Welcome Gardener Friend! We’re happy you are here.
The internet and the “mass merchants” can offer garden advice, but information and product specific to your area is a must if you want a thriving garden. Your local independent garden center, like Western Gardens in Utah, live in and are experienced in your specific climate zone and your certain soil conditions. These two crucial factors determine which plant varieties will do best in your yard and those that will simply die. If you don’t match the plant type with the correct area in your yard and with proper soil, you can easily find yourself exhausted and frustrated from all your efforts plus a lot of wasted money. Shopping your independent garden centers will help you successfully grow a beautiful garden.
Here are 5 reasons why:
Local professionals – Local independent garden centers tend to hire more local knowledgeable plant gardeners and professionals. They’ll have a great passion for gardening. A plant enthusiast will help you find success rather than somebody from the window department. (True personal story!) If your local has a horticulturist by profession, like Western Gardens, even better.
Up-to-date Information – Locals stay up-to-date on information regarding weather – both current and recent past conditions. They also will know of current pest infiltrations, and such. Someone in another part of the country doesn’t have a clue as to what is happening in Utah. Your local knows what you need to be successful, so their business can be successful.
#2 PLANT MATERIAL –
Premium Quality – Local independent nurseries buy premium quality; they do not buy what is cheap. Your long term success is their success.
Timing & Choice – Locals buyers are making the purchases specific for your area, rather than a corporate worker ordering and sending material to their big stores across the country. For example, big box stores will bring in and try to sell you a watermelon seedling in March. (True story 4-8-2017) It won’t succeed in Utah planting that early; watermelons hate cold weather. Independents bring in the material for you at the right time. If it is a little early or their shipment just came in, they will warn you to harden off the plants before planting.
Unique Material – Independents tend to have a wider variety of unique plant material. They bring in the latest developed plants that should survive your climate.
Price – In general, independents tend to be a little more expensive because they don’t buy cheap, but rather quality. And many times the price difference is pennies. This quality saves you money in the long run.
Consider this when looking at the price: If you purchase a petunia from a mass merchant for 15 cents less than at the independent, but the plant doesn’t do well so you buy more plants to fill in, or you even have to completely replant, did you really save 15 cents? We all eventually learn that sometimes it is better to pay a little extra for a quality product. In the end, your effort, sweat, sore muscles, and your money won’t be wasted.
OWN – And we’re not talking Oprah’s TV network. Independents own the plant material they sell, thus they usually take better care of their product. Remember their passion for gardening!
Many mass merchants sell on consignment, not actually owning the product. You may see vibrant plants when you walk in, but you take a gamble that the plant has been properly cared for. A stressed droopy plant can “bounce back” when finally watered, but after repeated neglect by the time you get it planted (giving it a natural shock to its system), your plant may never recover or struggle. Also, plants don’t like sitting on top of black asphalt in the parking lot.
To illustrate this point of owning and caring for product, see how plant material was cared for by a local mass merchant for three consecutive days (4-8-2017). Witness below recent care of rose bushes, vegetable seedlings, and lemon trees during an early spring April weekend sale. Draw your own conclusions about waste and quality of product. In all three cases, material was eventually thrown away and new product brought in. Independents conserve on waste by taking care of their plant material. Again, they own what they are selling to you.
In short, reputable independents, like Western Gardens, purchase and tend the best plant material for you, their customer.
#3 SOIL – Local soils are different throughout your area. Just in the Salt Lake valley, soils drastically range from sandy to heavy clay. A quality independent will know what you can do to improve your specific soil structure so you can be more successful with your plant selections.
#4 PROBLEM SOLVERS – Locals are the “go to” people when you need advice. They give you personal attention to select proper plants for your yard, give advice for additives for your soil, plus tips and tricks to get your garden into tiptop shape. They are also the ones that people seek when there are problems and pests in the garden. Your locals are the plant doctors. Consider this, if you don’t buy your product from the experts, how can you expect them to help you with an inferior product you bought somewhere else? They are willing to help you with your inferior product when they are able, but why not save yourself heartache and money by purchasing from the independent in the first place?
#5 LOCAL ECONOMY – Often shoppers don’t realize that when they purchase from a big national company, a lot of their money leaves the state and pays employees back in Georgia or some other state where the headquarters are located. When you buy local, you keep the funds within the local community and you keep your independent garden center thriving and open, ready to serve you for years to come.
Local independents also more often than not buy from local growers, who meet the quality standards.
Keep the independents in business so they will be there when you really need a “plant doctor”.
Support your neighbor; buy Utah!