Why shop at a local garden center
Another garden season is upon us. I can tell. While driving by a big box store I beheld those hideous steel rolling racks that they cram plants into, eagerly awaiting a shipment that most likely entailed a multi-state journey inside a container refrigerated to keep them cool. Oh boy.
There are several ways to approach the acquisition of plants for your new or established garden. You can shop on the internet and see enhanced plant offerings, head over to one of those box stores and hope Bozo the Clown doesn’t offer you advice, don’t laugh, I’ve heard it happen. Maybe there’s Agnes down the street splitting her Day Lilys Hemerocallis and then there’s Goffle Brook Farms, a local nursery and garden center.
For those just starting in gardening or wanting to teach children and make it a family affair, there is nothing that beats the knowledge and opinions of someone who works with these very plants on a daily basis. Plants aren’t like Goldfish. You can’t put the in a bowl, feed them and change their water once in a while. Plants are complex organisms, and just like we need certain nutrients at specific times to grow, so do they and keeping plants healthy requires knowledge and learned practice. And that you don’t get in a corporate seminar held to a group of trainees three weeks before the onslaught of avid buyers.
Watering in itself is an art. You don’t just drench them all at once. Each day when I water, its a new learning experience as you mentally need to focus and know where each plant is in its growth cycle and what its growing medium is and the water accordingly. It’s also the time that I get to look at everything and turn things, and make mental notes about what needs to be addressed.
Not only do local garden centers tend to know everything about the specific plants in stock, but local nursery owners and staff also know your local conditions: your USDA Zone, they just experienced the same cold winter as you did, which plants are susceptible to mildew, and so on. They will steer you to the right plants for the right space—crucial to garden success. Local nurseries also offer solutions to local challenges. You don’t need to have an outdoor space to find a way to introduce nature into your life. A tree pit or a windowsill can be your garden. And we carry the plants to succeed in either.
Every region has plants that evolved in its conditions and at Goffle Brook Farms we stock them. These native choices are ideal for our growing conditions, encourage and promote wildlife, i.e. hummingbirds, butterflies, bats (yes Bats are helpful). They are hardwired to your climate; they tend to be low-maintenance, as long as they are planted in conditions similar to the ones they experience in their natural habitats. Local pollinators as well as migrating birds appreciate the buffet of local flowers and fruit; and, finally, you are boosting biodiversity by growing plants that are not exotic and invasive.
Independent nurseries face many challenges. Fickle real estate markets and the constant threat of development loom large. Nurseries sell living stock, susceptible to pests and extreme weather. Hosting and caring for large numbers of plants is physically demanding and time consuming. Big box stores with lower prices, little variety, and employees with less intel lure shoppers unaware of the significant benefits that come with buying from independent nurseries. Next time you need a plant, head for the business that knows its business.
Head on over to Goffle Brook Farms – ask for Donna (she’s always up for making another gardening friend).