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Re: todays experience


Well, you guys are all right in a sense.  There's absolutely nothing
wrong with the tried and true in the plant world, nor with being able
to get those plants at a really reasonable cost because they can be
easily propagated in huge numbers.  I'd imagine that most of our
gardens contain a lot of these plants and we all started out growing
them.  I sure wouldn't want to be without some of them, no matter how
common they are.  For some gardeners, they are sufficient and that's
just fine.  For others, they are not as we get enamored of some genus
and go berserk trying to have every member of it that can be found on
this planet.

Personally, I think it's a simple matter of economics as far as local
nurseries and garden centers are concerned.  If it sells, they buy
and stock it.  If they buy it and it doesn't sell, then they don't
buy it again because they've lost money on the deal and they can't
stay in business doing that for long.  Vision, but vision with a set
of 'it sells' blinders on it.  Not all local establishments only
carry the tried and trues, but those are the majority.

It also, very likely, has something to do with local market
conditions.  Nurseries and garden centers that are located in prime
gardening country in areas with higher population numbers will carry
a wider variety of plants than those in smaller communities with,
perhaps, harsher growing conditions, because there are more serious
gardeners buying from them and they demand the unusual.  I'm thinking
mainly of nurseries in the PNW where I know you can get fabulous
plants that you cannot get in the greater Washington DC area except
via mail order.  I know there are other spots in this country where
serious gardening is not relegated to the few.  Even a couple of my
local nurseries are starting to carry plants I could only get via
mailorder a few years ago.

Now that WalMart, Lowes, Home Depot and K-Mart carry the more usual
annuals, I'm not really seeing many of them at the local nurseries -
they have moved on to more exotic annuals to fill a niche and provide
something that the big box stores are not selling at cut rate.  

I've been getting my Impatiens at one or another of the big box
stores lately...they are not the quality of those I used to get at
the nurseries (for twice the price) plus, a 24 cell pack of
supposedly one color will always turn out to have a screaming orange
or two in it, but the price is low and with Impatiens, as long as
they are alive and relatively healthy, they will turn out fine...I've
also found some very nice Hosta for very low cost, not to mention a
rack of marvelous ferns that K-Mart had last year - most unusual and
I wonder if they have them again this year...they didn't seem to be
selling out of them last year because I expect most people are
looking for flowers and forgetting the plants that form a background
for them.

I think there is a place for big box stores selling the more common
plants at low prices, local nurseries carrying what they know will
sell in their particular market AND mailorder nurseries who generally
provide plants not otherwise obtainable, although many of them carry
a lot of pretty normal fare as well.   

I'm particularly in favor of supporting mail order nurseries because
I think that's where the real work is done by the really dedicated
growers, generally on a very small scale.   I am NOT including
Wayside, Burpee, Park and White Flower Farm here...those are
corporate entities these days.  None of the smaller nurseries are
getting rich at it; most of them do it in large part for love of
plants.  The genetic diversity is being kept alive through the
efforts of these people who often are the plant explorers or growers
from seed obtained through exchanges, etc.,  who are introducing new
species to our gardens, trialing plants and breeding plants.  Now,
not all of them fall into this category, but many do and we need to
keep them in business for our own selfish ends:-)

I'm not sure, Kitty, that it's lack of imagination on the buyer's
part.  I expect it's mostly lack of knowledge about plants and the
desire to have something colorful in their yards that they are pretty
sure will grow because they've seen it in other yards.  There are way
more people out there buying plants who are not serious gardeners and
who just want their yards to look "nice" than there are plant nuts
like all of us - whether we're nuts about the tried and trues or the
exotic and odds or a little of both:-)

 Marge Talt, zone 7 Maryland
mtalt@hort.net
Editor:  Gardening in Shade
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----------
> From: james singer <jsinger@igc.org>
> 
> I agree 110%, Kitty. But it's the vision thing. And most of them
don't 
> have it. I've always suspected that if the normally inept local 
> merchants would quit whining about Wal-Mart and start offering
value 
> [instead of same-old, same-old], they could very well whup the
Arkansas 
> titan. If you read the NYTimes or the WSJ, you know that Wal-Mart's

