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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: Geoff Olmstead

Blaire Benson

Hi, Everyone. I'm Geoff Olmstead, the Nursery Manager at Orchard!

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

16 years!

What is your favorite part about working here?

My favorite part about working at Orchard is the relationships I have built with both the staff and customers. The culture we have developed at Orchard Nursery makes it a fabulous place to work. I love to get staff and customers excited about change, be it in the workings of the nursery, or in the case of customers, in their gardens.

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

Way back when, the nursery staff used to go out line dancing at a local pub. That was a great time!

What are some upcoming projects you are excited about?

This month, we rearranged the layout of the nursery to make more room for plant material. By changing the layout of the nursery, we have gained about 350 square feet of 1 gal retail space, and kept the 5 gal space the same, allowing us to buy more product in larger quantities while still being able to keep the diversity of material. 

What is your favorite season and why?

Like most nursery people, I would have to say spring! It's refreshing to see all the things that come into the nursery with beautiful blooms or colorful foliage after winter. I also love spring because it is a time of year we are extremely busy with customers. There is nothing more satisfying to me than seeing someone's eyes light up when I help them pick out plants for their gardens, show them how to care for it, and make sure they walk out the door with everything they need to be successful in their endeavor.

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

What a question! There are so many! I would venture to say my favorite plant is Geranium 'Rozanne.' What a beautiful creature it is! In Concord, where I live, it is pretty much evergreen (except when I cut it back to allow for new growth) and it never stops blooming! I get color on the plants in my garden most of the year, with a little down time mid-December through mid-January. The beautiful lavender-blue blooms are about the size of a quarter and are so prolific they cover the entire plant. It grows extremely fast with deep watering needed only about every 5 days, so it's drought tolerant as well. You can't beat it for a colorful perennial!

What is your favorite vegetable to grow and cook with and why?

Peppers, hands down. They are super easy to grow, and where I live, they are still producing! I love jalapeños for a favorite spicy chicken dish I make and Shishito peppers just sautéed in oil. Peppers are fantastic veggies that I have never had any issues with - no mildews or other diseases to contend with, and no aphids or other insects have ever damaged any of my peppers. However, keeping our chickens away from them is another story!

What is something that people might not know about you?

There isn't much people don't know about me. I'm pretty much an open book as far as my life goes, but one thing people might not know is when I was in my mid 20s, I lived in an Ashram in India for four months. It was a great experience to see the cultural differences between the United States and a third world country. The experience also gave me greater perspective of myself and of the connection we all have to nature.