Nursery ratings

gardengal48April 8, 2010

Saw this on the news this morning and thought it might be of interest. It is a rating prepared by of Puget Sound area nurseries and garden centers that provides a rough evaluation of price versus quality versus customer service. Includes a lot of independents as well as the chains and box stores.

This is normally a subscription service, but King5 has made it available on their website until 4/15.

Here is a link that might be useful: garden center ratings

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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

I get a subscriber login form.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 12:25PM
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blameitontherain(8 PNW wetandwetta)

Thanks for the post, Gardengal.

The link required a sign-up so am attaching a different one I found via Google to see if that will get you straight to the report.

Looks like Swanson's and Molbak's are neck-in-neck as far as total number of votes.


Here is a link that might be useful: No Sign-Up Required

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 12:42PM
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Sorry, when I previewed it, it took me right back to the survey so I assumed it would work. Go to, click on newslinks and then go to "nursery survey".

Rain, I have no idea who they obtained this survey info and ratings from, but it is obvious that the larger in-city and more well-known establishments generated the largest number of responses. Those couple that had 100% ratings only had one or two respondents so naturally were weighted more favorably.

What I though was especially interesting was that while the chains or box stores rated high for pricing, they uniformly rated low for selection and customer service. Guess we don't have to worry about the HD's or Fred Meyers of this area wiping out the independents yet.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 8:15PM
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hi there does anyone in canada know where i can get a hold of this plant called pink princess philodendren ? i;ve been looking for 2 years

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 9:19PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Try starting a separate thread.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 12:16AM
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This is great, but nothing on it really surprises me. Now we just need a survey of horticulturists and nursery employees comparing nurseries based on their experience working for them. That would be even more exciting.

Flower World must be doing something right!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 1:51AM
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blameitontherain(8 PNW wetandwetta)

The link I posted worked for me, so hope it will work for the rest of you.

It appears from the numbers as though many independents foster mostly local support. Supporting the home team is well and good, but I would like more information on how the survey was conducted.

Oddly enough, we've lived in Woodinville for some years now and I've never visited Flower World. Something about the name turned me off -- made me think of rows and rows of identical bedding plants or the like.

As the Bard noted, what's in a name has undue import to most of us. After all, why does Bed, Bath & Beyond continue to thrive while Linens -N- Things (selling the same items for the same prices in the same big box format) went under? Could it be that the Star Trek/Buzz Light Year-ish "& Beyond" skews to a younger/more masculine/hipper demographic while "Linens -N- Things" brings forth visions of doilies and dust?

Just musings on a Friday before what looks to be a sunny weekend. Perhaps a visit to Flower World is warranted at long last.


    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 11:54AM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

Being a thrifty shopper of sorts, I shop places that have a good selection of plants in 4" pots instead of trying to get you to shell out for gallon plants in everything. Of course you have to wait longer for a big plant and maybe it is riskier that it will survive, but if it does I can feel good. Ditto for having some gallon plants available instead of everything in 5 gallon pots for more.

Freddy's also does some nice things like have basket stuffer plants really cheap (4 pack for $1.00) at just the right time, so I like to check out their garden shop when I'm in, they also have seeds buy one get one free at times. It seems to me the bigger nurseries could learn something....

    Bookmark   April 10, 2010 at 2:32AM
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Here's the link. It still requires an email addy but they don't verify if it's real.

Here is a link that might be useful: nursery reviews

    Bookmark   April 10, 2010 at 9:55AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Big box stores and grocery stores aren't nurseries. Cheap annuals etc. may be used as enticements or even regarded as a customer service - they aren't necessarily trying to make a profit directly off of such offerings. Another factor is that wholesale growers may give chains a much lower price than independent garden centers, that consist of only one or two locations, with all of their purchasing being limited to what they can move through it/them.

As in other retailing you pay independent operators more to provide a different product selection and shopping environment than that provided by big box stores and other large chains.

