Glenwild Garden Center Educates Clients On Sustainable Gardening

West Milford. The Glenwild Garden Center is helping its customers adapt to a better way of gardening and lanscaping.

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  • Garrett Hemmerich photos

The Glenwild Garden Center in Bloomingdale is on a mission to educate people not just on creating beautiful gardens, but also on responsible and sustainable gardening.

”I hope that we can educate more people about (organics and natural living),” said owner Jodie Bross. “(so) that more people go in that direction.”

Bross, a third-generation owner of the family business, became interested in organics, natural living, and sustainability while living in Colorado and wanted to move her family’s business in that direction once she came home.

That’s why she runs classes on topics like composting and the importance of native plants to the ecosystem.

It’s also why she stresses that customers only use chemicals when absolutely necessary.

“It’s like antibiotics,” said Bross. “You don’t want to use it unless you absolutely have to. It’s so much about the health of your soil.”

While that part of the company’s mission is relatively new, the rest hasn’t changed much since the business started over 90 years ago.

Exceptional customer service, peerless design, the highest quality products, and a deep commitment to community are still just as important now as they were when

Alexander J. MacKenn opened his landscape and design business back in 1928.

A few years later, MacKenn married Mabel Frances Little, who had been living with her family on Glenwild Avenue next to Bogue Pond, which was named after her great aunt and uncle, Charles and Elle (Luke) Bogue.

MacKenn bought his father-in-law’s nearby property soon after and began running his business from there.

As World War II came to an end and the housing boom began, the business became an indispensable part of the burgeoning community.

Constantly evolving and responding to the needs of the community, MacKenn ventured into stonework, driveway and tennis court paving, housing development and, at one point, even started a side business selling swimming pools

In 1958, MacKenn and his wife converted a garage into the retail shop and the name Glenwild Garden Center was born.

After getting a degree in Landscape Design and Horticulture, their son, Alex Jr., started designing and running landscape crews in 1962.

Now, Alex Jr.’s children, Jodie and her brother Brad, are helping to run the family business.

Brad is the landscape architect while Jodie runs the retail side.

“On the family side of it, we’re still very close,” said Bross.

Their father, Alex Jr. still comes in to help out as well, but that familial connection isn’t reserved for family members only.

”What’s different about us is that all our employees are really happy here,” Bross said. ”We treat everybody like family and we want to pass that on to the customers.”

The business, located at 104 Glenwild Avenue, also makes it a priority to make donations to the community, in addition to hosting classes for the girl scouts so they can earn badges right at the center.

The business supports local farmers and artists as well by selling their products, such as eggs, honey, and jam.

Between those local specialties, the native plants, and the nursery’s selection of trees and shrubs, people come in from all over, according to Bross.

The business also offers Christmas trees, decorations, and ornaments during the holidays.

To learn more about the Glenwild Garden Center, you can visit their website at

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