Shopper's Protest Card on Maryland Native Plant Society site

loris(Z6 NJ)April 30, 2006

I was looking at the Maryland Native Plant Society site, because I know they had recommendations for native alternatives to invasive shrubs, and came across what they called 'Shopper's Protest Cards'. Seems like a good idea, and if enough things like this happen, maybe habits will change.

Here is a link that might be useful: Shopper's Protest Card on Maryland Native Plant Society site

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birdgardner(NJ/ 6b)

A good idea, but I thought the tone of these was a little snippy.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2006 at 12:10AM
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terryr(z5a IL)

I didn't find either snippy. I found them direct and to the point. I could only hope that IL would do something like this. I've got a few places I would love to leave them at!


    Bookmark   May 1, 2006 at 4:25PM
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Whatever happened to responsible gardening? Why do people feel the need to push their own beliefs on others?

I grow natives...Love them! I also have some nasty invasives that I love, But I grow responsibly like gardeners should. I dead head to prevent seed disperal. I also contain to prevent the spread of those that have rhizomes and stolons.

Give your local garden center a break! They're out to make a living just like the rest of us, and if the demand is there they will supply it, so garden responsibly!

    Bookmark   May 2, 2006 at 9:19PM
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terryr(z5a IL)

fredsbog, this is the native forum. Informing the local garden center about invasive plants is being responsible. If every gardener gardened responsibly, would we be in the predicament we as a nation are in now? If the local garden centers would be responsible and inform the public that what they sell is a known invasive (not a garden thug), then there would be no supply or demand of an invasive plant. I know of 2 places around here that sell natives. Seeds grown from a 100 mile radius. You think because they aren't out there selling invasive plants, they aren't making a living? I know far to many gardeners who do not garden responsibly. An invasive is not that pesky plant like monarda, that won't stay where you want it. It's the burning bush, the jap barberry, the butterfly bush, the jap honeysuckle, the bradford pear...the list goes on. If every body gardened responsibly, we wouldn't have these plants and more taking over. I don't know how somehow can grow nasty invasives and feel good about that. Course that's just my opinion.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2006 at 10:16PM
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I tell folks that say they control their invasives, like dead heading and keeping English Ivy in bounds as two examples, will the person AFTER you do that? You won't be in that house forever, so what happens when you leave? I've seen many a garden's invasives go out of control when the previous owner leaves.

It is best not to use invasives for these reasons:

- it encourages wholesalers to produce more
- it encourages retailers to stock it (thus resulting in non-responsible gardeners buying it)
- it gets out of control eventually, contributing to the problem at large.

We have nurseries that continue to sell privet in the southeast and people buy it like crazy. Yet privet is the number one plant in the southeast for land disturbance - thousands of acres of land are now infested with privet. Would nurseries stock something else if privet was not available? You betcha. Would people buy something else if privet was not available? Of course they would. Business is not lost as a result of not selling these plants.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2006 at 8:32AM
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joepyeweed(5b IL)

I think there is a serious difference between "pushing beliefs" and educating others... particularly when it comes to invasives species. I think many people just are not aware of the problem And many people think that if I bought this plant at XYZ, surely they wouldn't sell something harmful.

I agree the cards seem a bit snippy... some minor re-wording could make them a bit more polite.

I think its a bit shortsighted to think that business is not lost as a result of not selling those plants. A sale might not be lost, but the expense involved in growing that plant is lost. A nursery may have started a stock of plants before it was known to be invasive. All the expense in water, fertilizer and propogation is lost, if they cannot sell that stock.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2006 at 2:03PM
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terryr(z5a IL)

joepyeweed, isn't it that all a part of being a business owner? There are always loses. The nurseries all up here, ship in the plants. Maybe not all the perennials, but all the trees and shrubs. They knowingly ship in plants that are known invasives. I remember not all that long ago, 2 nurseries here were selling Hall's honeysuckle. So, for them not to take a loss, they should sell them and we should stay quiet? And the one nursery that has purple loosestrife prominently displayed in one of their beds, that every body and their brothers wants, should go ahead and get them in so joe public will be happy? I'm guess I'm confused on what you're saying.


    Bookmark   May 3, 2006 at 8:17PM
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Off topic- What is up w/ these commercials we're forced to watch? I just had to watch a 30 second jell-o commercial. I couldn't close it out like most pop-ups. After sitting through that I'm making sure I never buy any.

Garden centers want to make as much money as possible just like any other business. Same reason Ford and Chevy continue to sell giant, impracticle SUV's even though we know they hurt the environment. The demand is there from the uneducated cereal- eating masses. Joe Six-pack just wants something green to cover up the dirt in his new yard.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2006 at 10:01PM
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Hey winged_mammal, are you not using Firefox? I haven't had any ad problems in ages and I sure didn't get any jello commercial.

