Emails and posts on Facebook from people new to GardenLine can be very frequent. Many newbies have questions like …
“Where do I get that fertilizer?” or “What fertilizer do you recommend?”
Often, I get, “I can’t find that plant you profiled at any [big box stores] in Houston.”
Or “I just discovered your show, but I can’t find the product you mentioned.”
And “My brother-in-law gave me your email address and said you can tell me why my lawn looks so bad.”
Many believe I will be able to quickly get to their questions and solve their problems. But, unfortunately, it’s really just impossible for me to answer every inquiry I receive.
So, I encourage our new GardenLine listeners to put a little skin in the game, as the old saying goes. If you listen to the show regularly, you’ll learn that solutions for nearly every gardening question can be found by simply visiting the nurseries, garden centers, feed stores and hardware stores I mention each weekend.
Anyway, the questions have increased a ton lately when it comes to plant replacements, thanks to the February freeze. Many are wondering if there are plant shortages, since they can’t find what they want.
In almost every case, though, they are looking only at big box stores or mass merchandisers. Many new listeners, especially those who are new to the area, are unaware that we are blessed with many fine independent nurseries and garden centers - almost all family-owned and operated. Many of them order plants on a weekly basis. Some even do it daily!
Big chain stores that sell plants are lucky to get deliveries once a month. They may get some color (annuals and perennials) weekly, but they rarely get nice-sized shrubbery even quarterly. That’s because they must depend on a national or regional stocking system that services multiple stores as a group. Plus, they are often shipped plants that aren’t appropriate for our climate.
So, you should get to know your independent nursery or garden center. Just remember that many growing operations in Texas also got hit pretty hard by the February freeze, and some are still playing catch-up. While I don’t have knowledge of inventories at every nursery I endorse, I try to keep up. But, in many cases, whatever they can get is really flying out the door as customers work to replace lost plants. And this proves a point I’ve made for years on the radio show: you should develop a relationship with your favorite garden center, because many have VIP lists to notify when specific plants come in.
I can’t list all my favored nurseries and garden centers here, so tune into the radio show and follow GardenLine on Facebook. That way, you will learn right away about specific plants I know have come in plus special promotions that can help you out.
PHOTOS: Randy Lemmon