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Teaching Moments

Wendy Komancheck
Article ImageDriving up Newport Road into Intercourse, Pennsylvania, which leads to Ken’s Gardens, was like coming home. Amish farms dotted the landscape surrounding Ken’s Gardens’ parking lot.

This family-owned garden center has three stores, one in Intercourse, another in nearby Smoketown and the third, called Gallery Grow, in Lancaster, all in Pennsylvania.

Pictured far left: Whimsical plant containers to buy for a
gardening workshop or individual use. Ken’s Gardens provides all the supplies, including fun containers, for houseplants.
Near left: A basket of paperwhite bulbs for sale. There’s signage for the paperwhite bloom calendar and directions for successfully growing paperwhites.

The business just celebrated its 50-year anniversary in 2022 and the company has evolved since the family started the business in 1972.

Ken’s Gardens Roots

In 1972, brothers-in-law Ken Lapp and Norman Glick began growing and selling plants at farmers markets in the tri-state area. And in 1974, Ken and Norman opened a small retail store, with hours only in the spring and summer, in Intercourse.

Article ImageThen, in 1975, Ken took over Glick’s Plant Farm in Smoketown and added wholesale sales. This is where the second Ken’s Gardens is located today.

Pictured: Ken’s Gardens provides everything a customer would need to grow their terrarium or they could buy one already made. Here’s signage for the terrarium workshop.
• All you need to know about growing succulents in a container. This chalkboard sign is in the Intercourse store’s planting bar.
• Inside the Intercourse store’s plant workshop at Ken’s Gardens. This area is where all the creative work of putting a plant masterpiece together is located. Ken’s Gardens provides soil, containers, watering cans and plants for customers to purchase and take home.
• Ken’s Gardens provides more than one touchpoint for their plant workshops. And they use different mediums, including digital marketing, to alert their customers of upcoming plant workshops. Scan the QR code to see the list of upcoming events on the website.

Nine years later, Ken’s Gardens in Intercourse built a retail store that’s open throughout the year. Two years later, in 1986, the Smoketown location added a new building, and by 1990, the families dropped the wholesale part of the company since Ken’s Gardens retail stores continued to grow.

In 2004, the baton was handed to the next generation, which includes Kathy Trout, Jim Glick, Kerry Lapp, and Kendra Pepe. And in January 2020, Ken’s Gardens opened its third store and plant bar, Gallery Grow.

Ken’s Gardens’ mission statement is “Faith, Family and Community: Share our passion for plants, encourage each customer to explore and
appreciate the wonder and miracle of growing, no matter how big or small.”

And the staff at Ken’s Gardens fulfills that mission with workshops to help customers make the dividing line between learning and all the tools needed to grow healthy specimens at home. Ken’s Gardens educates houseplant parents, home gardeners, tourists and others who visit their stores. Many tourists will buy plants, bulbs, shrubs and trees to take home.

Article ImagePictured: Macrame is trending with plant parents, so Ken’s Gardens displays a selection in their stores.

For the past six to eight years, Ken’s Gardens has been hosting workshops throughout the year. Each season brings a new plant to focus on. Workshops are held near the front of the store in a dedicated space with all the products needed to take a new plant home. There’s room for groups of six to 16 people for each workshop. Customers can sign up and pre-pay for the workshop online or call to reserve their spot.

Ken’s Gardens’ workshops for November and December 2022 included:

•     Ephiphyte Wall Mount

•     Partyin’ with Houseplants that includes a houseplant swap and mini kokedama bar

•     Holiday Grapevine Wreath

•     Ladies’ Night Holiday Preview

•     Holiday Star Wreath

•     Holiday Greens Outdoor Planter

•     Holiday Wreath Decorating

•     Kokedama Workshop (Kokedama is the Japanese art form of growing plants in a moss-covered ball of soil wrapped with string)

Article ImagePictured: Ken’s Gardens has a Selfie Station decorated for Christmas. Great way to get into the Christmas spirit and keep shoppers’ families happy!

Ken’s Gardens has a third location in Lancaster called Gallery Grow, located on Prince Street, which is also known as Gallery Row. It’s a plant bar and a creative space where customers can walk into Gallery Grow during its business hours, up to one hour before closing, and come out with a new plant.

Walk-in projects include soil, plants and embellishments. Customers can come in to shop for houseplants, potting soil and containers. The planting bar is complimentary with a houseplant and container purchase.

Gallery Grow sells the following plant specimens:

•     Air plants

•     A large houseplant selection

•     Garden-related decor

•     Pottery

•     Succulents

Check out the photos of Ken’s Gardens for inspiration! GP

Wendy Komancheck has a passion for helping small- to medium-sized green industry companies succeed. She writes blogs and web copy for garden design, landscape maintenance and lawn care companies. You can learn more about her at The Landscape Writer or email her at

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