Thursday, May 7, 2015

Spring Flowers: Buying Local

My wife and I have visited a number of nurseries in the past week or two searching for the perfect hanging baskets for our front porch. The hanging baskets of wave petunias we had last year were spectacular, blooming well into late November. We bought them unexpectedly at a local hardware store where we just happened to stop when the plants first arrived. I thought the low price they asked was a sweet deal, but I was really patting myself on the back by the end of the season for the length of time we were able to enjoy them.

The "Wave" Petunia hybrids have really become popular in the last few years for their many excellent qualities — hardiness, profligacy, low maintenance (no dead-heading), variety, and all around good looks.

If you are purchasing perennials, I recommend staying with established nurseries versus places that only sell plants seasonally. You may pay a little more, but I think you will be more satisfied with the plants in the long run.

I was surprised how much prices varied at the places we shopped. Surprisingly, the chain hardware store not only had "more doing," but you could do it at the most expensive prices. And their stock was not all that impressive. For local folks, there is a nursery just south of Prince Frederick that had some of the priciest stock, but  they were also some of the healthiest looking flowers. They also had a wide variety of species, some of which I had never heard of before.

Another place with reasonable prices and impressive stock is Dick and Janes on Route 2 on the way to Annapolis. In fact, I purchased another hanging basket with deep yellow Wave Petunias over the weekend. I was looking for a flower that I could use as a backdrop for the hummingbirds. I used Mandevilla last year, which was gorgeous, but I thought the images ended up looking too Christmassy. I purchased the Mandevilla at Greenstreet growers on Route 258, another nursery that has a wide variety of healthy stock and competitive pricing.

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