Mountain Ornamental Nursery started in 1938 when the founder, Roscoe Tate, started the nursery on 12 acres on what is now called Main Street in Altamont, Tennessee. Mr. Tate would buy and resell plus grow and wild dig plants and sell to some very prominent people and companies. Roscoe started with one greenhouse and a few acres and would plant seeds to germinate and resell. Mr. Tate sends out price lists to the customer in the mail to obtain his business, and his only means of advertising.
While raising his family, Roscoe would go around to larger growers in the county and surrounding counties and buy their #1 stock and resell affordable to feed his family and pay his bills. He made a good living from buying and reselling. He started growing some plants on a very small scale in the mid-’80s and built a greenhouse to root cuttings. He would also find pure enjoyment in wild collecting plants and reselling them, going to mountain areas in wooded lands and digging woody perennials, wildflowers and ferns and reselling them for a small profit. After Mr. Tates death in 1997, his spouse Rachel tried to keep the business going by retaining a small number of customers but found this was a man’s work as she put it and quietly retired, helping with her children and grandchildren in her spare time while raising her grandson and putting him through school.
In 1999, Mr. Tate’s youngest child, Tammy Tate Sons, started to follow in her father’s footsteps. She would go to grower’s fields and harvest their #2 plants and peddle them to other nurseries to resell. She used her knowledge to help her dad start her own business while selling swimming pools and in her small beauty shop on the side. Tammy’s husband, Dennis, had a job in the timber business and was the sole breadwinner in their family.
In 2000, Tammy’s nephew Adam took some computer classes, had a different computer, and asked Tammy if she wanted to buy it. She didn’t have the entire $140.00 he wanted for it, and he accepted installments from her. Tammy slowly learned how to maneuver the internet and eventually found a website where people could advertise their plants for sale free. This was an opening to a larger world for Tammy. She also sends out price lists to a few nurseries to get some business, as her father did back when he was advertising and sending thousands of price lists out. Tammy could only send a few, but it was successful.
Tammy also started to take some Horticulture Classes online at TSU (Texas State University) and learned about the Vanderbilt BootStrap IP Program and successfully has taken it as well as 14 other marketing classes online to not only learn about plants but also how to market them to be able to sell them. Buy 2004 Tammy’s spouse Dennis Sons had a higher calling and quit his job and planted 13 acres of trees on their small farm. Every tree sold the following fall, and they were able to pay off a $74,000.00 mortgage. This opened Tammy’s eyes to see there were big things in store for them if she’d gain all the knowledge she could on suppliers, get acquainted with other nurseries, learn marketing, and eventually try to build a website as a platform to sell on.
By the time 2007 was over, Dennis and Tammy have a successful website. Tammy understood marketing and Search Engine Optimization and hired someone to help her with her children while she worked online, and Dennis grew plants and dug trees while she sold them. When Dennis & Tammy first opened their website, it was called D&T Nursery. Then as the years passed and the knowledge increased, they soon realized they needed a “catchy phrase name” like Tennessee Wholesale Nursery not only to get people’s attention in the name but it got many searches for this phrase on the internet, and especially on Google the browsers that most people used to search from so they changed the name to Tennessee Wholesale Nursery.
In late 2012, the “wholesale” in their company entity name was being problematic. It hampered them from selling retail to the general public. Tammy had gotten so many calls from homeowners and people who wanted to buy small amounts of plants and trees to put in their yard that she wanted to branch out more into retail than only sell large volume wholesale amounts.
Dennis & Tammy decided to open a wholesale/retail website and offer deep discounts on larger volume purchases on their website, offering retail prices for small quantities and large qualities got wholesale prices. Doing this made a massive success for their nursery, and they have grown from 2 employees to over 25 in 2020. With over 90,000 customers, they are the product of their heritage, and Dennis stepping out on faith.
The website homeowners can go to, and order is tnnursery.net, and they still ship to everyone in all states except New York as well as B2B with wholesale ordering being available at tennesseewholesalenursery.com.