IN THE BEGINNING!
Nancy and Bill Bissett got together in the early 1980’s. Both Were plant (most specifically Native Plant) lovers who came together from different backgrounds; Nancy from Horticulture / Botany, and Bill from Landscape Architecture. Both saw a need for use of Native Plants in Florida's Landscape industry and a HUGE need for preservation and restoration efforts in Florida's abused, beleaguered, and endangered natural systems! SO, in 1982 Nancy and Bill decided that it was time to do something about it!
In 1980 Bill had purchased a five acre plot of land outside the tiny town of Davenport Florida. Three acres were Hardwood swamp, one acre ecotonal, and one acre cleared by previous owner. PERFECT! The first incarnation of The Natives Inc could be irrigated by one “over the counter” Rain bird impact sprinkler on a stand! Being in love with Florida Sand Scrub we started with some of the most difficult plants to grow and keep alive; Garberia, Lyonia feruginea, etc!
Since that ignominious start Nancy and Bill have been able to purchased another 32 acres, most of which is under conservation easement held by the Green Horizon Land Trust. We are on the Florida State Preserve map as The Serenoa Preserve. Only 7 acres of our total 37 acres are used for production. To keep from clearing any additional land we lease 2.5 acres from a neighboring land owner.
Our house and office
On a personal note
Bill had shared an office in Winter Haven with a building Architect named Todd Rose. A brilliant designer, Todd agreed to do conceptual design for our house in the woods. Bill had enough building construction in the LA program to do the construction drawing for permit. We could also pull our own building permit and build our own house. Back in 1982 things were much easier. It took us 4 years to move in and 13 more years to finish. But it’s ours! We nailed every nail and hung every window...... all 80 of them! The only part of house and office we did not physically build is what we call the “Corner Office”. It is Nancy's place of quiet and solitude where she can shut the door (the only one inside the office) and enjoy looking out at the woods.