Visiting a plant nursery can be a daunting task for those new to garden shopping. Here is a list of important questions to ask and tips to follow when visiting one of the Midlands’ local nurseries in search of the perfect plants … whether you are creating a garden, window box, hanging basket or poolside oasis.
Before You Go
Decide on a location and size. When planting a container garden, herb garden or ground cover for a flowerbed, location is key. Is the area shaded by large pine trees or exposed to full morning sun on your front porch or back patio? When choosing a location also consider size. Knowing the size of your garden before visiting the nursery will help you decide how much soil to buy and how many plants to purchase. Once you have decided on a location and size, write down the measurements and any notes, and take them with you.
Do your research. Researching plant options ahead of time will give you a head start before visiting the nursery. The information and questions stemming from your research will be a great starting point when you approach the nursery staff with ideas. Think about what you want from a plant or your garden as a whole. If you want a plant that will be around for multiple seasons, for example, a perennial would be a good option; however, perennials often take around three years to reach their full size. Also, think about colors and sizes of plants prior to your visit as this will give you direction with your plant selection.
When to Shop
Visit on a weekday or early in the morning. It’s best to go to a plant nursery early in the morning before the heat starts to rise and the crowds increase. Nurseries, like many other shopping environments, are busiest on the weekends, so it may be better to visit during the week.
How to Shop
Bring inspiration. Gather the information from your research, take pictures of other plants you’ve admired and tear out pages of magazines to bring with you on your nursery visit. Having an idea of what you like will help the staff assist you in choosing the perfect plants for your garden. Look through Columbia Metropolitan Magazine’s Home & Garden section for ideas and inspiration!
Take your time. It is advisable to visit a nursery when you have plenty of time to stroll through the colorful aisles and evaluate the numerous options. Pay close attention to where plants are placed in a nursery; this will likely correlate with where they need to be placed in your garden. Look carefully at plant tags, as they have important information about plant environment and what each plant will need to thrive. Arrange the plants at the nursery to get a visual idea of how they will appear in your garden.
Ask questions. The staff at your local nursery is there to answer any questions. A Pinterest article on popular plants in the South is no match for the advice from an experienced gardener. Most gardeners are happy to share their gardening secrets, and the staff at a nursery can offer good advice in what will be best for you.
A beautiful garden comes from love and patience, and takes time. Having a green thumb comes with practice and experience. Don’t feel overwhelmed when visiting a nursery, and know that with trial and error, your garden will flourish.