M R Gardens is a sustainable nursery and ecologically landscaped farm in the Oakley community of Asheville, NC. We grow primarily native perennials for sale, as well as complementary plants such as groundcovers, vegetable starts and medicinal herbs. We are a community-oriented business, usually selling direct to customers or to landscape designers. We have an online storein which customers reserve their plants and then pick up at the nursery—as well as hold plant shows at the farm. We also offer coaching services in ecological gardening to clients as well as to other professional gardeners.

Megan Riley, Owner of M R Gardens. Photos on this page by Vickie Burick Photography.

The two-acre farm has native flower gardens, naturalized slopes, swales to hold rainwater in the landscape, orchards/forest gardens, and vegetable beds, rich with beneficial microbes. We practice innovative techniques that we've picked up in the last 20+ years from many sources that are ahead of their time.

We offer trainings that often turn into opportunities for income or long-term positions. Because M R Gardens is a small, one-of-a-kind nursery and educational farm, we typically only hire folks who have participated in our educational programs. We are so unique that it’s rare to find previous experiences that would entirely prepare someone adequately to immediately work for this business, although we certainly look forward to hearing what you bring to the table. That said, job applicants usually need to take part in our classes to fully grasp our methodology. If you're only interested in our trainings rather than the potential for income or a long-term position, go ahead and get in touch with us to see if our goals align.

Note that our greenhouse operator and landscape design trainings can last from two months to two years depending on the applicant’s experience, so we can help you with a crowd-sourcing campaign to raise funding for tuition. Since we have been growing high quality, sustainably grown plants for sale since 2011, we have many devoted, long-term customers who are willing to contribute to see this business succeed. Cost of tuition varies depending on the skills and experience of the applicant.

Megan Riley is the trainer these programs

Over the years, we have paired complementary services with the nursery so that we can stay committed to our value of sustainability, while also producing high quality plants and creating a rejuvenating workplace. Throughout the last 10 years of incremental growth, the enterprise has remained manageable so that it never becomes a burden—it’s never boring, and rarely stressful. It is possible to run a successful business and keep the stress minimal if the grower has a high level of skill—in both propagation and management. Our goal is to keep this work enjoyable—even as the nursery and educational farm continues to grow—because we believe this care transfers to the plants and to the customers. That does not mean that this work is always relaxing—it takes diligence, focus and commitment on every level, including internal/personal work, to be able to achieve almost any significant goal in life.

Currently we are seeking a greenhouse operator and landscape designer. Our preference is to first train an advanced grower, as described here, but if you are a beginner with a green thumb, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Check back this summer for announcements about an ecological landscaper position. We also hire cleaners for our tiny house on Airbnb, although that position is currently filled.