A family tradition of growing great products since 1919
The tradition of growing together as a family all started with John & Sally Wallish. They began growing vegetables and starter vegetable plants in 1919 on their little farm located close to the current location of Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta. They took their produce to the Edmonton City Market.
John & Sally became parents to Robert, Jean, & Charlie. As the children grew, and as families did, they worked together with their parents in the market garden business.
A Time of Change
Life pretty much kept that pulse until the early 1960s. At that time and a few years following Charlie’s graduation from Vermilion School of Agriculture, Robert, Jean & her husband Bill (William) Dyck, & Charlie formed a partnership and officially called this family affair Wallish Greenhouses. Together they purchased 7½ acres of land on the banks of the North Saskatchewan River northeast of Edmonton, 2 miles north of Sherwood Park. Robert resided on this riverbank property with his mother. Being this close, he held the position as night watchman doing regular temperature and equipment checks of the greenhouses in the middle of the night in addition to his daily work at the greenhouse. Jean & Bill purchased land for their home base ‘1 short mile away’, as their daughter Sally says. This gave Jean, Bill, and their daughters Taylor, Sally and Betty close access to the greenhouses, and a significant part of their land was used for vegetable production. This proximity worked well during their involvement in the greenhouse operations and as Jean cared for her aging mother. Their father, John, died shortly after this move. Charlie commuted daily to the greenhouses from Edmonton where he and his wife Nellie raised their children John, Sharon, Glenn & Christopher. Each of the grandchildren worked for the greenhouse at some point in their lives, be it transplanting & all that is associated with bedding plants, vegetable planting & harvesting, or working at the city market.
The focus of the greenhouses at this time included a steadily increased emphasis on bedding plant production in both variety and quantity. The greenhouse production was mainly wholesale, with the retail sales happening at the market. Vegetables were still grown on both locations and sold at the market. Robert was the face of Wallish Greenhouses at the city market on Saturdays and Bill faithfully joined him. The work was rigorous both in the greenhouses and in the market garden growing vegetables. We are grateful for the contributions each of these family members in the 2nd generation made to the success of our legacy. Charlie and Nellie are the remaining living members of this generation and they currently live on the riverbank property.
Developing the Local Market
During this time Charlie encouraged other members of the then Alberta Fresh Vegetable Growers Association to begin developing the bedding plant market. It was at that time that the Holes and Kulhmanns became some Wallish Greenhouses’ first wholesale customers while they their own retail bedding plant businesses emerged.
A Growing Business
By the 1990s, the business started to make another shift. The partnership arrangement changed and Charlie’s son Glenn, recently a graduate from the University of Alberta with a degree in horticulture, began taking on a greater role in the business. Glenn is currently our lead grower.
With his bride Louise at his side, they increased retail sales at the riverbank. This was also the beginning of a gradual metamorphosis in the business from vegetables and wholesale bedding plants to a full scale retail operation focusing on a large selection of bedding plants, perennials, hanging baskets, and containers – all chosen for their hardiness and grown on the premises.
One more location shift happened, this time to 1/4 mile north of Highway 16 and Clover Bar Road in Sherwood Park, Alberta. Since that time, the business has continued to expand with 2 basic goals: High Quality Products & Great Customer Service.
And Here We Are, 100 Years In
In 2000, Glenn’s sister, Sharon and her husband, Dan joined in on the day to day operation. Wallish Greenhouses still grows all of the the products it sells.
Now in our 3rd generation, we maintain the family tradition started with John & Sally and continued with Robert, Jean & Bill, and Charlie & Nellie of growing products that have been tested and proven to grow in the Edmonton Capital Region while constantly looking for new and more colourful varieties as the market demands – the tradition started 100 years ago lives on.