“a big assortment gives experience, but not money.”
— Gunnar James Hiorth
Gunnar Hiorth was engaged in forestry and was educated from Statens forestry school in 1914. Later he went to forestry at Norway's agricultural school and started as a forester in Jøssingfjord in 1921.
He was leading big afforestation work and he started a plant nursery to obtain forest plants for the company he worked for and others similar companies.
When the company was shut down in 1927 he bought the whole plant collection and moved to Håskog where he was running a plant nursery the rest of his life in collaboration with his son Gunnar Hiorth junior. The area and the property was not initially suitable for a plant nursery enterprise, but with indomitable perseverance, miles of ditches and long-term efforts it paid off, and the facility eventually became very beautiful to the standards of that time.
Initially, forest plants accounted for the largest share of production, but later he went gradually over to more ornamental plants and fruit trees, and rare plants and plants unusual for Norway.
This is confirmed by Per T. Ellingsen who was an apprentice in the early 1950`s. Gunnar senior was later running the seed purchase and testing while Gunnar junior was responsible for the daily nursery operation.