As for nurseries losing money; they can sell off any existing stock they have, my only wish is that they don't order any MORE. Just put a stake in the ground and say "no one propagates such-and-such from this day forward" and move on to propagating something else.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2006 at 10:15PM
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joepyeweed(5b IL)

I agree that if a plant is invasive they should not be sold. And I also think that businesses should be made aware when they are selling invasives. Frequently, the guy and gal working the garden center at the local big box store probably does not know what is invasive and what is not. (Many gardeners think "spreads readily" means the same thing as invasive)

Business loss is not good business. What I am saying is to recognize that someone is losing money...when nursery propogated plants are labled invasive and forbidden to be sold. I'm not saying they shouldn't take the loss. I am just recognizing that someone is losing money. Rather than saying LA TI DA, no one is losing anything.... someone is losing... but the environment is gaining.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2006 at 11:08AM
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This is why states need to put a ban on selling certain plants. That way if one garden center has an ethical owner that doesn't want to sell english ivy and purple loosestrife, he won't lose business to the nursery down the road that will carrry these plants. If no one can sell it then no business will be lost because customers will still spend money and pick up a different, non-invasive plant.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2006 at 11:15AM
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joepyeweed(5b IL)

Some states to put a ban on selling invasive plants. But enforcement of these bans is pretty minimal.

No business (or sales) are lost, but the investment into propogation (costs to produce the plant) before the plant was determined to be invasive is lost.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2006 at 12:27PM
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I can't sympathize too much for the nursery selling purple loosestrife. I patronize local nurseries precisely because they are supposed to be educated about the plants they sell. Otherwise, one might as well just but their plants at Lowes. (And if it IS Lowes or another big box, then they could absorb the cost of not growing invasives with no worries). These days, most so-called nurseries are just reselling Monrovia plants, and using illegals to supply all their labor. If the only service I'm going to get from a nursery is a Mexican* who can't tell a passion flower from English Ivy, then I'll shed no tears when the business goes under.

Also, regarding responsible gardening, yes I would definitely prefer that all gardeners would just be responsible about what they grow. Unfortunately, I have as little faith in that happening as I do in people ceasing to throw trash out their vehicles. Even if 99% of people are responsible, that 1% can do a whole lot of damage. So, unfortunately, that means stopping the flow at the source - the people propagating and selling the plants.

Locally, we are working on having the "weed ordinace" rewritten so that English Ivy, Kudzu, Honeysuckle and other plants qualify. Right now, it only applies to plants over a certain height, native or not. The suggested ordinance would also exclude natives, except where they appear on the cities "noxious weed" list. This would allow city residents to develop lawn alternatives, while also legally empowering citizens to challenge neighbors who are growing Kudzu as a ground cover (which actually happens...)

Now all this said, I don't think everyone should be forced to grow -only- natives. There are many non-aggressive exotics which are a nice addition to the landscape, and can even have value to wildlife. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.


*Not meant to be a slight on Mexicans. It's just there is an increasing trend to hire Mexican immigrants who have no experience working with plants.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2006 at 2:18PM
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I agree that there should be laws against invasive plants and noxious weeds. If more people were concerned with the common good and less concerned with making $$$, this world would be a MUCH better place. By the way, have you seen the website which shows pics of landscapes/houses/cars that are entirely covered with kudzu?


    Bookmark   May 7, 2006 at 4:00PM
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loris(Z6 NJ)


I'd seen that kudzu site or one like it a while back, but hadn't kept track of it. This time I bookmarked it.


    Bookmark   May 8, 2006 at 9:51PM
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patrick_nh(z4/5 NH)


