Logee's - Changing a lot?

bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)January 4, 2011

Is it just me or does it seem that Logee's in Danielson, CT, while always a source of unusual plants, has gotten very pricey and a bit too commercial?

I have been going there since the late 60's, when Joy Logee Martin was running the show. Then, and for quite some time afterward, there was an even larger selection of unusual plants, and the prices for the small pots (typically 2") was very reasonable, maybe in the range of $2-$5. Now of course I am aware that everything has gotten more expensive, and the costs of running a business and heating all those greenhouses are not exceptions.

But for some of those tiny rooted cuttings in 2" pots, some of the prices seem very high - some in the range of $15-$20. Also, I see where a bit of marketing hype has entered the catalog. For example, two seasons ago I saw a listing for Gardenia "Diamond's Fragrant Delight", which has very large leaves for a gardenia (6" or more!) and huge single flowers (5"). But what caught my eye was one of those large comic-book-looking "bursts" of bright yellow claiming it was hardy to zone 6! I went there ASAP and bought one. It was around $25, but it was a fair size, in a 4" pot. Today, I received their new catalog. Not only has the price come down (OK...so it happens) but now there is no such claim to hardiness, and in fact the zone is listed as zone 8. Luckily I have kept it in a pot indoors for the last two winters, so it's OK. It seems that at one time they would never have pushed that kind of information out about the plants they sell. I think they could do a little better on the pricing and a LOT better on the selection (where are all the Acacias, Eucalyptus, Begonias and Gesneriads that they once had? OK they still have a lot of begonias, but not nearly as many as they once had.

Maybe I'm hoping for time to stand still, but some of what I say seems to be truthful as well. I still enjoy browsing through their catalog, and probably will continue to go there a few times every year, but I do miss the way it was.

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mskee(z6 MA)

I love Logee's--I think my first visit was in the 80's--in the middle of winter, and I have been making that pilgrimage ever since! There is nothing like immersing yourself in those greenhouses on a cold winter's day.

I also noticed the amazingly high prices, and attributed it to general cost of living, combined with that heating of the greenhouses you mentioned. I never give much attention to the catalog--mostly the reason I go to Logee's is to be in those greenhouses, while realizing I will part with some hard-earned cash before I come home. I won't pay 20 dollars, though, for anything in a 2" pot. I have my pride! :)

Some of the stuff they sell can be had through other catalogs/greenhouses, for much less...while other plants, I see nowhere else!

I'll keep going, but maybe not spend as much as I used to...


    Bookmark   January 5, 2011 at 6:42PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

As I said I'll keep going too, since it is like a quick trip to the tropics when walking through those greenhouses! They do offer many things that you really can't find anywhere else. They did offer even more (if you can believe it!) back in the 60's and 70's. I think what I mean is that there were more plants from more genera and species, while now there are fewer actual genera, but more hybrids perhaps.

Anyway, just my thoughts.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2011 at 5:44AM
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mskee(z6 MA)

I wish I could have seen it in the earlier days, too. More species would have been fascinating! I now remember, on my visit last year, that one of the greenhouses was not open anymore...perhaps one sign of cutting back?

Last night, I took some time to look through their catalog, and noticed just how many unusual plants there are... Fun stuff I'd love to try, but would most likely kill.

I also realized that I HAVE paid 20 dollars for one of their plants, but, at least it was in a 4 inch pot! ;) It was the Musa Basjoo, which repays me with a tropical, 10-foot specimen by the end of the summer. Now, I'm eyeing one of those giant elephant ears!

Don't you just love that 100-year old lemon tree, growing right out of the dirt floor?


    Bookmark   January 7, 2011 at 5:34PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

That Ponderosa lemon was planted by Joy's father as I understand. Joy is Byron's mother. It's quite a sight!

I have tried Musa basjoo twice, and it has never come back for me. I have also tried no less than SIX hardy (?) passion flower vines, and all have withered. P. incarnata is said to be hardy in zone 5 in many, many catalogs and on websites. Also, P. "Incense" is supposed to be hardy to zone 6. I tried several of each of those but no luck.

