Tornello Nurseries

3 Boys Farm Inc.
P.O. Box 1376
Ruskin, FL 33575-1376
phone 813.645.5445

3 Boy Farm

About Robert Tornello

Robert Tornello, founder and President of Tornello Nurseries, has a flair for horticultural design that dates back to his teenage years in New York. After school, he would help elderly neighbors with garden chores; this would soon evolve into designing and creating entire landscapes.

Tornello moved to Florida in the late 1970's and began using a broad palette of tropical specimens in his designs. This led to the construction of his own nursery, in 1978: a place to house all those massive exotic plants.

In the early 1980's, Tornello moved to Montreal, Canada, where he designed and built many award-winning landscapes. On his near-weekly visits to his Florida nursery, he would often bring architects along to select specimen palms for interiorscapes. Tornello's customer base expanded to include other northern cities like Washington D.C. and Philadelphia, where he installed exotic indor gardens in luxury hotels and corporate buildings.

One such project brought him not only a measure of notoriety, but also a sense of clarity as to why he was working with plants and design in the first place.

The Centre Sheraton Montreal was scheduled to open in March, and it was already late fall. In Montreal, that means serious weather concerns. Yet the owners were hoping to have both a park-sized rooftop garden and a sprawling lobby interiorscape installed and completed in time for their Grand Opening. Every landscape company in Canada had closed down for the winter: it couldn't be done. Or so they thought.

Tornello embarked on an adventure that featured closing city streets to accomodate two cranes, hauling giant linden and birch--as well as ash, blue spruce, mugho pines and maples--up twelve stories in a blizzard, and then flying up more than five hundred tons of soil and flagstone. Once the rooftop park was completed (merely days before the soil would freeze solid), Tornello set about turning the lobby into a showcase of towering palms and lush tropical foliage.

People came from all over Canada to see the Centre Sheraton's botanical sensations, which are flourishing today, some twenty years later. One couple, who'd driven several hours, were thrilled to see their first palm trees. And there it was: the realization that good design, like the plants themselves, can generate powerful magic. Both artist and audience are enriched.

Inspired, Tornello began acquiring bamboo.

He had seen its occasional use in exterior landscapes and been impressed with its versatility and graceful appearance. He started cultivating and containerizing some of the different varieties, all the while experimenting and researching. Moving back to Florida was the next logical step. With a formidable inventory of bamboo at the ready, Tornello could set about promoting the plant for interiorscape use. His first all-bamboo installation was in Austin, Texas, in 1986. And as word got out, orders started coming in.

Bamboo: Designs on the Future

Although we are a wholesale bamboo nursery, our roots are planted in the creative and fertile territory of design. Accordingly, we not only have an organic appreciation and practical understanding of a project's limitations, but also an imaginative approach toward realizing its possibilities. Extending far beyond the scope of most nurseries, we offer specialized consulting services as pertain to lighting, planter design, fertilization, and, of course, species selection.

Today, Tornello Nurseries are proud to have supplied countless varieties of bamboo to projects all over the world. Places like London, where we shipped thirty-eight foot bamboo in refrigerated overseas containers, and Hong Kong, where gigantic interior specimens now enhance a striking, black-and-white marble bank lobby. Tornello bamboo grows in Canada, in Europe, in Asia and in the Americas.

And here in the States, our clients include theme parks, zoological habitats, hospitals, office buildings, Zen gardens, airports, luxury homes, hotels, and sports facilities.

All enhanced by the splendor of a grass.