"A Little History Behind the Trees"
Jerry Mendon grew up in Southern California. He attended Cal Poly Pomona College in 1948, pursing "bugs" (entomology). He lived on campus and while attending there became interested in ornamental horticulture, commonly referred to as OH. It didn't take him long before he decided that OH was the direction he wanted to go. In late 1948, with the help of his dad, he purchased a small nursery that was about to close, renamed it Mendon's Nursery, and went to work. Jerry worked long and hard hours to make Mendon's Nursery a success. He got married in January of 1949 to Joanne Roddewig, his high school sweetheart. The years ahead brought the two of them the blessing of three wonderful children: Karen, Mike, and John, in that order.
While making the nursery a profitable and noteworthy business, Jerry got involved in landscaping and the moving of large trees. As the area around the nursery transitioned into small lots and apartments, it became obvious that a nursery of its size, (quite large for a retail nursery) was not in the zoning picture. When a huge increase in property taxes was levied, Jerry saw the handwriting on the wall and closed the nursery, then sold the property in 1968. However, he continued to work in landscaping and large tree transporting, an industry that would go on to support him after he would eventually move his family to Northern California.
Why would Jerry move north? Both Jerry and Joanne and Joanne's parents decided that the Southern California area was getting too crowded, and started looking for a better place to live. Quite by accident, Jerry read an ad listing a nursery for sale in Paradise, California. He didn't really want to own and operate another retail nursery, but the name of the town and the geographic location intrigued him, so Jerry made a trip north in 1968 and again in 1969 to check out the nursery and the area. He didn't buy the nursery, but fell in love with the area and subsequently purchased a little house in the town of Paradise, joining his wife's parents who had moved to the same community just six months earlier. Since he had brought all of his heavy landscaping equipment up north with him, Jerry put it to good use. When it came to landscaping work, you name it, Jerry did it. He moved a lot of mature olive trees from orchards to landscapes. With his large boom truck, Jerry also did some logging, hauling trees from the places they had fallen to Foothill Mill and Lumber, a small outfit in Paradise. In addition, he did some trenching work, spending a couple of summers digging water service connections for the developing area of Paradise Pines. Yes, Jerry did not want to own and operate another nursery and when he moved his family to Paradise in 1970, he spent the next four years doing a lot of landscaping work to support his family. The nursery business was calling, however, and it was calling him from right outside the backdoor of the little house he had bought in Paradise, California.
It was a nice little house, situated on a four and one half acre piece of property with a lot of fruit and nut trees on it. With all the fruit trees on the property, Jerry and Joanne had their own little fruit stand, which led to the growing and selling of a few of these saplings. This was the beginning of the present-day Mendon's Nursery. From a roadside stand selling a few fruit trees back in 1974, to the five and one half acres Mendon's Nursery now occupies, Jerry's youngest son, John has seen the growth of the family business. John had attended Chico State University in the nearby town of the same name. Upon graduating in 1979, he joined his father and mother in the business, maintaining and selling some of the finest nursery stock in Northern California. Today, Mendon's Nursery continues to grow for the homeowner and retailer alike, bringing natural beauty to the lives of everyone.