Sunday, April 27, 2008

It says "Nursery" but it is really a Box Store

They do sell a lot of plants though. I have to admit I was there this weekend. The landscape crew needs 3 Compact Japanese Hollies to match an existing planting. They were not to be had at Behnke's or Homestead so.... I got three 3 gallon plants at the pictured emporium, for only $12 each. They were very overwatered but I expect that that happened at this site and since they had likely only been there a day or two or three, they could dry out and recover.

The retail Nursery business is an interesting phenomenon now. The big box stores, like this one, use the buying power generated by their giant sales to drive their wholesaler's pricing down. They don't take great care of plants, but since their stock turns over so quickly it doesn't matter. You can get some good deals if you buy before their maintenance regimen has a chance to damage the material. Having said this though, to be fair I have to observe that the box stores are raising their prices. "Specialty annuals" for 3-4 dollars a 4" pot is not bad but not great either. Its about what most Nurseries charge. $15,00 for a 2 gallon deciduous azalea ('Gibraltar) is good, but $60.00 for Pinus flexilis Vanderwolf's Pyaramid in a 3 gallon pot is what real nurseries charge. They're still a good place to find a bargain if you know your plants and understand whether a particular plant is healthy or not.

I worked at the FONA plant sale at the Arboretum on Friday and went back Saturday. It was so crowded I just drove on by. I got some great stuff on Friday though; Crinum x procerum 'Sangria', Hosta Mouse ears', a dwarf Aqueligia canadensis, Sisyrinchium ? 'Suwanee' (maybe a new species) and a few other odds and ends. FONA also sells used books; they are alway good but this year they had the bulk of two incredible personal libraries. The books were wonderful but the experience of buying them was bittersweet.

On Saturday I planted. The plants came from everywhere. Some were hanging around after being brough back from Florida, some from FONA, a few hanging around from the Lahr sale, some were dormant in the basement, one from Behnkes. Wow. I didn't know I had this much space.

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