Boxcroft Nursery plants family tree at Burgess location

When you can expand your business, bring a second generation into that business, and preserve a significant piece of your family’s history – well, it doesn’t get much better than that. Just ask Steve and B.J. Jett, who this month opened a second location of Boxcoft Nursery.

Whitney Jett in front of the farm house her great-great-great grandfather built in 1855.


“We’re opening a location in Burgess to handle mostly seasonal sales,” said B.J., who owns and operates Boxcroft with husband Steve.

The new location, at 15569 Northumberland Highway, on the east side of Burgess, opened the first of March and offers a wide selection of shrubs and trees for spring planting. Steve and B.J.’s daughter Whitney will preside as manager over the facility.

The new location is on the site of the “Old Jett House,” a homestead that has been in the family for 150 years. It’s still filled with old treasures and family heirlooms and will be open for public tours when the Burgess location is open.

The house was built in 1855 by William Edwards Jett. That year a son, Luther, was born. Luther eventually inherited the small house and farm and lived there with his wife and 10 children. One of the children, Myrtle, never married, and spent her young adult years tending to her bed-ridden parents. When she died in 1996, Steve and B.J. purchased the house, and though it was one step away from the wrecking ball, they decided to restore it.

Today, the little farmhouse is much the way it was in its prime, and loaded with items that were present at different times throughout its long history of Jett ownership. And visitors to Boxcroft’s new Burgess location will be able to take a tour through this private “mini museum.”

“This is a house that ordinary people lived in. It’s not like the fine homes at Stratford Hall and Washington’s birthplace. Most of these little houses are long gone, so it will be a rare opportunity to see one up close,” B.J. said.

A few changes have been made for the sake of modernization. A full bathroom was added upstairs, replacing the small, primitive one added downstairs 30 years ago. At the time, B.J. says, it was a somewhat controversial addition.

“We found a letter Myrtle had written saying she knew people would think she was spending money loosely, but she had added what she called ‘a stool and a bowl’ to the house. She found it a great comfort but her sister who lived with her would never use it, preferring the outhouse instead,” B.J. said.

The house is filled with old family photos, a family bible, and a framed recounting of the very extensive Jett family tree. But of course, that’s not the only reason people will want to visit Boxcroft in Burgess. After all, spring is on its way, and the nursery has plenty to help you get started with lawn and garden planning.

“As the season progresses, we’ll add more things at the Burgess location. We’ll start off with shrubs and trees. In April we’ll have a full section of perennials,” B.J. said.

Also in April Boxcroft will celebrate the grand opening of its Burgess location. Those plans are still being drawn up.

Besides a wide array of plants, the Burgess location will also carry many of the same landscaping products found at the Reedville nursery, on Fleeton Road, including stepping stones and steel edging.

“We have some new, really interesting stepping stones this year,” B.J. said. “They’re really different and I think people are going to like them.”

The Burgess location will be open in the spring and fall, while the Boxcroft’s Reedville Nursery is open year round. And a visit to Boxcroft Nursery, on 35 sprawling acres, is enough to get any gardener or landscaper’s pulse racing. As always, there is a huge selection of perennials and flowering shrubs. But the new emphasis this season is on pond and water gardens.

“I was surprised at how many homeowners already have garden ponds, and are looking for plants to go into them,” B.J. said.

There is a wide selection of plants and grasses that grow in water, such as water lettuce, water lilies and bog plants. Boxcroft also offers all the supplies you need to maintain a garden pond, and of course can build one for you.

In fact, Boxcroft can help you plan and develop any landscaping project. A full service nursery, Boxcroft will even install beds with soil and mulch, and build driveways and retaining walls, making your vision become a reality.

“Now is a very good time to come in and look around. We have a very large selection of plants and shrubs. They’re all very hearty and healthy,” B.J. said.

When you visit Boxcroft, you’re bound to get ideas for whatever project you’re planning. As you would expect, the grounds are nicely landscaped, with beach and pond motifs. The greenhouse is full of tropical plants to capture your imagination.

Boxcroft gets its name from a late 19th century house on the grounds that Steve and B.J. have lovingly restored over the last few years. Whether it ends up as part of the nursery remains to be seen, but its presence in the midst of the nursery setting lends a certain charm. A visit to Boxcroft Nursery, either in Reedville or at its new location in Burgess, is a pleasant way to spend a spring morning or afternoon.