Jason Hess took a tour of a nursery by a resaca in Bayview in 2017 and discovered a paradise.
It was River’s End Nursery back when Hess first saw it. He works in the healthcare field, with a hobby and passion for growing fruit trees, so the tour was of special interest to him.
Hess was in awe of the splendor at River’s End. Ed and Kathy Pechacek took a piece of farmland in 1987 and planted an astounding variety of fruit trees from seed. It became a happy coincidence at the time that the Pechaceks were looking to sell River’s End. Hess walked into the opportunity at 27510 Ted Hunt Road.
Hess and his wife Lara didn’t let it pass and purchased the Bayview nursery in 2018. They renamed it for what is, a paradise. Paradise Gardens today boasts of having 60 varieties of mango, 30 of avocado and 40 of citrus to go with guavas and star fruits.
“Everything we have we grow here,” Hess said. “Anything you see here we’re growing somewhere on the property.”
Paradise Gardens is somewhat off the beaten path, but once getting there, there’s no rush to leave. The entrance to the nursery is about a quarter mile and is lined by native brush and trees. There are eight acres of fruit trees inside and long greenhouses with hundreds of varieties of mangoes, peaches and papayas. Walking down the aisles of the greenhouses, there’s varieties of fruits not often seen such as the sugar apple, oso negro and chocolate tree.
“It’s rare to have a collection like this anywhere,” Hess said. “So many things can be grown in the Valley and what you see here can be grown in the area.”
Hess takes a string of berry-size fruits called longans, which have a cantaloupe-like taste, as an example of the variety he has at the nursery. Figs, ginger and coffee trees are also at Paradise Gardens.
Hess has a particular infinity for mangoes. Paradise Gardens offers peach mangoes, coconut mangoes and pina colada mangoes – among other varieties – and are all featured in the yearly Mango Fest.
The yearly event is held every summer at the Bayview nursery. In non-COVID-19 times, Mango Fest attracts hundreds of visitors and promotes tours and the sort of ecotourism Hess hopes to develop.
“It’s kind of a hobby passion,” Hess said of the nursery and promoting gardening and the growing of fruit trees.
Close to Home
The nursery is more than a business for Hess. He, his wife and their six children live in a home on the back end of the 10-acre site. Living amid such lush surroundings is something Hess is grateful for each day.
“Some of my colleagues talk about going to the Hill Country to get away from things,” he said. “I come home and get away every day.”
Paradise Gardens is open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.