I would encourage you to try some of those exotic things that you see in the catalog. Some of them are not that difficult to grow, and may just find a "home" in your home.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 4:49AM
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I've also been disappointed in Logee's. I also made an annual pilgrimage in January or February just to luxuriate in those wonderful greenhouses. I came mostly to buy herbs or scented geraniums, and they used to have a wonderful selection. The last couple of years, the selection has been rather poor. Maybe its just the time of year or something, but there have only been a couple of types of geraniums the last couple of times I went, and not much of herbs either. Maybe because they are so easily available elsewhere, the margin for those has decreased.

I did however pick up a wonderful Meyer lemon tree - actually it was just a stick when I purchased it 3 years ago that has done really well in a pot. I have HUGE 8 ounce lemons from that shrub.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 9:48AM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

That's something I hadn't thought to include in my original post, but you're right about the diminishing selection of geraniums and herbs. I think those, and the begonias, were more of Mrs. Martin's passions. I think her son Byron, who runs the show now, is not as passionate about plants as he is about profit. Of course when one run's a business, the idea is to make money, but there ought to be other considerations along the way.

Many years ago I brought to Byron's mother seeds of a rare (at the time) brugmansia species from South America, which had a red flower, and although smaller than most of today's hybrids, I feel fairly sure that they would have used that to create some of the new pink ones we have today. I had also given Mrs. Martin seeds of Jatropha and dwarf papaya. But it was different then. She seemed truly appreciative of my offerings and even traded a small Acacia baileyana to me for some seeds. Come to think of it, there's another think they no longer sell!

    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 12:40PM
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mskee(z6 MA)

Now that I think of it, the greenhouse that was closed last year was the one that used to be dedicated to scented geraniums...probably the herbs were in there too? You had to go back outside to get to it...one of the smaller houses.

My Musa Basjoo has never survived a winter here, either. It has been such a dramatic presence in my little garden, though, I have purchased a new one each year. I also had a lemon tree for a while, in a pot, that produced wonderful fruit.

That's a great story about your seed trade. The "good old days!" :)


    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 4:27PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

The herbs were in a long, narrow greenhouse that was really more like a lean-to style. One wall was stone and you had to walk down into a pit with one side having a sloping glass roof. It was closed off last time I was there.

The other greenhouse that I think had the geraniums and formerly the begonias, was on the left of the main cluster of greenhouses as you faced the property. That was closed too.

I can understand that it's harder to keep such a business going in today's financial world, and I'm happy that Logees's still exists. I just wish they'd still grow a few things for their appeal even if not so profitable, only using a very small percentage of the expensive under-glass real estate.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2011 at 7:29AM
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When I was there last Winter/early Spring, the woman at the desk said that they were building new greenhouses, and closing some of the old ones - to be more energy efficient. They had received a grant that would allow them to do this - that might be why the geranium greenhouse was closed. I can't imagine that they would move either the lemon or the persimmon trees. Does anyone know anything about this?

    Bookmark   January 11, 2011 at 12:41PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

I don't know anything about that. Glad that they were able to get a grant form someone or somewhere. I wouldn't think they'd have to move any large plants if they do the construction during the warm months. It will be interesting to see still more changes.Maybe they can lower some prices after the new and more energy-efficient greenhouses are in place.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2011 at 12:51PM
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I understood the owners as saying the new green house was going to be used for propagating then moved to the old house(s) to restock plants and there internet shipping operations are being completed right out of the new house
I don't foresee any price decrease in this economy but discounted (sale) items with better advanced notice would be nice to see even if they held such sales on a limited time basis.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 3:41PM
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I went to Logees 4 years ago for the first time and first impression was a little sketchy? It didn't meet the expectionats that I had read about it. That being said, we went thru every greenhouse and every isle. Purchased (I think) 5 plants because I wanted them, but was semi-horrified at the price. But the upside is that I've just lost 1 of the 5 this winter. At the time, they were accurate regarding the zones for each. Am planning on going back this year.

On the other side, the bathroom......with the vines growing into it.... that was wild.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 11:50PM
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