create a good habitat for plants. She also incorporates native and/or beneficial plants to attract pollinating insects and garden pest predators. When building the nursery, she examined every element of the business and the greenhouses to make sure she is being as sustainable as possible.

Call 828.333.4151 or email to place an order or set up an appointment.