Blog

40 Years of Fun

Over the past 40 years, the Munro’s have experienced many of life’s ups and downs, put in thousands of working hours at the nursery, and have continued to prosper at the forefront of the Horticulture industry. Alison and Murray have had the opportunity to watch their business and their family grow side-by-side; both expanding as […]

A Note from Kiwi Employee, Samantha

Hi, my name is Samantha! I have been with Kiwi for 3 years, and I have seen so many improvements to the nursery in my short time there. When I first started, I helped with installing the floor of the greenhouse, which required a lot of sweeping! Because I was at the nursery before we […]

Having a Murray comes in Handy

Because the nursery is a farm, it is missing a few things that wouldn’t be an issue if we weren’t open to the public. Water, sewer, power, heat and internet have always been a challenge as the nursery continued to grow. In the early days, Ashleigh remembers many cold shifts were spent sitting in her […]

Shifting Focus to the Retail Business

The shift from Commercial Landscaper to Retail Garden Centre has been a gradual shift, and one which largely follows the passions of those most involved in the business. Throughout the 80’s and 90’s, Kiwi shifted their focus as the industry changed, but with Murray at the helm, the focus always remained on his area of […]

A Note from Long Time Employee, Alaina

Hi, I’m Alaina! I began working for Kiwi Nurseries when I was 14, and spending 6 years with the family here has been absolutely incredible. They have taught me all I know about horticulture and fostered my passions; helping me to solidify my career path in forestry and fall in love all over again every […]

Continuously Improving the Retail Yard

Although the company has changed and adapted during 40 years in business, no change is as observable and remarkable as the physical changes to the Nursery over the last decade. In 2010, the existing 10’x10′ shack which was the hub for all their retail sales at the nursery was replaced by a larger ATCO trailer. […]

Integrating Technology into the Family Business

Over four decades of company growth, keeping up with new technologies has always been a priority. Having first worked with computers at university in the 70’s, Alison had an interest in technology and was at the forefront in the landscaping industry. In 1982 they got their first computer, spending over $8000 for Alison to do […]

Countless Colourful Stories

If you ask any of the Munros about their staff over the years, you will hear some “colourful” stories. Alison has said she could write a book about all the crazy stories they’ve had, and that people often can’t believe the things that have happened over the years. One memorable story was of a landscaper […]

Part of the Family

Although many staff have come and gone through the seasons at Kiwi some names, faces and stories will always remain etched in the Munros’ memories. Since the early years of Kiwi, some of their most dependable, long-term employees have been semi-retired men who were looking for winters off for travel and the opportunity to work […]

Helping the Hired Help

No small company can grow or be successful without staff to back them up along the journey, and Kiwi is no different. Many of Kiwi’s employees have been post-secondary students who’ve worked there for the summers but ultimately chose to continue following their passions into industries other than landscaping. Although they didn’t choose to remain […]

Landscape Gardener Apprenticeship Program

Hard work and practical skills are two values you can see throughout the history of Kiwi and the Munros, in their work and family life. One way this is evident is the family’s commitment and involvement with the apprenticeship process, with Murray starting his apprenticeship at 15 in New Zealand. Fast forward over three decades, […]

The Skills Alberta Competition

When Kathryn attended Olds College for the Landscape Gardener Apprenticeship Program, she was introduced to Skills Alberta competitions and although she was too old to participate as a competitor (candidates must be under 21) she knew she had to be involved. Skills Alberta is a provincial competition of competitors from all facets of the skilled […]

Kiwi’s Commitment to the Community

Many stories have been shared of Alison’s personal commitment to volunteerism and community contribution, but involvement in community and industry has been a constant throughout the history of Kiwi. As a business, Kiwi has donated many trees, plants and hours of labour and expertise to local organizations. They have always felt that it is important […]

Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program

As the Nursery became more productive and the need for farm staff increased, Kiwi was finding it more and more difficult to find reliable and knowledgeable local staff who were willing and capable of doing the physically demanding and often repetitive work. So in 2001 Kiwi Landscaping partnered with the Seasonal Agricultural Worker program for […]

Kathryn & Ashleigh Contributing to the Family Business

Kathryn Munro Kathryn, eldest daughter of Murray and Alison, always loved working with her dad on landscaping sites and enjoyed operating equipment and getting her hands dirty at any opportunity. For two summers in high school she took a break from full time work with Kiwi to build modular homes for a company nearby, but […]

Expanding into the Retail Market

By the early 2000’s the trees Kiwi had planted at the nursery when they first purchased the land were ready to harvest, and it became apparent that Kiwi had more trees than they needed for their current jobs, so started selling their excess stock to other landscapers. As they began selling trees to landscapers, word […]

The Family Business

After adopting Kathryn in 1985 and having Ashleigh in 1990, Murray and Alison continued to focus on the growth of their business and included their girls in the business from a young age. Many of Kathryn and Ashleigh’s childhood memories are related to Kiwi. The brown house where they grew up was attached to the […]

Chickens and Emus and Ostriches, Oh My!

