Campbell’s was founded in 1912 by Claude C. Campbell, then only 34 years old. Employed by the U.S. Government as a railway mail clerk, Claude had a love of plants and grew a large garden in his backyard. When neighbors and friends began asking whether he would sell his extra plants, Claude simply expanded a hobby he loved and added a little extra to his family’s income at the same time. In 1926, Claude and his wife Maime moved the business to an acre of land on 3600 “J” street. Bob Campbell, Claude’s only son, attended the University of Nebraska where he earned his Masters Degree in Plant Ecology. After serving in the Navy in W.W.II, Bob returned to Lincoln in 1946 with his new bride, Ellen and took over active management of the company. In 1950 the nursery was moved to nine acres of land at 2342 South 40th Street. The active growing of nursery stock began, and Bob, with the help of his wife, Ellen, initiated the move toward the full service nursery and garden centers you see today.
In 1960, 80 acres south of Lincoln was purchased for growing of additional landscape nursery stock, this eventually became the Pine Lake Road garden center in 1978. In 2000 things changed again with the tree growing fields and landscape production moving to 134th and “O” streets.
Today Campbell’s Nurseries has grown to include many aspects: landscape design, installation and maintenance; two full line garden centers which offer gifts, home accessories and gardening supplies as well as nursery stock; and more than 200 acres of production—greenhouse, container and field. Mike, Doug, and Sandy now run the company, while Dick is retired. Doug supervises the container and field production; Mike oversees the greenhouse production; and Sandy is in charge of the office and garden centers.
In September of 2006 Ellen Campbell passed on and Bob followed in March of 2009 but they enjoyed watching their eleven grandchildren become involved with the business. Four grandchildren, Cassie Garrett, Cory Priefert, John Campbell and Andy Campbell, are full-time employees.
The greenhouses at 40th Street are home to our annual production crew. Every winter they’re busy planting annuals, vegetables, herbs, and large succulents. Staff members there also design hanging baskets and many of our mixed annual planters. Summers are spent pinching and perfecting mums, asters, and fall accent plants. Throughout the fall their focus is on our favorite part of the Christmas season: Campbell’s home-grown poinsettias.
Perennials, shrubs, and trees are grown at the Farm at 134th and O streets. Crew members spend the winter potting and pruning plugs and bare root perennials and shrubs. Trees are grown in the fields west of the greenhouse. Throughout the spring and summer the plants are shipped to the garden centers or planted in landscapes.