Disclaimer or not, your post sure seemed like a slight on Mexicans. There's an increasing trend to hire any warm body who has no experience with plants, Mexican immigrant, or more commonly, American teenager. Take both side by side and ask a plant question. Reaction: from the Mexican, maybe blank stare while he tries to comprehend your question, but cannot due to the language barrier, and yes, he probably doesn't know the answer anyway. But he is there to help you carry your selections up to Britany at the register, and then out to your vehicle after you've paid, and to work hard at doing what he's directed to do to keep the plants in good shape for you to buy. Now the reaction from the American teenager: blank stare, maybe an "I think so", "I don't know", or "It should be OK". No offer to find someone who knows the answer, no interest in finding the answer herself so that she'll know next time it's asked. Just a quick nonanswer in the hopes that you'll accept it, pay your money and leave so she can get back to being busy at not thinking. Last year I found an interesting variegated geranium which I'd never seen before. It was unlabled, even without a price, by the hardworking apparently all American staff at the nursery. At checkout I asked the friendly senior American gentleman what this was called. His exact answer, with authority he says: "This is some type of geranium." I thought, silly me, for not asking what type of geranium from the outset, but it wouldn't have changed his lack of knowledge, or prompted him to care to see that I got an intelligent answer to my question. My point in all of this is to please not single out the Mexicans. Many who I've seen are extremely hard working. They just want to be here to get a better life for themselves, and work hard to to it. They do take jobs that most Americans don't want to do. I know that we're talking about horticultural knowledge here, but it's not quite fair either to say that most don't have any plant experience. The thoudsands of migrant farm workers in the fields and the landscapers who work on gardens for all the rest of us to enjoy have more than their share of a different type of plant experience. A general comment about inexperienced nursery staff would have gotten your point across, without singling out a certain group. Personally, if I had a choice, I'd prefer to be helped by the Mexican. At least I'll expect a communication challenge and a high probability that I won't get my answer. From the American teenager, not only will I not get my answer, I'll get horrible service to boot.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2006 at 10:50AM
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You are right, and I shouldn't have even mentioned it at all. Yes, absolutely, the average teenager can often be worse than someone who can't even speak the language. Also, I've got lots of friends who are Latino and excellent gardeners. One's country of origin has nothing to do with how well you garden.

My specific comment comes from a local trend of replacing more experienced staff with illegal immigrants. This isn't the immigrants fault. They are just trying to find work, and most I've known work very hard. It may not even be the nursuries fault, since pressure from big companies from Walmart, Lowes and other places have reduced the profit margins so that they can no longer afford experienced staff of any kind.

Whomever's fault it is, the end result is that several times I've had the experience of immigrant workers destroying plants of mine. One time I had all my passionflowers destroyed because workers didn't know the difference between a passionflower and English Ivy. True, a teenage boy could have made the same mistake. Also true, it wasn't the mexican's fault. I'm sure in his home country he was a plumber or something else, but couldn't make enough to live. For that matter, even if he was a gardener back home, then I'd hardly expect an imigrant to automatically know the native plants of Virginia. Nonetheless, the end result is that I won't use that nursury again because they lack experienced staff.

So, back to my original point... if the staff of the nursery no longer have any clue as to what they are selling and whether it might be invasive, then I don't particularly care to shop there, regardless of whom they employ from where.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2006 at 2:33PM
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ahughes798(z5 IL)

From working at nurseries, I am amazed at how little most landscapers know about the plants they are using. They don't even know the names of the plants. Their crews seem to know much, much more than they do.

Then there are the customers who come in asking about where they can find that "cute little plant with purple blooms and green leaves that I saw in Better Homes and Gardens 2 months ago."

Do you have a picture?

No, I lost it.

Do you know the genus and specific epithet of the plant?


Do you know the common name of the plant?

No, but it's got purple blossoms.

Followed up by an hour spent running around a 3 acre nursery, trying to find THE purple plant he/she loved so much he/she couldn't even remember the name of.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2008 at 4:51PM
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greenhaven(SW MI z6)

Quote: "I am amazed at how little most landscapers know about the plants they are using. They don't even know the names of the plants. "

That was my exact experience, today! I try to frequent the local nursery (for ovbious reasons)and I asked the OWNER of the place 'Is that Aronia black chokeberry a melanocarpa?' She had NO idea. Then when I asked for a Zebra Mallow she said, "Is that a pink one? We might have had a pink one last year." I couldn't believe my ears. *sigh8

    Bookmark   April 28, 2008 at 7:46PM
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(sigh) Late to the party, as usual. ;) In all the talk about losses for the companies and such, I find it ironic that the my state's Dept. of Agriculture or Dept. of Ecology can fine my hiney off if I have tansy growing on my property, but the nursery up the road can sell English Ivy with impunity.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 2:37PM
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There is a lot wrong with many nurseries from the perspective of native plant lovers or even just people who want quality service and advice. The typical local nursey these days does not have staff that are knowledgeable about either natives or even about gardening or horticulture in general. The typical landscaping company uses many outdated practices and likewise often does not really know what it is they are doing. Legal changes and shopper's protest cards might help and might be necessary but I suspect that a change in fashion (or "consciousness" to use pc-speak) will do more to change plant selection than anything. Nurseries and landscapers will sell what people pay for and will not offer what does not sell.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 5:31PM
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My state, the nearest city, all the parks departments have to spend money to remove the worst of the destructive invasive plants. They use volunteers as much as possible, but there's still costs. Plus research costs to find ways to control these invasives and costs to implement any experimental programs they try to use. These are tax dollars being spent. Not to mention the money that farmers and ranchers spend to control any that affect their crops or livestock. So I understand what they are trying to do. A card left for the nursery owner or manager to point out that a plant is an exotic invasive might be better than reminding every employee of that every time you see those known invasive plants in nurseries.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 1:42PM
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