Bananas in the backyard

Nursery specializes in exotic trees, plants

Amber Nicholson newsroom@journalpioneer.com
Published on August 10, 2010
Owners of The Honey Tree Nursery Kevin and Bonnie Cook, along with their son Logan, recently opened a business that specializes in unique plants and trees.
Amber Nicholson/Journal Pioneer

Summerside - It started as a hobby. Then it grew, grew and grew some more.

A handful of seedlings have now turned into a house and yard full of hundreds of unique plants and trees.

"Two years ago I built a greenhouse for my wife and I just used the back corner of it to grow some seeds," said Kevin Cook, who moved from Ottawa to Summerside in 1993 for work, along with his wife Bonnie, who's a Moncton native.

"I didn't intend on getting into large trees. One thing just led to another."

The Cooks now own The Honey Tree Nursery in Summerside.

"This is my hobby," Cook said as he looked around his yard of greenery. "This is a hobby that became a business."

Honey Tree is not home to your everyday plant or tree. The Cooks pride themselves on their specialization of unique and different varieties.

"When we moved from Ontario I noticed there were trees back home that P.E.I. does not have. Same as when I saw palm trees in Florida," Cook explained. "I really like different trees because it allows me to bring a little bit of away to P.E.I."

Cook said he spends countless hours researching online and reading books about unique plants and trees.

A few uncommon varieties one can find at Honey Tree include the Kentucky coffee tree, ginkgo, amur maple and sensitive plant.

What also makes Cook's gardening unique is his interest in pushing the Island's zones. P.E.I. is listed as having two zones: zone 5b and 6a. Cook enjoys attempting to grow trees and plants that are supposed to be in a higher or lower zone.

"It's a lot of fun to test the zones," he said. "I really enjoy testing to see what will survive and what won't."

For example, Cook grows a variety of exotic fruit in and outside of his home including bananas, kiwi, pawpaw, mulberries, plums, pears and peaches.

"I sell peaches and a lot of people don't think you can grow them here," said Cook.

The Cooks now have more than 80 full-sized trees, hundreds of plants and the largest variety of magnolia on P.E.I.