Before founding Gurley’s Azalea Garden, Clifton E. Gurley Sr. worked for Ford Motor Company here in Memphis. Labeled an “idea giver” at Ford, Mr. Gurley was a force for innovation, his creativity and business acumen garnering an audience with Henry Ford himself. While at Ford, Gurley still found time to fix cars in his backyard and sell azaleas in the front yard. He always had a green thumb and a keen grasp of the nursery business.
In the 1950’s, Ford Motor Company initiated plans to move its Memphis operations to Lorraine, Ohio. Deciding he did not want to move north, Mr. Gurley set up shop with his own nursery in 1957, Gurley’s Azalea Garden. Initially focused solely on azaleas, the business quickly grew and became a formidable presence in the Mid-South nursery industry. As the company’s scope expanded, so did Mr. Gurley’s ideas, and Gurley’s Azalea Garden evolved into a full-service landscaping design and nursery business.
In 1978, Clifton “Bud” E. Gurley, Jr. became president of the company, carrying on his father’s proud tradition of innovative design, impeccable service, and high quality plant and building materials.