|Founded||1915 Strongsville, Ohio USA|
|Headquarters||Granger Township, Medina County, Ohio USA|
|Products||Seeds, plants, and accessories|
Hirt’s Gardens is a retail greenhouse located in Granger Township, Medina County, Ohio that offers unusual and hard-to-find seeds, seedlings, and mature plants ranging from traditional vegetables to rare perennials to exotic houseplants.
Notable Media Coverage
Although Hirt's Gardens started as a small family business and is managed today by Matthew Hirt, the great-grandson of founder Sam Hirt, it has received national coverage.
Its significance has been established in multiple ways. The Hirt family's greenhouses have been mentioned in historical society books such as Strongsville: We Shape Our Destiny, 1968. The architecture of the greenhouses was highlighted in the book Images of America: Strongsville written by Bruce M. Courey. Hirt's Gardens is listed as a resource on Ohio State University's Horticulture and Crop Science Resource page. The Hirt family's four generations who have run the business have been featured in newspaper articles such as reporter Linda Kinsey's article, "Family Roots Traced to Local Greenhouse". Alan Hirt's wide-ranging success (radio, florist shops in malls) was covered in Kimberly Harrison's article "Hirt Tunes in Fewer Plant Shops, More Radio". National garden writers, such as Brenda Beust Smith from the Houston Chronicle, have cited Hirt's Gardens in their columns  Mother Earth News,a popular magazine about gardening, listed Hirt's as one of the top 20 sources for heirloom tomato seeds in the United States.
Hirt's Gardens is a family business that has operated continuously since 1915 and is one of the oldest retail greenhouses in Ohio. Started by Sam and Anna Hirt, its early focus was on horseradish and vegetables, which Sam Hirt sold in Cleveland.
It is believed that Sam intended to pass the business directly to his eldest son, Paul Hirt, but Paul Hirt died in 1918 when the merchant marine ship he was on, the Otranto, sank off the coast of England. So Sam Hirt passed the business to some of his other sons, most notably Lawrence Hirt, Art Hirt, and Hobart Hirt. Lawrence and Art started Hirt’s Wholesale, which supplied florists supplies, vegetable seedlings, and houseplants to the retail business run by Hobart and his wife, Onalee (née Baker). The retail business was initially called Strongsville Greenhouse and was located at 13867 Pearl Rd, Strongsville, Ohio.
The three children of Hobart and Onalee Hirt were Marie, Clare, and Alan. All worked at the greenhouse in the 1960s and 1970s, and the business was passed on to Clare and Alan in the mid-1970s, who were joined by a third business partner, Paul King, whom they had met at Ohio State University. By then, the greenhouses were known as Hirt’s Greenhouse and Flowers. For a while, they operated small florists’ outlets at two popular northeast Ohio malls, Great Northern Mall and Beachwood Place. Alan Hirt (along with his wife at the time, Karen Hirt) found great success appearing on local news and radio shows, where they answered common gardening questions. By the late 1990s, the successful business included a floral shop and 14 greenhouses wall-to-wall at the intersections of Pearl Road and Royalton Road, one of the busiest corners in Strongsville.
In 2004, the property was sold to developers, but the business did not end. Clare Hirt took over the floral part of the business, which is now called Hirt’s Flowers, and is located just down the road from the original business at 14407 Pearl Rd. Hirt’s Flowers will send floral arrangement orders anywhere in the world through their Florists Transworld Delivery (FTD) service. Alan Hirt and his son, Matthew Hirt, took over the horticulture part of the business, now called Hirt’s Gardens. It is now located at 4943 Ridge Rd. The original greenhouses were demolished in 2005.
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While Hirt's Gardens grows thousands of common plants, they specialize in harder-to-find plants. Here is a list of their most popular unusual plants.
Of the approximately 630 species of carnivorous plants known to exist, Hirt’s Gardens grows about thirty. Carnivorous plants are one of the most popular plants sold at Hirt’s Gardens.
Hirt’s Gardens offers both seeds and mature plants of Passiflora in several varieties, including the Scarlet passionflower, the Sweet Granadilla, the Sweet Calabash, and the Blue passionflower, as well as an edible variety. Matthew Hirt believes that gardeners prize the plant for both its religious associations and the striking beauty of the blossoms.
Hirt’s Gardens offers both seeds and mature plants of Mimosa pudica. Sensitive plants cultivated by Hirt’s Gardens were featured in the season 5 premier of
CSI: NY. Owner Alan Hirt was contacted by the show’s producers because, they explained, his was the closest greenhouse to New York City that sold sensitive plants in quantity, and they needed the plants for the show’s final, cliffhanger scene involving the murderer.
Hirt’s Gardens has olive tree seeds and seedling olive trees of the species Olea europaea, a species famous for its associations with peace.
Hirt’s Gardens offers a variety of heirloom vegetables as seeds (sold year-round) or young plants (sold during spring).
Hirt’s Gardens offers organic seeds year-round. Organic seeds have not undergone irradiation. Some people who buy organic seeds argue that they are safer because the seeds have not been exposed to radiation.
Hirt’s Gardens offers hybrid seed year-round.
Heirloom tomatoes have become increasingly popular in recent years. Hirt’s Gardens offers more than sixty varieties of heirloom tomato seeds that produce fruits in sizes ranging from grape to globe.
- Ohio Historical Society. Strongsville: We Shape Our Destiny, 1968.
- “Horticulture and Crop Science Resource Page." The Ohio State University. Web.
- Kinsey, Linda. "Family Roots Traced to Local Greenhouse." Sun Star. 14 January 1982: C1.
- Harrison, Kimberly P. "Hirt Tunes in Fewer Plant Shops, More Radio." Crain's Cleveland Business. 6 September 1993
- Smith, Brenda Beust. "One person's scourge is another's delight:Colorful oxalis can brighten winter lawns." Houston Chronicle. 7 February 2009.
- Pleasant, Barbara. "First Class Tomatoes." Mother Earth News. 1 April 2006. www.motherearthnews.com
- “Ohio Greenhouse Helps Out ‘CSI: NY.’” Greenhouse Grower. October 21, 2008.
- Hirt's Gardens Retail Web Site
- Hirt's Flowers Retail Web Site
- Photographs of the Hirt Family and Their Greenhouses
- Article about Increasing Popularity of Growing Vegetables Featuring an Interview with Alan Hirt
- Article about Hirt's Gardens Sensitive Plants Appearing on CSI: New York
- Link to Images of America: Strongsville, featuring Hirt's Gardens
- Link to Hirt's Gardens appearance on Ohio State University's Horticulture and Crop Sciences Resource Page