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How To Buy Plants Locally

What you should look for in a plant nursery (besides plants)

For the beginning gardener the best source for healthy plants and sound advice is your nearby full service plant nursery or garden center. They stock a wide variety of plants suitable for your particular climate and location and (hopefully) employ experienced and qualified personnel. Often these people have special degrees in horticulture so the novice can feel secure in receiving the best advice on how to select and care for their plants.

The nursery you choose should be clean and orderly, plants should be labeled and priced, and should be arranged in groups according to type: perennials, annuals, shrubs, trees, etc. In addition, aisles should be wide enough to permit the use of a cart, which should be readily available. Look for a "professional" approach to merchandising; special displays of plants on sale or of seasonal interest, attractive groupings of plants for color and texture; a basic sense of style to the operation. And, always, there should be an employee on hand to offer assistance and advice when needed.

Gardeners, on the whole, are a generous and friendly bunch. If you're new to your community or just wanting to get started with a small container garden, pick out the prettiest garden in your neighborhood, introduce yourself to the owner and ask for recommendations on where to shop for plants and garden supplies. Newspaper ads can also be of help, and driving around from one nursery to the next may give you an indication of which one is most appealing to you.

Also, the huge garden or builders' supply warehouses are excellent for tools, equipment, fertilizers, planting mixes, containers and all sorts of accessories for the gardener, and will usually sell for a little less than a local nursery due to turnover, display space and volume.