Finding a plant nursery

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by donsgal, Dec 24, 2006.

  1. donsgal

    donsgal Nohoa Homestead

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    I am trying to put together a planting plan for the homestead and in preparation I have contacted several nurseries in my area.

    Now, I realize thanks to the marvels of modern technology that I can buy literally anything I want to plant on the internet. However, for several reasons I would like to use a local source if possible. Mainly because I want to support the local economy, but also to turn to them for expertise and questions when I have a problem or need something answered.

    So far I have gotten a lot of stupidity for my trouble. I am wanting to plant edible landscaping heavily (if you're going to grow it, you might as well be able to eat it!). One of the things I am thinking about growing is Vaccinum Arboretum (known locally as the sparkleberry) and Myrica Pensylvanium (northern bayberry).

    Now, mind you Sparkleberries are NATIVE to this area one is growing in my back yard which I believe is going to be transported to the new homestead when we move.

    Here is just a small example of what I am having to deal with when contacting local nurseries.

    Clerk at Nursery: "may I help you?" (no smile - surly attitude)
    Me: "yes, I am looking to locate a source for some landscaping plants"
    CAN: "What are you looking for"
    Me: "well the latin name is Vaccinium Arboretum, but you probably know them as Sparkleberry".
    CAN: What???
    ME: Sparkleberry
    CAN: Never heard of them (as though she had heard of every plant ever grown).
    ME: The are very common in this area. They are also called wild blueberry. I believe they are native to Missouri.
    CAN: Never heard of them.
    ME: So, you don't carry them here.
    CAN: No
    ME: Do you think you could find out if one of your suppliers might carry them?
    CAN: They don't. I never heard of them.
    ME: I see, can you maybe refer me to a source that might know where to get them.
    CAN: NO. (blank stare follows).
    ME: Ok, well have a nice day.

    This scenario has repeated itself numerous times during the past four or five months. I am at wits end trying to get some (any) cooperation and support from these people. I am at the point where I am going to just order stuff off the internet but it is much more pricey than I really care to pay, and there are shipping costs involved that a local nursery wouldn't charge.

    My question is IS IT THAT PEOPLE JUST DON'T CARE OR ARE THEY ALL TOTALLY INCOMPETENT IDIOTS?

    thanks for your input.

    donsgal
     
  2. omnicat

    omnicat Well-Known Member

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    Holy Moley, donsgal!!

    That's unbelievable. I guess they don't WANT customers!!

    I work at a nursery. But I doubt I'm close enough to you to be "local"! (Ohio). We had sparkleberry in stock this last year. If someone comes in looking for something we don't have - we have two options:
    1) put in a "request", which means I take your name and number, and what you're looking for, and if any of our suppliers have it - we get it, and give you a call when it comes in, so you can come and look at it. You're NOT committed to buy it - but you have first dibs.
    2) Special Order it. Normal supplier or not - we will FIND it for you, if you don't want to do the groundwork yourself - and when we do - you pay us and we get it for you.

    And just my humble opinion - if you're buying trees - I do recommend buying bare-root stock. Container trees take awhile to recover from being raised in containers. I have both kinds planted in my yard - as of spring '05. The bare-root trees were mere two-foot sticks with a few roots. The container trees were in 5 gallon pots, and about 6-8 feet tall with branches.

    I believe the bare-root stock may surpass the container trees as of next year. They seem MUCH more vigorous and healthy. Not that the container trees aren't happy - but they just haven't exploded with growth like the bareroot.

    I'm so sorry about your experience with surley nursery workers. Hopefully you just had continued bad luck getting the bad apples. Maybe as to talk to a manager next time? They may be more motivated to try and help/make you happy/make money/have a returning customer than an underpaid slack-jawed grunt.
     

  3. donsgal

    donsgal Nohoa Homestead

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    Thanks for your insight Omnicat, I'll definitely take your advice in the future.

    Donsgal
     
  4. Jenn

    Jenn Well-Known Member Supporter

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    try to go above clerk- ask for owner if a private nursery. check edible landscaping (not local but might have those). look for other organic edible wild native type nurseries. good luck.
     
  5. tamatik

    tamatik Well-Known Member

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    mike@shedhouse.com should be able to tell you about a local grower in your area and he should be able to give lots of information on your plant search..If he doesn,t know about the plant he can probably find out .He helps new/small growers get started.hope this helps.
     
  6. Pat

    Pat Well-Known Member

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    We're south of Yellville, and finding a local nursery that does eatable landscaping is impossible. I agree with you thoughts and would love to support a local nursery. I have one in Mountain Home when I describe what I have, and what I want is impressed (the boss)... but unfortunetly can't support what I want.

    Therefore I do business with RainTree (mostly for descriptions as they have fantastic descriptions and now have a 20 percent rebate in selected things) http://www.raintreenursery.com/, and mostly buy from Burnt Ridge http://www.burntridgenursery.com/ and One Green World http://www.onegreenworld.com/.

