Rockledge Gardens was founded in 1960 by Harry Witte, a bulb farmer who had settled in Brevard County in 1948 with his wife Mary. In the earliest days, before the Space Coast boom, Rockledge Gardens was essentially a road-side stand run on the honor system (our sign said, “grab a bag of soil and leave your money in the can”). Through the 1960s and 1970s we evolved into a full-fledged nursery business — the largest and most complete garden center in Brevard County.
Over the years Harry and Mary’s six children took turns working in the family business; today Rockledge Gardens is owned and managed by their youngest daughter and her husband, Theresa and Kevin Riley. They’re joined in the day-to-day operations of the garden center by their son-in-law Kris, daughter Aurelia, son Joseph, and daughter-in-law Liz, and a knowledgeable, friendly staff, including certified Florida nursery professionals.
Rockledge Gardens has won numerous community and industry awards, including from the City of Rockledge and Keep Brevard Beautiful, and recognition from the state nursery association (FNGLA).
The Riley Family
Ready to help your Florida garden grow…
Josh was born and raised in the Melbourne/Palm Bay area. He holds a Bachelor’s of Science in mechanical engineering — but decided on a career change that would allow him to spend time in the open air working with plants. He is passionate about edible gardening and enjoys helping people to grown their own food.
Grounds and Facilities Manager
Brian is a South Florida native who moved to Brevard in 1998. An FNGLA-Certified Horticultural Professional, Brian has been involved in horticulture for the last 7 years, but has been interested in plant life cycles since childhood. Brian is working toward becoming an FNGLA-Certified Landscape Technician and in his spare time he likes to surf and fish.
Steve is an FNGLA Certified Horticulturist and has worked at Rockledge Gardens since 2000. He’s been interested in growing since he was old enough to walk; his family grew their own tomatoes, potatoes, cabbage, peppers, onions, lettuce, and herbs. A wealth of gardening knowledge, Steve specializes in trees, especially citrus. What he loves about working here: “The sheer pleasure of meeting and sharing gardening information with our many patrons, friends, and customers!”
Amanda is a Board-Certified Entomologist, Beekeeper, and Educator happy to call Florida her new home. She has always felt her dream job would include plants, insects, and people, so it’s no wonder she loves to spend her free time working as an Information Specialist at Rockledge Gardens! With her strong interest in pollinators, natural insect control, and crafting unique edible landscapes, she hopes to encourage others to enjoy and get the most out of their outdoor living spaces.
Weddings and Events Coordinator
Jessica has been obsessed with weddings since she was a young child. Since joining the team at Rockledge Gardens, she’s helped build the Weddings and Events department into a thriving part of our local community. She loves Disney, animals, and sushi.
Dar has been working at Rockledge Gardens since 1997 and has loved gardening her whole life, starting with planting fruit trees and vegetable gardens with her parents. Dar is responsible for many of the beautiful display gardens on view at Rockledge Gardens. Her favorite part about working here? “The freedom to be creative!”
Liz loves people and this community! She’s excited to spread the word about Rockledge Gardens as a hub for unforgettable, authentic experiences.
Designs & Displays
Kevin and Theresa’s oldest son Joseph was raised at Rockledge Gardens — in fact, his first home was a cottage on the south side of the property, where he toddled among the plants every day. He started bagging soil when he was 10 and worked at the cash register throughout high school. Today, Joseph contributes to the family business, bringing his passions and experience as an artist and theatrical scenic designer to help make Rockledge Gardens an inspiring, beautiful, and fun place to be!
Kris grew up in East Tennessee, where his family and friends raised cattle and horses, and grew tobacco, corn, and hay for livestock. “The first thing that sparked my interest in gardening and farming was the smells,” Kris says. “I know that sounds funny, but in Tennessee you could always tell when hay was being cut or a fresh field had been plowed. Nothing like it!” His favorite part about working here? “The pride in knowing that we are a family-centered nursery. And not just literally … our co-workers, even our customers, feel like family.”
Theresa & Kevin
Theresa’s father Harry started Rockledge Gardens in 1962. While all six of Harry’s children took turns working in the family business, it was Theresa, the youngest, who would make Rockledge Gardens her life’s work. In 1973 she got her high school sweetheart, Kevin, a job at Rockledge Gardens pulling weeds. Forty-some years later, Kevin and Theresa are married with their own three children, and the family continues to keep the spirit of beauty and community alive at Rockledge Gardens.
Rockledge Gardens news
“Going Native,”Space Coast Living article about growing local, native plants for diversity and sustainability, 9/2017
“Become a Gardening Guru,“Florida Today Spaces article about the Harry and Mary Witte Learning Center pavilion and gardens, 5/20/17
“Fanciful Fairies,”Florida Today Spaces article about the 2017 Rockledge Gardens Fairy Garden Festival, 3/25/2017
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