One of Oxford County’s most unique businesses has cornered the North American sedum market
The Magda family are third generation farmers who have turned 130 acres of land just outside of Princeton in Blandford-Blenheim Township, into the leading sedum operation in North America. A small contract from a family friend back in 2006 was the first step in making Sedum Master into a major company delivering their products to some high-profile clients.
Owner Greg Magda said his biggest project was completed in Minneapolis, Minnesota but he, unfortunately, is not able to reveal any information about the project. “Many of our clients request confidentiality and we give it to them. I can tell you we have done projects for Eric Lindros, Will Smith, and even the former Rogers Centre. We do a lot of high-end stuff that isn’t to be discussed,” he laughed. “It is a pretty cool part of the job. It is a great opportunity to meet different folk like that for a regular country guy like myself.”
What makes sedum such an attractive product is its ruggedness. It is made up of succulent plants which need little water, and Magna said municipal rules are what attracts some people to sedum. “If a city mandates that you can’t water often, having a drought tolerant plant that can be put on rooftops or on the ground and uses little water is a selling point. At the same time, we can install a stormwater retention system for our clients to use when needed.” He adds that several larger cities in North America require some type of vegetation on new builds. “Some municipalities, such as Toronto, Chicago, and New York, will give a tax credit on your building lot for using our products. These cities also mandate the use of a sedum product to even receive a building permit.”
The mats are three feet by six feet and come rolled just like a piece of sod. They can also be used for decorative walls but are primarily a roof-top or ground covering product. “It is often used to cover septic tanks where grass can be difficult to grow. You don’t have to cut it and you don’t need to water it very often. You get a lot of pretty flowers and they attract butterflies and bees,” said Greg.
The high cost of starting a sedum business is one reason there is not much competition. “We have unique products, and it is expensive to get into because of infrastructure, labour, and start-up materials. We need prime farmland, irrigation, greenhouses, and specialized equipment to grow and harvest our crop,” said Greg. “When we get the opportunity to show our products we shine. We have had a lot of competition over the years, but they can’t figure out how we grow it. It is a trade secret of ours how we physically do it. We are now the primary producer in North America,” he added. Sedum Masters also has many retail products like wedding favours and designs, forage pots, and they provide garden centres with unique products. “We can do a lot of different things. We aren’t just stuck to the rooftop.”
You can check out their website at http://www.sedummaster.com.