Check out native plants. It's becoming the trend to plant with native plants here in the PNW. There's a nursery in Oregon I use because they're the closest.
Yes, the market is still here for the traditional ornamentals. However as green building and LEED catch the native market is becoming bigger and bigger. Check out recent issues of Garden Design and Horticulture. Packed full of articles on natives.
If you have a pretty good knowledge of botany, and know what's native to your area you might be able to do well with it.
Plus side to using natives is you really don't have to put a ton of effort into growing them. They're native to your area so they do quite well on the annual rainfall. In the projects I've done so far with natives I haven't installed any supplemental irrigation or put the landscape on a fertilizer program.
Now if there isn't a native nursery serving your area yet and there's interest that's good. You can be the first. Then when it catches on you'll already be established in the market as a leader. Both in the nursery and the landscape design/install side.
There are some cons to natives. Firstly not everyone likes the look. It's not the manicured, Victorian garden ideal. Up here I use a lot of river rock and boulders. The plants tend to be short, scrubby, and hardy. It is a niche market.
To sell native landscapes you really have to think outside the box on design work. Something like Tufted Hairgrass is not even remotely close to a traditional ornamental. It looks good in the right setting, but stick it in a more traditional garden design and it looks like a weed. To make it look good you have to bring the mountains to the house. I use a lot of boulders and river rock when I do natives. Give it a rougher, less polished, less manicured look. Like the house was stuck on the side of a mountain.
A definite pro to doing natives is price. They are cheap. Some seed, some dirt, a plastic pot and they thrive. You're not going to need an elaborate climate controlled greenhouse to grow stuff native to your area. Because they're native they're adapted to the regions rainfall and climate. It's a pretty slick set up if you ever get to visit a native nursery. Doesn't look like a traditional one at all.
If this is something you're thinking of definetely do some homework. Find out what's native to Silver Creek MS. Start right in your own backyard and see how big of a region those plants encompass. The bigger your market the better. Set up a website, market it heavily, sell the environmentally friendly factor. Learn how to package and ship the plants throughout your region.
The other cool thing about this is I install plants that are native to the inland northwest, but are so rare in the wild that the average backpacker/outdoor enthusiast would probably never see them. So there's the conservation aspect as well.
Mein Fuhrer, I can walk!
Originally Posted by Wet_Boots
Once upon a time, there was a lonely oxygen atom. The oxygen atom met two little hydrogen atoms, and suggested they try a threesome. They did, and everybody got wet. The end.