Orchard entrance at The Natural Gardener
Indie nurseries are hanging by a thread and some are closing up shop altogether, as the linked article describes (thanks to Diana at Sharing Nature's Garden for the link). Here are some of the reasons why we are at risk of losing our friendly local nurseries (or Independent Garden Centers, as they're known in the trade).
- The stagnant economy. In a down economy, you might think that expenditures on do-it-yourself projects like gardening would rise. But with threats of a double-dip recession, inflation and a global economic crisis, consumer spending is down across the board.
- Record unemployment. Job loss means budget cutbacks, even in two-income households, and niceties like gardening supplies are among the first to go.
- The mortgage crisis. Many Americans have lost their homes and gardens. Those who are "under water" on their mortgages are naturally reluctant to sink more money into upgrades like landscaping.
- People are driving less. Even if the car is paid for, gas, insurance, registration, and repairs are costly. Folks are parking (or selling) the car and getting around by bus, bike or scooter, or driving only when necessary. It's darn near impossible to haul home plants and garden soil without a car.
- The weather has been terrible for gardening this year. More than 95% of Texas has been in an exceptional drought for months. Up north, gardeners are suffering from an exceptionally wet and rainy year, making the soil too wet to work and drowning plants.
Compost tea brewhouse at The Natural Gardener
So if you are one of the fortunate ones, like me, with a house and a job and a car and a garden, please join me in supporting our independent nurseries! I have a list of my favorites to the right, under the title "Where I Get Stuff." Some on the list are located out of town, but most are right here in Austin, including one of my favorites, The Natural Gardener, which I blogged about in a 2009 post. We just had 7 cubic yards of their fabulous Sylvan Formula Mulch delivered to our house, and Jack is in the process of laying it down around every tree and shrub in our garden. This nursery's a bit of a drive from my place in North Austin, but well worth it. For quick in-town nursery trips, I frequent Shoal Creek Nursery at Hancock near Mopac, and Sledd Nursery on West Lynn in the Clarksville district.
Check out my blogroll, too - every Wednesday in October, bloggers are posting about their favorite local nurseries. Be sure to visit Digging, where Pam got this ball rolling, before heading out to visit your favorite independent nursery (or to explore one you've never visited)!
Words and photos © 2009-2011 Caroline Homer for "The Shovel-Ready Garden". Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.