> plan in invade real cities [as opposed to jerk-water towns like my 
> neighborhood] has stalled again. They are frightened of competition

> from quality merchandise. There are lessons there. Mom and pop need
to 
> wake up.
> 
> On Friday, May 7, 2004, at 05:42 PM, Kitty wrote:
> 
> > Jim, you're right.  But a smart nursery buyer could spend a
little time
> > looking for more options.  The min order qty can be overcome. 
Green 
> > Mtn
> > Transplants offers the ordinary and a few extraordinaries that
you can 
> > mix
> > and match all you want at no additional cost.  I'm sure there are

> > others out
> > there.  Doesn't Barry Glick - Sunshine Farms - do this?
> >
> > Also, I'm aware of a couple of small nursery owners who split
orders.  
> > They
> > are on opposite sides of town, so generally aren't competing for 
> > customers.
> >
> > I think sometimes it can be the buyers' fault.  No imagination. 
But 
> > there's
> > a caveat to sticking with the tried and true. Small nurseries
can't 
> > compete
> > with the big box stores on the same merchandise.  Why pay $15 for
a
> > Rudbeckia that you can pick up for $3.99 at K-Mart?  Specializing
in 
> > the
> > right area, creating your niche, is what will keep the little guy
in
> > business.  Your specialty might be the kind of plants, or the
service 
> > or
> > even the ambience.  But it can't be the price.
> >
> > Kitty
> >
> >
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: "james singer" <jsinger@igc.org>
> > To: <gardenchat@hort.net>
> > Sent: Friday, May 07, 2004 3:52 PM
> > Subject: Re: [CHAT] todays experience
> >
> >
> >> I think Lynda's got it right. Tried and true is safe and
predictable.
> >> In addition, plants are perishable and there's the minimum
quantity
> >> thing that make's it iffy to buy on speculation.
> >>
> >> This tendency on the part of the marketplace to standardize is
what
> >> makes underground markets--plant society sales, farmers'
markets,
> >> garage sales--interesting.
> >>
> >> On Friday, May 7, 2004, at 09:19 AM, Lynda Young wrote:
> >>
> >>> The owners I've spoken to in this area says it's better
business to
> >>> stick with the well-known, comfortable plants that everyone 
> >>> recognizes.
> >>> Not enough space or money to invest a lot in plants that most
people
> >>> are
> >>> not familiar with.
> >>>
> >>> But, isn't that part of the fun of gardening?  Stretching the
limits
> >>> and
> >>> trying something new in the hope of finding a great addition to
your
> >>> plantings.  Unfortunately, it seems you can only do that
through
> >>> mail-order in most cases.  Certainly not everything you get
will
> >>> thrive,
> >>> but when an experiment works it is a real thrill.
> >>>
> >>> Lynda
> >>> Zone 7 - West Tn
> >>>
> >>> -----Original Message-----
> >>> From: owner-gardenchat@hort.net
[mailto:owner-gardenchat@hort.net] On
> >>> Behalf Of Donna
> >>> Sent: Thursday, May 06, 2004 9:31 PM
> >>> To: gardenchat@hort.net
> >>> Subject: RE: [CHAT] todays experience
> >>>
> >>>
> >>> Yeah I am kinda worried about that.... There are so many more
choices
> >>> via mail order, but I always wondered about that.. like if they
are
> >>> really hardy and grow able here, why isn't any of the nurseries
> >>> carrying
> >>> them? I understand the big box stores only do the main plants,
but 
> >>> what
> >>> about the specialty ones?
> >>>
> >>> Anyone care to explain it to me?
> >>>
> >>> Donna
> >>>
> >>>>
> >>>> Uh-oh, Donna.  Careful - you might get hooked with this mail
order
> >>>> thing!  And, believe me, I know whereof I speak ;o)
> >>>>
> >>>> Lynda
> >>>> Zone 7 - West TN
> >>>
> >>>
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> >>>
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> >>>
> >> Island Jim
> >> Southwest Florida
> >> Zone 10
> >> 27.0 N, 82.4 W
> >>
> >>
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> Island Jim
> Southwest Florida
> Zone 10
> 27.0 N, 82.4 W
> 
>
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