When Scott and Martha Kirby moved their plant business from Seymour to Karns four years ago, their loyal clientele – who come from all over East Tennessee – followed them. They also attracted plenty of business from their friends and neighbors in Karns, which had never had a garden center like Kirby Plants before.
Scott Kirby grew up in Karns, where he and Martha make their home. But even with the noticeably shorter commute time, they wouldn’t have moved the business to Karns if they hadn’t seen a demand for it.
“We felt like there was a need for something like this here,” Scott says.
They were right. On a recent weekday morning at the greenhouse and garden center on Oak Ridge Highway, the parking lot, retail center and greenhouse area were full of plant browsers and buyers. The Kirbys, who work with their son, Tony, and other employees, were expertly fielding questions about sun needs, planting times and more.
They sell flowers, grasses and ground covers, herbs, trees and shrubs and gardening supplies. Japanese maples are a popular specialty. In spring and summer, the center shines with lots of blossoms and blooms. Fall brings an array of mums plus seasonal decorations, including a large variety of gourds. At Christmas, the center stocks cut live trees and hand-decorated wreaths.
Scott Kirby grew up working with his father, the late Stanley Kirby, at Kirby Produce on Forest Avenue. Besides produce, the business was known for its potted plants and shrubs and trees. Scott and Martha started their own business in 2009. The two have been married for 37 years. They also have two daughters who can sometimes be spied helping out at the garden center.
“We’re so blessed to have been able to grow this business,” says Martha.
Kirby Plants is at 7234 Oak Ridge Highway. Call 865-313-2829 for hours and info and follow on Instagram at @kirbyplants.