WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Azaleas are taking the spotlight this week, and a glance when you pass by Tinga Nursery reveals spring has officially sprung with many plants showing their early color. But they are just a part of the inventory at Tinga, where the public can choose from thousands of plants to put into their landscape.
Eelco Izard Tinga was born and educated in the Netherlands, and came to America to work. In 1912, he acquired over 30 acres of land of what is now Castle Hayne Road. He began Tinga Nursery, a business that is celebrating its centennial anniversary this year.
Three other generations of Tingas have operated the business, Eelco Henry Tinga, Eelco Henry Tinga, the second, and today, Eelco Henry Tinga, the third, runs the day to day operations. The technology of plant production has changed.
"We are still learning, we are still changing growth practices, whether it is changes in our soil mixture to have a wetter or drier mixture, to changing the amount of nutrients, using pesticides to keep insect off," said Eelco Tinga, III. "So we are still learning everyday and the knowledge we learn, we pass along to other people, and do the best we can at growing a plant."
Covering over 35 acres with 18 cold frames, Tinga is one the area's largest plant nursery. The majority of their plants are started from seeds or taking cuttings from mature plants. Today, employees are using a mix of pine bark and sand and transferring the small liner plant into a three gallon container.
"We're more of a local nursery, not large enough to ship much out of state, but we have a good selection of plants, many varieties, that do well in Wilmington because of the four seasons we enjoy," said Eelco Tinga, Junior.
In our hot environment, nursery operators have to use a lot of water. But thru ponds and a series of ditches and piping, more than 80 percent of the water used at Tinga Nursery for irrigation is recycled. Landscapers and retail businesses are Tinga's biggest customers, but also do retail sales from their office.
Tinga Nursery is planning an anniversary celebration later in the year, when things slow down a little from the spring rush.
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322 Shipyard Boulevard