The Garden Gloves Come Off is an article appearing in The Wall Street Journal today. It concerns Home Depot and Lowe's ongoing battle to have the newest plant introductions. As the article states, "the weapons are scientifically altered versions of common flowering plants, engineered to bloom a little brighter or withstand benign neglect a little longer. Lowe's and Home Depot are locked in an annual arms race to discover and develop new plants—ideally as exclusives sold in only their stores."
There is an interesting thing I have started to notice with The Wall Street Journal, and other online publications. This article is not one of them, but many of their articles are hidden behind "pay walls." They will start the article and then finish what you can see about a paragraph or two into it. If you want to see more you have to subscribe. So for those of us who refuse to subscribe we only get a taste of the article, unless you jump to the comments!
This is a phenomenon that is starting to show up at various publications that institute a pay wall. By reading the comments of some who are regular contributors to the comment section you can get an overview of the article. If you have read the commenter's comments before, and trust what they say, you can get some real insight. Some of the comments are better than the article they are commenting on. You have to be selective and ignore the comments that are useless, and if you read the same publication regularly you get to know who to listen to.
So it was with great pleasure that I read through this article and saw the first comment by Bill Jung. I am not sure who Bill is, but independent locally owned garden centers owe him a big "thank you".
Bill say's, "Starting about 3 years ago, after I determined my success rate with plants purchased from either Lowe's or HomeDepot was 50-50, I bought more and more from the local independent nurseries and greenhouses where my success rate with the plant living and blooming increased to 90%. Sure those plants sold at the big boxes initailly looked great but within two weeks they faded and showed less vigor. Those purchased at the independents took off beautifully after two weeks and lasted all season long. I planted my first garden in 1959 and try to keep up with as much of the literature in horticulture and forestry as possible. I am not a novice gardener in my opinion. Many of my plants I start from seeds or cutting on my own.
I have since reduced all my purchases at either lowe's or HomeDepot and have since bought lumber and building materials at REAL LUMBERYARDS, major appliances at a real KITCHENAID DEALER, paint at a PITTSBURGH PAINT STORE, and my chainsaws and garden equipment at a STIHL DEALER. Soon I will be in the market for a JOHN DEERE lawn and garden tractor, I will buy it at a JOHN DEERE dealer. AS of last year, I won't even go into a bigbox to 'look around'. I don't have the time to waste.
Funny too, were the prices competitive if not better at the 'little guys'. I was getting perennials for a buck each at a grower's greenhouse whereas the comparable plants were priced at 3.98. 4.98 and 5.98 at the big boxes. Plus the people were trained horticulturists with degrees and were plant breeders too.
Maybe STIHL was onto something when they said you can only buy a new STIHL at a Stihl dealer and not a BIGBOX. Besides, I got tried of having the clerks tell me, 'You have to go to a LUMBERYARD for that'".
Thank you Bill!