One thing I don't get a chance to do much is visit other "garden centers" during the spring. I am just too busy, so when I get sent on an errand outside the nursery I tend to take the long way back, just to get out and about. On the way back from Folsom I passed by a Target with an attached garden center. I stopped because a table full of yellow flowers caught my eye. I knew what they we're since they are an invasive pest in El Dorado County and Sacramento County, Cytisus recemosus (Scotch Broom). We are not even suppose to sell it in our county, yet the Target is in Sacramento County, right next door does. Sacramento County apparently doesn't care about invasive pests. In my last post we talked about Costco selling Leyland cypress (Cupressocyparis leylandii) in the Central Valley. Here is what the Wikipedia entry says about these trees, "it is poorly adapted to areas with hot summers, such as the southern half of the U.S.A., and in these areas becomes very prone to the disease cypress canker caused by the fungus Seridium cardinale. This causes extensive dieback and ultimately death of the tree. In California's Central Valley, they rarely live more than ten years before succumbing, and not much longer in southern states like Alabama. In these areas, the canker-resistant Arizona Cypress is much more successful."
We haven't sold Leyland cypress for years! If I tried to sell Scotch Broom where we are we would get run out of town! Everybody knows this pest, and there are even groups of well meaning people that spend their free time removing these plants. Why do these corporations get a free pass? These are our real competitors for the gardening dollar. They should be exposed for what they really are, opportunists that really don't care about what these plants mean to the person buying them. There needs to be a counter to these sloppy horticultural practices. Thank goodness for the internet, where we can finally get the word out.
Check out the sign in the Scotch Broom. No, I didn't stick that sign in there. The display is just how I found it! Needless to say I am not a fan of sloppy nursery practices. I don't like the idea that as a small independent garden center we work hard to prevent the spread of invasive plants as well as recommending longer lived solutions for privacy screening than Leyland Cypress. Yet the buyers for these companies don't care at all. What about the wholesale places that are growing these things. I guess a quick buck trumps proper horticultural practices.
Here is what's cool. We can now speak up and be heard. The internet allows us to spread the word with the chance that someone contemplating buying these plants can find out more about them before they make a big mistake. For years we have been running scared of these box stores and chains with their unbelievable low prices. I have even had customers tell me that they are selling the same thing at Target, Home Depot, Costco, etc. for a much better price. There is no way that can be, I don't buy any plants from wholesale nurseries that deal with these places. We take the time to make sure we can stand proudly behind what we sell.