About J.Hill Nursery
Located on 200 acres on the outskirts of Union, Illinois, J.Hill offers 200+ varieties of premium nursery stock. Our experienced caretakers look for new ways to create better plant production in our level, windy terrain. We maintain miles of irrigation pipe, wells and a 3- million gallon plastic-lined holding pond. Pot-in-Pot, rose production and select B&B are under drip irrigation, which is always being finely tuned.
At J.Hill Nursery, we are always working for environmental balance. We have 2 complete injection systems and recycle water runoff from our container operation. Cover-crops are also used to serve as green manure to replenish the soil.
“When put to the test, an ounce of loyalty is worth a pound of cleverness.” – Elbert Hubbard
When the Great Recession hit in 2008, the D. Hill Nursery, originally founded in 1854, got hit with a massive blow. The owner at the time laid off nearly the entire work force, sold off what stock he could at cutthroat prices, and put up a “For Sale” sign on the property.
J.Hill employs a loyal crew of men who weren’t willing to give up on the nursery when the Great Recession whittled its 155 workers down to today’s core group of 12. All experts in the field, the backbone of J.Hill lies in its workforce, which offers a combined 300 years’ experience cultivating the land at the former D.Hill site. For the potting manager, José, the nursery is more than a workplace; it’s the site of his childhood memories.
Throughout the 1950s and 60s, José’s father worked at the nursery. In the warm months, José lived with his father at the “Camp,” a barracks-style housing structure located onsite. The future potting manager spent cool summer evenings chasing after fireflies and listening to the adults discuss the work of the day. What he didn’t know at the time was that he’d begun to learn, even in childhood, the skills he’d come to master over his lifelong career.
Like José, the dozen men who make up the “Boys in Blue” at J.Hill, each has a story about bonding with the land, and it’s easy to see how their passion for the work translates into intuitive, careful stewardship over the products they cultivate.