Fantastic Gardens of Long Island was started in 1960 by my father, Michael Tifford. He grew up right near the Bronx Botanical Gardens in Bronx, NY. That is where he fell in love with all types of plants, specifically perennials, shrubs, and trees.
After World War II he took advantage of the Veterans Bill allowing him to go to New York State Agricultural College in Farmingdale, NY. He graduated and went on to start his career being a landscaper extraordinaire on the north shore of Long Island. Then he started growing perennials in what was to become the first of the containerized plant industry that exists today. In 1960 we left our two and half acre farm in East Northport, NY for a three and a quarter acre piece of property with 30,000 square feet of glass greenhouses that was the backbone of the cutflower industry in that era (1960-1970s).
Cutflower greenhouses turned to growing mostly annuals’ greenhouses and in our case growing potted vegetables, houseplants, cacti, succulents, and whatever else we could sell wholesale.
Our mother, Jean when she wasn't being a great homemaker was at his side. She would pot plants and train employees as well as keep us kids in line. There was my brother, Franklin, my sister, Annamae, and myself, David helped our father grow and sell a plethora of plants to independent garden centers and chain stores, especially F.W Woolworth.
Starting in the 1980’s we began to turn the business from all wholesale to more retail; with my father retiring to New Mexico to live with the cacti. With the help of my wife, Joan, and children we began to grow our retail sales. We gradually went from flea markets to farmers markets and currently the most notable markets known as New York’s finest greenmarket in Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn at the World Trade Center till September 11, 2001. Now we are at the famous Union Square Greenmarket, 35 years in total we have participated in these markets and wow did we cultivate a following!
A new era has arrived especially since the COVID-19 pandemic, not only are the plants that our grandparents taught us to love are rebounding in popularity, there is a whole bunch of new and sensational plants that our parents (me included) can barely pronounce! With the help of our “new” business partner, Jorge Sisalima, and his family are propelling us to the new horizons. Jorge has been with us for 18 years having learned the love of plants from his grandmother; he is bringing new energy to our fantastic business.
Our plants are professionally grown in our climate controlled warehouses. Our plants get a strong start so that they'll continue to grow vigorously when you receive them.