Rockledge Gardens was founded in 1960 by Harry Witte, a bulb farmer who had settled in Brevard County in 1948 with his wife Mary. In the earliest days, before the Space Coast boom, Rockledge Gardens was essentially a road-side stand run on the honor system (our sign said, “grab a bag of soil and leave your money in the can”). Through the 1960s and 1970s we evolved into a full-fledged nursery business — the largest and most complete garden center in Brevard County.
Over the years Harry and Mary’s six children took turns working in the family business; today Rockledge Gardens is owned and managed by their youngest daughter and her husband, Theresa and Kevin Riley, with Mary Witte still involved. They’re joined in the day-to-day operations of the garden center by their son-in-law Kris, daughter Aurelia, son Joseph, and daughter-in-law Liz, and a knowledgeable, friendly staff, including certified Florida nursery professionals.
Rockledge Gardens has won numerous community and industry awards, including from the City of Rockledge and Keep Brevard Beautiful, and recognition from the state nursery association (FNGLA).
“Fresh From Florida”: Liz, Joseph, Kris, Theresa, and Kevin; with Mary Witte
Ready to help your Florida garden grow…
Dane has worked at Rockledge Gardens for more than 15 years. He got his very first job at Rockledge Gardens as a teenager and literally grew up in the business, to become an FNGLA Certified Horticulture Professional and complete his certification in Green Industries Best Management Practices. He specializes in landscape planning, maintenance, and plant selection. “I love working outside and learning about unique plant varieties—and sharing that passion with our customers.”
Grounds and Facilities Manager
Brian is a South Florida native who moved to Brevard in 1998. An FNGLA-Certified Horticultural Professional, Brian has been involved in horticulture for the last 7 years, but has been interested in plant life cycles since childhood. Brian is working toward becoming an FNGLA-Certified Landscape Technician and in his spare time he likes to surf and fish.
Green Goods Buyer
Paul is a Florida native hailing from Hamilton County. His passion for horticulture comes from his grandmother and mother. For 12 years Paul co-owned and operated a nursery just north of Gainesville specializing in annuals and perennials for smaller garden centers. He’s been involved in horticulture for more than 25 years and is still amazed at the joy and emotion that plants bring to people. He loves to help customers find the right plant for their growing environment and to hear their success stories. Paul is an FNGLA Certified Horticultural Professional.
Steve is an FNGLA Certified Horticulturist and has worked at Rockledge Gardens since 2000. He’s been interested in growing since he was old enough to walk; his family grew their own tomatoes, potatoes, cabbage, peppers, onions, lettuce, and herbs. A wealth of gardening knowledge, Steve specializes in trees, especially citrus. What he loves about working here: “The sheer pleasure of meeting and sharing gardening information with our many patrons, friends, and customers!”
Dar has been working at Rockledge Gardens since 1997 and has loved gardening her whole life, starting with planting fruit trees and vegetable gardens with her parents. Dar is responsible for many of the beautiful display gardens on view at Rockledge Gardens. Her favorite part about working here? “The freedom to be creative!”
Field Trips and Little Bugs Club
Cindy feels blessed to live life doing the two things she loves best: spending time with children, and gardening. Children fill her with energy, while gardening soothes her soul!
Director of Marketing and Events
Liz is passionate about parties. She loves Rockledge Gardens because it gives her an opportunity to plan unforgettable community celebrations, seminars, and workshops in a gorgeous setting. She’s excited to help YOU plan your next event too!
Designs & Displays
Kevin and Theresa’s oldest son Joseph was raised at Rockledge Gardens — in fact, his first home was a cottage on the south side of the property, where he toddled among the plants every day. He started bagging soil when he was 10 and worked at the cash register throughout high school. Today, Joseph contributes to the family business, bringing his passions and experience as an artist and theatrical scenic designer to help make Rockledge Gardens an inspiring, beautiful, and fun place to be!
Kris grew up in East Tennessee, where his family and friends raised cattle and horses, and grew tobacco, corn, and hay for livestock. “The first thing that sparked my interest in gardening and farming was the smells,” Kris says. “I know that sounds funny, but in Tennessee you could always tell when hay was being cut or a fresh field had been plowed. Nothing like it!” His favorite part about working here? “The pride in knowing that we are a family-centered nursery. And not just literally … our co-workers, even our customers, feel like family.”
Theresa & Kevin
Theresa’s father Harry started Rockledge Gardens in 1962. While all six of Harry’s children took turns working in the family business, it was Theresa, the youngest, who would make Rockledge Gardens her life’s work. In 1973 she got her high school sweetheart, Kevin, a job at Rockledge Gardens pulling weeds. Forty-some years later, Kevin and Theresa are married with their own three children, and the family continues to keep the spirit of beauty and community alive at Rockledge Gardens.
Rockledge Gardens news
“Going Native,”Space Coast Living article about growing local, native plants for diversity and sustainability, 9/2017
“Become a Gardening Guru,“Florida Today Spaces article about the Harry and Mary Witte Learning Center pavilion and gardens, 5/20/17
“Fanciful Fairies,”Florida Today Spaces article about the 2017 Rockledge Gardens Fairy Garden Festival, 3/25/2017
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