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Ryan Eaton

Tamborine, SEQ

Canopy Wholesale Nursery (now trading as Plantmark Wholesale Nurseries) is a family business run by Ryan Eaton. Specialising in wholesale nursery products, Ryan and his family are a testament to the resilience and community spirit of Queensland. Wiped out by flooding from Cyclone Debbie, staff and volunteers worked tirelessly to get the business blooming again.

My name is Ryan Eaton, I am the owner/operator of Canopy Wholesale Nursery in Tamborine, South East Queensland.

We are a production wholesale nursery growing plants on an industrial scale. The best way to learn about my line of work is definitely a hands-on role, physically touching and seeing how plants grow and evolve and change within the nursery landscape.

We've got 6 full-time permanent staff members, and we've got 2 part-time casual staff members.

I am aware of government grants that are available out there; we've got some junior staff on at the moment and there is a wage subsidy for those junior staff so that we can help get them trained, get them in the right uniforms and get the right equipment for them.

Which plants need the most loving in our Queensland environment? Probably a bit of a trick question; it's probably not which plants need more loving in Queensland, I think they all need a little bit of love, but it's just understanding that they need lots of little bits of love over a period of time, and that's where you'll get the best results.

Canopy Wholesale Nursery provides plants, horticulture supplies and garden and outdoor ornaments to landscape architects, exterior designers, retail nurseries, developers and government operations.

A family-run nursery in the Gold Coast hinterland, Canopy Wholesale Nursery grew so rapidly in 4 years that the business outgrew its property. Purchasing the neighbouring 10-acre land, they increased in size to accommodate their rapid growth.

Less than a month after the expansion, the entire operation was wiped out from flooding caused by Cyclone Debbie. The business suffered catastrophic loss, losing massive amounts of infrastructure, stock and cash flow.

With the help from their community, the small, but highly dedicated team at Canopy Wholesale Nursery went to work rebuilding the business. This effort was helped in no small part by the efforts of 120 local volunteers who attended a working bee to get everything back up and running. With the help from their community, it wasn't long before they were back in business.

Ryan acknowledges that his mental health suffered during the experience of nearly losing his business. As part of giving back to the community that helped him, he's sharing his experiences with like-minded individuals, particularly men – letting them know that it's okay to discuss their emotions and concerns. Ryan also shares tips, tricks and techniques with other nurseries and is always happy to help and share his knowledge with other community-oriented businesses.

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