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4010 Mt Diablo Blvd.
Lafayette, CA, 94549

Located in the Bay Area, CA, we're a family-owned garden center offering unusual and hard-to-find plants & gifts. Established 1946.

Life is Beautiful Blog

Employee Spotlight: Jan Bush

Blaire Benson

Hi! My name is Jan Bush and I am the Manager/Buyer for Orchard Nursery & Florist's Outdoor Living Department. 

How long have you been working at Orchard Nursery & Florist?

 I have worked at Orchard Nursery & Florist for about seventeen years now. I started in 1981 and worked here until 1991; then I took eighteen years off to raise my baby. When she went off to college I decided it was time to come back. That was in the fall of 2009 and I’ve been here since.

What is your favorite part about working here?

The best thing about working at Orchard is the small town family feeling that this place and my co-workers exude. Our whole crew is extremely supportive and close-knit.  I’ve looked for this feeling at other jobs and businesses, but it seems to be a rare commodity. Being able to work outside, surrounded by beautiful plants, and having tons of opportunities to be creative are also on my 'favorite things about working at Orchard' list.

What are some of your favorite memories in your time working here? 

I have two memories that stand out from the blur of memories from over the years. The first one is a Christmas memory. Tom, our boss, arranged for the whole crew and our spouses to sing carols on trolleys as they moved through the streets of San Francisco. It was extremely heart warming and fun to be with all of my friends and their families sharing the magic of the holiday season. My second memory is a laugh-out-loud crazy fun memory. We had all stayed after work one evening to throw a farewell party for our dry goods manager, Bart. Someone brought a huge sheet cake and instead of consuming it, we decorated each other and the garden shop with it. Some say alcohol was involved, but all I can remember was yellow frosting and how much fun it was.

What are some upcoming projects you are excited about? 

With the holidays coming, there are always new projects that need to get done. We start with Halloween and move right on through to New Years.  There are several of us that are involved with merchandising, but I am lucky enough to have been chosen to spearhead the outside Halloween display. Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday. For me, Halloween starts in January and for the past couple of years I have been going to the Halloween & Party Expo in New Orleans. It is a great trip and I don’t think there is a better place than NOLA to have a Halloween show. It is extremely inspiring.

As I am shopping, I let the best products I find be the inspiration for our theme. This year I ran across some big and darkly beautiful butterflies/moths and as luck would have it, they were on sale. The next thing that made me jump for joy were some fabulous animated witches. With those two products in mind I came up with our “Witch’s Enchanted Forest” theme, and then with some help from my friends and Google, we put together a plan to make the theme come to life.

 We covered our outdoor garden shop with hundreds of cardboard shingles (that almost everyone helped cut out in their spare time).  We added giant lollipops and garlands of oversized candies. The shop now looks like the Witch’s Gingerbread House in Hansel and Gretel.  We (my great crew of Laura, Christina, Carolyn and Cassie) also constructed five life sized forest trees out of cardboard cement tubes and craft paper, giving our witches a forest to call home.   Our display turned out beautifully and I’m a little worried that it will be difficult to top it next year.

What is your favorite season and why? 

My favorite season of course is the fall season, or Indian summer as we like to call it around here.  Primarily because it begins with Halloween, but there are other things about fall that make me happy. I love the rich tones of the colors that we use to decorate for fall: oranges, golds, browns and mossy greens. I love pumpkins of all colors and shapes, from the traditional orange to the bumpy green ones. I love that the air is crisp and while there is a chill in the morning, it is still warm enough to spend your days outside.

What is your favorite flower or plant to work with and why?

On Arbor Day one of my co-workers asked me what my favorite tree is and I think that it is also my favorite plant/flower. It is Eucalyptus ficifolia or ‘Orange Splendor.’ Mother Nature surely wanted to put on a show when she planted the seed for this tree. The flower color is electric; the foliage is a beautiful deep green and the flower pods and seed pods look cool on the tree, as well as in a flower arrangement.  But, like children, most plants are special in one way or another and I really shouldn’t pick a favorite.

What is something that people might not know about you?

Only the folks that have asked me where I met my husband might know this funny fact about me, but most people don’t: I know how to drive, use and fix almost any kind of farm tractor. During my stint at Cal Poly, all Agriculture majors had to take a tractors class. That’s where I met my adorable spouse,  dug some pretty deep holes and learned to turn mole hills into mountains.