Monday, February 9, 2009

Support Your Local Garden Center!

Many of you know that I maintain the plants at a penthouse residence in B'head, which is, in and of itself, a pretty awesome gardening experience. Do you have any idea what it's like to maintain an Italian cypress in the sun and wind of the 42nd floor? Needless to say, lots of stuff froze solid during last week's cold snap, so I'm hoping things will revive a little bit with this week's thaw.

I was driving around that area today on a quest for one perfect large rosemary plant, and ended up in several different nurseries that I haven't visited in a little while. Between the combination of last week's weather, the season, the drought and the economy, the visits were depressing on one hand, inspirational on the other.

The big orange box store had virtually nothing in stock, short of some shell-shocked pansies and the promise of lots of deliveries coming in daily.

Hastings' in Brookhaven was a little better, but virtually everything there was an indoor plant. Since I readily kill orchids (not on purpose), I didn't spend a dime. It was a good visit, though, since the sun was shining, it was in the mid 60's and there were tons of worker bees running around getting ready for spring shipments. They did have some cool "pot feet" for only $3 each....those of you who shop at Hastings know that $3 usually buys a bottle of water there!...though their plants are pretty fabulous usually.

Over at Ashe-Simpson Garden Center, it was pretty depressing from the street with the plastic shrouding the plant area, but inside was as cool as ever. The ladies had moved all of the camellias, daphnes, etc., into the cold greenhouse, so it was just bursting with color and fragrance! If you aren't familiar with Ashe-Simpson, you need to go there. Carole, Rosemary and crew are extremely knowledgeable, and just plain "good people."

So my point, four paragraphs later, is SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL GARDEN CENTER! There were lots of comments at last week's flower show that things were smaller this year. The truth is that some of the boutique companies are having a hard time making ends meet, much less spending thousands on these shows.

In times like these, with weather like we've had the past couple of years, many of these smaller companies are having a tough time holding on; others, like Perennial Grace, just couldn't keep going for another season, and will be sadly missed in Atlanta. We count on them to introduce new cultivars, give us endless amounts of free advice, listen to our whining, and save the best plants for us personally, so we need to spend some money with them! Consider it your local version of the economic recovery plan! Who couldn't use just one more (fill in the blank) in the garden this year?


  1. B'head? I'm for local garden centers in principal but sometimes my wallet wants to go to Lowes.

  2. Sorry about that. Buckhead is one of the more affluent parts of Atlanta. I've been known to hit Lowe's with some regularity, as well; found an awesome (unnamed) heuchera there last fall, ended up buying 12

  3. Gotcha--that's like B'ham for Birmingham, which is an affluent part of metro Detroit. Both Lowes and Home Depot also have crazy end of season sales (I got almost all my mums there for 25 cents each) and almost all my arborvitae and dwarf Alberta spruce (I know they're boring but they're to create privacy) were $3.33 or $6.66 in fall sales over the years. I do like my local garden centers for shrubs and whatnot, and any time I'm looking for something specific. When I was still married to Mr. Ford Exec, I shopped local nurseries a lot more.

  4. Perhaps be happy you're no longer married to Mr. Ford Exec from what I've seen in the Congressional hearings......