If you’ve visited the Nursery in the last few years, you may have seen chickens roaming around among the plants for sale. While this may not be common practice for retail nurseries and greenhouses, when you know the vast history of animals Murray and Alison have had around, the chickens don’t seem quite so odd. […]

The Blue Roof House

Between 1990 and 1995 Murray and Alison bought 3 neighbouring 80-Acre parcels to grow their Nursery, and a nearby 15-acre parcel with rich soil and an old red barn on it, which Murray and Alison felt was a sort of “Canadian Icon”. The barn is still standing and the property still grows thousands of trees, […]

Alison Keeping Busy in the Community

Since childhood, when she was involved in nearly every extra-curricular available in her school and community, Alison has had a passion for community involvement and “keeping busy”. She is outgoing by nature, loves the company of others, and is a firm believer in being involved in the things you’re passionate about. She never shied away […]

In Search of Better Land for Growing Trees

After their 1985 land purchase did not have suitable conditions to grow the trees they wanted to, Murray and Alison were once again on the hunt for nursery land in 1990. The top priority was finding the right soil conditions, so they focused their attention on agricultural land west of Edmonton, near their existing home […]

The 90’s, Another Decade of Growth

The second decade of Kiwi (1990’s) was another decade of growth, but that growth looked different for the Munros than it did in the 80’s. As more companies got into hardscaping and larger out of town jobs, the competition became greater in those areas – and once again Kiwi Landscaping shifted their focus to where […]

Ashleigh Munro

In 1989, Murray and Alison once again felt that deep desire to bring another child into their family. After their successful adoption experience with Kathryn in 1985, they felt confident to take this route again, so once again began the adoption process by attending an adoption seminar in Edmonton on a beautiful summer day (much […]

Building Their First Tree Farm

After returning from a trip home to New Zealand, Murray and Alison bought their first farm in 1984. They had a specific budget for land that they hoped to use for a warehouse, store equipment and live on, costing less monthly than they had previously been paying for their house mortgage in Edmonton and a […]

Kiwi Landscaping (1983) Ltd.

The 1980’s were a busy time for the Kiwi founders. After going on their own and forming Kiwi Landscaping (1983) Ltd., Murray and Alison experienced rapid business growth as they took on more projects and made a name as a high quality, efficient commercial landscaping company. It was a time of rapid economic growth and […]

Kathryn Munro

After some great business success in the early 1980s and realizing they’d be staying in Alberta for the foreseeable future, Murray and Alison decided to focus on their next big adventure – starting a family. Unfortunately, Murray and Alison dealt with infertility and couldn’t get pregnant. But they weren’t ready to give up on their […]

Settling in Canada

Murray and Alison moved to Alberta in 1978, they quickly realized the opportunities were amazing, and they decided to stay the five years required to obtain citizenship before returning home to New Zealand. The salaries in Edmonton were higher than in New Zealand, so with a significantly lower cost of living and half the taxes, […]

The Beginnings of Kiwi

After two years in Battleford, Murray and Alison were enticed by the opportunities in Alberta and wanted to move to Calgary where some Kiwi friends were living. They had immigrated at the same time. Murray applied for landscaping positions in Calgary, Lacombe and Edmonton. He ended up taking a position in Edmonton in 1978. His […]

An Immigration Story

Shortly before Murray and Alison married in 1975, Father Kaufmann (from the seminary farm where Murray had worked in Canada several years prior) was staying in Invercargill buying bull semen for his farm, so Murray and Alison went to visit him at his hotel. They both wanted to travel, so Murray asked him if there […]

A Couple of Kiwis

After graduating from Massey University in 1973, Alison applied for Food Technology jobs in the South Island of New Zealand as she wanted to see more of her country. She chose to accept a position in Alliance Freezing Works and was the highest paid graduate from her class. At the same time, Murray had just […]

Alison Munro

Alison was born in 1952 in the small farming community of Huinga, New Zealand. She grew up on a 1290 acre sheep farm and was the 3rd of 6 children. They had a very small homestead; so small in fact, she shared a room with her two older siblings. There wasn’t enough room for 3 […]

Murray Munro

Murray was born in 1950 in Invercargill, New Zealand and grew up on a sheep farm in the surrounding area. As the 3rd of 6 children, he spent much of his childhood doing farm chores. One of these chores included picking up sticks from the land, which was once bush land. He would get paid […]