Chain hamburger restaurants can be pretty cheap too, if their fare is all you want to eat.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2010 at 1:15PM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

Let them eat cake. Of course some may have the money to grow expensive plants in large sizes... great, they can patronize the nurseries with the wonderful selections, but I may not be able to afford them unless they offer smaller sizes of plants as well. And there are other options like starting your own plants from seed, which can be an affordable gamble. I find a lot of nurseries cater to people wanting smaller plants and so I can try some nice things if I happen on the right plants at the right time. I got a lovely red-flowering honeysuckle while driving up the Oregon coast and stopping at several nurseries along the way, and it is now happily sending up many new shoots, and will hopefully make some hummingbirds very happy.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 6:26AM
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I'll buy a plant from anywhere, if it appears to be healthy/well-tended and the price is right :-) Picked up a very nice and very full red columbine at HD the other day and the local Safeway had some very nice looking gallon hostas for $5.99. Hard to beat that price, even with my nursery employee discount! Also have found a number of good deals at local farmer's markets. But these all tend to be impulse buys, not something I've gone specifically in search of.

If I am looking for a specific plant, I'll always frequent the independent nurseries first. If they don't already have it in stock, they can often get it easily - not so with other, non-nursery plant retailers. And for the most part, the plants will always be fresh stock and in very good condition, which is generally not always the case elsewhere. And I'm not all that concerned with size -- smaller is not always better if you want to make an immediate impact. For most perennials, a 4" pot is not worth the wait to achieve the size versus the price savings. And I am too old to bother with 1G trees or shrubs unless they are collector plants......or dwarf conifers :-)

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 10:47AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Small plants set out into the open garden at tough times like spring, with summer drought soon to follow may be harder to keep going than larger specimens.

"Let them eat cake" is taken as the ultimate expression of clueless indifference to the plight of the common man (and her own future as well), as said to have been uttered by Marie Antoinette when told "Majesty, the peasants have no bread" (and are therefore becoming desperate enough to rebel).

Your red honeysuckle was probably Fuchsia magellanica.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 2:47PM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

Some nurseries which I could name are priced for elitist gardeners, the prices are too high for some of us left awash by our economy. I'm sorry if I take offense at your post wrongly and you really do care about the plight of the gardener without the funds for $6-10 4" plants and $39+ 3-5 gallon plants who still wants a shot at growing something nice. It takes a broad range of retailers to take care of everyone's budget. Each to his own tastes.

I actually know what my honeysuckle is, I have an Excel database where I keep track of my purchases.:-0

Lonicera heckrottii Gold Flame rose/yellow thr vine 12' z5-8 sun-ps sum Honeyman Nursery 7/6/09 $8.50

Gold Flame seems more toward rose-red / crimson than orange-red / scarlet, but it was in bloom when I bought it and seemed red enough. Lonicera ciliosa might be more toward scarlet, and might be preferable being a NW native but sounds like it gets larger and could be a problem on my 8' trellis eventually. I also didn't find one.

Phygelius rectus 'Devil's tears' has far outdone most of the Fuchsias in my yard for length of bloom and sheer numbers of flowers.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 6:14PM
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blameitontherain(8 PNW wetandwetta)

Speaking of cheap plants and big stores .. Fred Meyer had its annual Buy a Bunch of 60 Cent (!) Fuchsia/Geranium Starts and We'll Not Only Plant Them In a Pot for You but We'll Also Throw in Free Black Magic Potting Soil (it's a long title, but pretty catchy, wouldn't you say?). Now, if only I had enough chutzpah to waltz in with one of my man-sized pots, select one teensy tiny fuchsia (probably should be a 'Dollar Princess' for the sake of the story), wait in line for my turn and sweetly request the staff to fill 'er up -- and make sure DP is planted in the exact center of the pot, please.

Glorious weekend, oui?


    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 8:10PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Your Lonicera x heckrottii 'Gold Flame' is probably L. periclymenum 'Serotina'. I've seen the one sold in place of the other.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 12:50AM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

Perhaps I can tell when it blooms. It is coming up impressively. Nice to see something doing well. Some of my Hebes several years old and large seem to be toast.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 1:28AM
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It would be hard to confuse L. periclymenum 'Serotina' as a red flowered honeysuckle. Buds are a pinky purple, opening to a pale cream. L. x heckrottii 'Goldflame' has much more intensely colored buds of a deep cherry pink and opens to a bright gold flower. I've grown them both and they are very distinguishable. Heckrottii is semi-evergreen also while the periclymenum is fully deciduous.

The good news is, regardless of specific cultivar, the hummingbirds love them equally well :-)

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 12:03PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

You can tell now, as 'Serotina' has more purple on the new growth than most others. In bloom it does not have the strong yellow component of 'Gold Flame'.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 1:49PM
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