Parkola has been involved with Horticulture since 1970 when
he started his own evergreen plant nursery on family property in
Connecticut selling various Azaleas, Rhododendrons, Yews, and other
Conifers to the landscape trade locally. Cut Christmas trees were
also a big part of the nursery. This continued until graduation
from college in 1978.
graduation from college he pursued his engineering career for over
30 years working on such diverse projects as the Hubble Space Telescope,
the world's first QR/XRAY scanner for airport baggage scanning for
contraband such as narcotics and plastic explosives, Cardiovascular
medical products, DNA identification and medical disease discovery
products, and Nuclear detection systems for national security. He
earned 7 U.S. Patents for his inventions through the years.
During his engineering career he wanted to return
to his passion of raising plants, so as an additional side job,
he and his wife Margot started Blossom Valley Protea in 1992 to
provide cut Protea flowers, foliages and fillers to the San Diego
market. They earned an outstanding reputation for providing
first class quality products (over 200 varieties) that were sold to
both wholesale florists and retail buyers at local farmers' markets.
Having done all of the hands-on work at their farm themselves, their
experience and expertise has led to many consultations for various
clients on the application of Proteaceae into the landscape.
They started raising plants several years ago to
replace dead and diseased plants on the farm and have now decided
to expand by providing these same plants to the public for their
own landscape needs. They have been selling these high quality plants
for over 15 years and have planted them in many gardens from the
inland San Diego County areas to the coast. The results have been
exciting and many of our first customers have come back each year
for more and different varieties to add to their gardens.
We have worked closely with the Cuyamaca Water Conservation Garden in Rancho San Diego to provide many of their plants as well as advising on their placement and care. Walter has given lectures yearly at the Garden to help the public make better decisions on planting their own drought tolerant gardens. Stop by the Garden and check out their selection. Walter has lectured at many Garden clubs locally as well and if your organization is interested in having him speak please contact us.
We have written articles on the Protea species for San Diego Home and Garden Lifestyles E-mail Newsletter as well as the Magazine itself and have been featured in the Cuyamaca Water Conservation Garden quarterly newsletter.