Walter Andersen Nursery was opened in 1928 by Walter Andersen Sr. on Juan Street in Old Town near the intersection of Taylor St. In the early years of the company Walter Andersen Nursery provided all landscaping and garden services, from regular maintenance to landscape design and installation to selling plants.
Over the years the landscape and plant sales side of the business grew to be a majority of the business and the maintenance side was phased out. Throughout the depression the business and customer list grew. Walter Andersen’s reputation for the finest plant material and quality landscaping grew as well.
Walter Andersen left his mark on San Diego in many ways. Some of the larger projects he worked on over the years include The San Diego Post Office downtown, the County Administration building, numerous projects for the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park, the West Gate Plaza Hotel, National Steel and Shipbuilding, and Westgate Park the original Mission Valley home of the San Diego Padres, and the Christmas Tree shaped Cedrus deodoras planted in the center median along Orange Avenue in Coronado just to name a few.
Walter Andersen Nursery has also participated and supported many flower and garden shows over the years. From the Orchid Show to the Coronado Flower Show and the Del Mar Fair, Walter Andersen Nursery is the longest running exhibitor at the Del Mar Fair Flower Show, not missing an exhibition since its inception in 1938.
As the plant sales grew to be a larger portion of the business, Walter Sr. and his son Walter Jr. decided to stop landscaping and concentrate on selling plants and gardening supplies. From this point on Walter Andersen solidified its standing as the gardening
authority in San Diego. Daily operation of the nursery was turned over to Walter Jr. in the mid 1970′s, but Walter Sr. continued to take an active role in the business and was at the store 6 days a week until shortly before his death in 1983.
Walter Jr. and his wife Jolene’s son Ken joined the management of the nursery in 1981 to help keep the nursery growing and prospering. After receiving a bachelors degree in business in 1986, Ken became General Manager of Nursery Operations. Walter Andersen Jr. continued to work a full schedule as President of the company.
Karen Andersen Thatcher, Ken’s sister, has worked for the nursery since 1995. Her husband joined the nursery full-time in 1996 as construction manager for the Poway store.
In 1995 the decision was made to expand the nursery operation by opening a second store. After careful study and consideration a piece of property was purchased in Poway for the second store. This store is twice the size of the San Diego store and serves the communities of Poway, Scripps Ranch, Peñasquitos, and Carmel Mountain Ranch. The store opened in the Summer of 1998. This big step allows the nursery to expand its customer base and better serve the inland corridor of San Diego.
Today, the nurseries are still family owned and operated with Walter Jr. as Chairman, his wife Jolene continues to work in the main office overseeing financial, accounting and operational issues, Ken Andersen serves as President-CEO of Nursery Operations, Karen Andersen-Thatcher serves as VP of Human Resources and CFO for the company, John Thatcher continues to oversee various construction projects for the company, and Pat Hernandez, Jolene’s sister handles the accounts Payable and Receivables for both stores. In 2003 Ken’s wife Melanie Potter left THE SAN DIEGO DAILY TRANSCRIPT to become Director of Marketing and Publications for the company.