Park's: America's Most Trusted Gardening Resource
Building a Family Tradition Since 1868
It all started in 1867 when 15 year-old George Watt Park, a very enterprising lad, passed around to friends and neighbors a list of seeds he had grown and collected in his mother's Pennsylvania garden. He then decided to advertise his seeds for sale in The Rural American at a cost of $3.50—and it brought him $6.50 in seed orders! He then saved up $10.00, bought a hand press and in 1868 printed his own 8-page catalog in his mother's parlor—and the George W. Park Seed Company was born!
Although founded in Libonia, Pennsylvania, Park Seed had called Greenwood, S.C. home for more than 80 years. How did this change of location come about? You could say that love had a hand in it. At the age of 64, George W. Park met the much younger Mary Barratt, a home demonstration agent from Greenwood, South Carolina. She had written to him for advice on teaching horticulture to homemakers. For 2 years they corresponded and what began as friendship based on their common horticultural interests blossomed into love. They were married in 1918. A few years later, Park moved the company to Mary's hometown—Greenwood.
In 1975, Park Seed purchased Wayside Gardens of Mentor, Ohio and moved its offices here to the Park facility. Early in its history, Wayside became the most respected mail order nursery in the U.S. and the Park family has successfully continued and built on its tradition of excellence. Waysides horticulturists strive to find only the finest quality perennials, trees, and shrubs and travel the world in search of new and unusual garden treasures.
Seeds in Space Program
In a joint effort, Park Seed Company and NASA developed the SEEDS (Space-Exposed Experiment Developed for Students) program to study what effect the radiation-bombarded environment of space would have on different types of seeds. 14.5 million seeds from Parks were sent into space for almost six years. Upon their return to earth in 1991, the seeds were given to an estimated 4 million students and researchers in the United States plus 30 foreign countries. Data collected from the students and researchers, after growing out and testing the seeds, showed that the plants have very few significant effects from prolonged exposure to outer space. This conclusion has far-reaching implications for future space travel, including the feasibility of life-support systems in outer space. And, most importantly, millions of school children, some perhaps the scientists of the future, were able to participate in this unique hands-on science experiment.
Each June, Park's invites visitors to its annual open house, or Flower Day, to see the gardens at their peak, tour the facilities, and take home plants and seeds, as well as ideas, for their own gardens.
All-American Selections (AAS)
Park Seed has been an official AAS trial site for more than 50 years by growing and evaluating the award candidates in our trials alongside their nearest competitions already on the market. Each year, Park's results, along with those from 40 other test sites across North America, determine the winners of this prestigious award that recognizes new flower and vegetable varieties of outstanding merit.
A Richly Diverse and Historical County
Known today for its diverse business economy, Greenwood County has a rich historical heritage. Visit the Ninety Six Historic Site and relive the experience of the Revolutionary War. If you are a gardener or just love flowers, a stop at the nationally known Park Seed Company is an unforgettable experience. For an outdoor experience, visit the Saluda River rapids at Pitts Park adjacent to the historic mill village of Ware Shoals or the CCC era Lake Greenwood State Recreation Area on Lake Greenwood.
Park Seed Company
Located a short distance from downtown Greenwood, this is the largest mail-order seed company in the world. The gardens are open to the public.
Located on the banks of the Saluda River in Ware Shoals, this park interprets the natural history of the river and the town's past.
Visitors can get close to the goats and shop in the gift store for a variety of goat milk products and other related items.
Lake Greenwood State Recreation Area
Developed as a Civilian Conservation Corps project in the 1930s, the park offers camping, picnic facilities, and the Drummond Center.
This antebellum school for girls was founded as the Masonic Female Academy. The town of Cokesbury is located near Greenwood.
This museum, located in downtown Greenwood, features cultural and natural history collections of the area and from around the world.
Greenwood Chamber of Commerce
Located in the heart of Greenwood, the Chamber provides visitors with tourist information and the opportunity to view its unique "Cotton to Genes" exhibit.