A shout out in the local press is money in the bank for a small specialty nursery in the big city. Fremont Gardens was blessed with the generous support of many prominent local journalists. A brief mention of a particularly lovely and fragrant sweet pea variety on our seed racks would bring a flood of customers to our front door to fend off the economic wolf at the back. Again and again, these brief moments in the media sun would boost our presence – read sales – and ultimately helped us to build a loyal and faithful customer base.
Imagine my pleasure and total surprise – like an electric shock up my spine! – when reading this morning’s paper, coffee cup at my side, hogging the heat from the register, I came across this:
Dormant oils preferably are applied on windless, sunny days in February or March, before buds begin to break into leaf. (Most years, we have to settle for just windless.) I prefer to use a highly refined horticultural oil called Sunspray.
Like many sustainable and organic products, you are most likely to find Sunspray oil at independent nurseries. Family-run businesses such as Swansons Nursery, Fremont Gardens, or Molbaks tend to offer a fuller ranger of alternatives to chemical pesticides.
The above is an excerpt from esteemed NW garden writer Ann Lovejoy. Pearls of advice from her lips are nearly as valuable to a small business as the real gems! So THANK YOU Ms. Lovejoy! But…uh, the doors of Fremont Gardens have been shuttered amost 18 months now.
However, Ann is spot on in championing independent nurseries. Someday, (and that day may very well have arrived) when the giant orange home repair mega marts and every grocery store in town have moved on to the next new thing, independent nurseries and their knowledgeable, hardworking and tireless staff will still be there to shepherd gardeners down their garden path. (you can read the entire article from this morning’s PI here: Spray pest-fighting dormant oil sprays on a windless day)
Whatever my day job – freelance writer, garden designer, head cook and farmer of my household – I will always declare the value of independent nurseries and the tremendous and often unsung value they bring to a community. Just look at all the newbies looking to growing their own food for the first time with nary a green thumb among them! Admittedly you can get a world of information on line, but when an icky green thing is eating your tomato vines or all your lettuce seedlings have mysteriously vanished overnight – who ya gonna call?!?
Contrary to what most folks think nurseries are not about plants – well ok, some of it is about plants; those beautiful, lush, photosynthesizing marvels, endlessly fascinating oxygen-producing widgets infinitely abundant in variety and selection. Green plants, gold plants, big plants, small plants.
Here in the Northwest where a benign climate affords us a broad gardening experience we lucky gardeners can choose from a vast array of plants suitable for cultivation – sentimental cottage favorites, sexy woodland ephemeral wonders, even exotic and strange succulent rarities will all flourish when properly sited and cared for.
Nurseries are our link between all this horticultural bounty and the path to success in our own backyards and the real value of any nursery large or small, is the people behind the plants.
Your average nursery worker is a rare breed in today’s highly competitive job market; clearly not in it for the pay, job security, or the benefits (although the plant discount is most appreciated), most nursery workers are themselves avid gardeners looking to enrich their passions rather than their bank accounts. They are a wealth of information and expert in the possibilities and challenges of local gardening conditions.
from “Nurseries offer much more than just plants!” which I wrote for Northwest Garden News, Dec. 07
At this point I could also go off on the value of dedicated small publishers who work every bit as hard as nursery staff to bring accurate, local and pertinent garden news to the community. Times are tough for newspapers…my morning rag the PI, mention above, is in it’s seeming last month of publication and with it’s demise will be the death of one of the few remaining cities with 2 daily papers.
Once again, here I sit at the keyboard, when in fact I’m supposed to be packing for a trip out of town. Step away from the soapbox Lorene. In the meantime gardeners, go pick up some dormant oil spray, buy the paper and most of all visit your local nursery…they could use your company!