    A source for what things do, and how to grow them is http://www.efn.org/~bsharvy/edible.html. There is a forum for eatable landscaping http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ediblelandscaping/... but unfortunetly not very active.

    I'd be happy to discuss what we are trying etc. (probably better either offline ((pm me)) or down on the Gardening & Plant Propagation subforum.

    Saying that, thought I tickle you a little with what we are trying / growing. We are trying a hedge (by the road so hopefully will be 10 feet tall) of seaberries, serviceberries and hazelnuts. We have 2 pargolas with grapes, kiwi and Chinese Magnolia vine. We've also planted 3 fruiting Quince bushes (instead of the "just" flowering quince buches). I'm trying Wolfberries bushes (well more like vines) on the pond by the road, and contorted Mulberries along the edge of the pond (on the lane leading to our home).

    Pat
     
  7. donsgal

    donsgal Nohoa Homestead

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    Thanks for the info Pat. Wow, your setup sounds awesome and very similar to what I am hoping to do. Part of the plan is to "hopefully" do some value added production of unusual varieties of jam and jelly for the retail market. I shall have to investigate seaberries as I am not familiar with them and a few of the other things you mention (food for thought!).

    If worst comes to worst I will break down and visit the websites you recommend. I will also contact Mike as the other posted recommended to see if he can shed any light on the situation.

    Thanks to all for recommendations and ideas and good advice.

    donsgal
     
  8. haypoint

    haypoint Unpaid, Volunteer Devil's Advocate Supporter

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    I live a long way from Plains Montana, but Lawyer Nursery has shipped me quality plants at good prices, even when I have to pay freight. The local nurseries are just buying from distant wholesalers anyway. Lawyers Nursery has Myrica Pensylvanium (Bobbee) for $4.00 to $4.75 depending on size and quanity. The only thing I see in the other plant is Vaccinum Macrocarpon (Low Hugger), some sort of American Cranberry, not what you want. My local nurseries buy from more southern areas and Lawyers is in my zone, so I figure I might get a bit more hardy plants.
     
  9. Wannabee

    Wannabee Foggy Dew Farms

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    This is a very interesting thread!!! ANy ideas for edible landscaping in zone 4-5 (Indiana) that can grow tall enough and full enough to be considered a walled garden or at least a hedge of 6' or so???
     
  10. Pat

    Pat Well-Known Member

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    While I agree with haypoint, I don't really see any eatable landscape things at Lawyer Nursery (unfortunately! As I'm always looking for good sources at reasonable prices).

    We have a small blueberry patch, but they can also be used for hedges around the house. I did see 1 service berry plant locally... but mostly you have to do your research online (again that Edible Landscaping & Gardening site http://www.efn.org/~bsharvy/edible.html has some outstanding information), and find someone who has it. As I said (and I've been to all the nurseries in Harrison and Mountain Home ((and ROLF Home Depot, Lowes and Wally World nurseries)) and there isn't anyone around this part of the Ozarks who can even spell eatable landscaping let alone practice it. I don't totally understand why as it would seem if one did people would flock to it... but maybe too many of the people who immigrated here don't know and don't want to try... if their neighbors have red tipped Phoenicia's and crape myrtle and or monkey grass and pampas grass... gotta look like them. Why anyone would plant a bradford pear or one of the various "flowering" cherries (intead of fruiting ones) I'll never understand.

    For different fruit, I'm trying Jujube. A striking ornamental as well as fruiting plant, this rare and unique small tree displays attractive contorted branches, fine lacy foliage, and abundant small, fragrant, white flowers which bloom in mid-summer. Also known as Chinese Date, Jujube is a unique and tasty fruit becomes reddish brown when ripe, with a sweet apple-like flavor and crisp texture. The Trebizond Date. A form of Russian Olive, Trebizond Date bears abundant, date-like fruits that are sweet and good for fresh eating and are also very popular dried. Trebizond Date is tolerant to extremes of heat and cold and can be grown as a small tree or prune it back to keep it as a shrub. We're also trying the Goumi. Native to the Russian Far East, China and Japan, Goumi is a very popular fruit in these regions and is now widely planted in many European gardens. Goumi forms a medium-size shrub growing to 6 ft. in height with attractive, silvery green foliage. Its white flowers bloom in the middle to the end of May and are very fragrant and loved by bees. Goumi is highly valued as a medicinal plant as well as for its edible fruit. And lastly (but not all but all for now) the excellent Texas Star Banana tree grows 6-8 ft. tall with tasty, medium size fruit, and produces a sweet flavor. The original trees were obtained from Wichita Falls, TX in 1978 and have proven to survive cold better than any other banana trees on our test plots. (rated for zone 6!)

    I've gotten into the winter gardens too, so we have a contorted fruiting bush quince, a contorted jujube, a contored hazelnut and a contorted locus tree (I know not "eatable" landscaping, but we keep bees and it flowers and the bees love it, and we get the honey so...). Just because it's winter, you don't have to have all your landscaping that isn't still pleasant to look upon.

    There are things out there, but I'd suggest doing the research your self or with someone other than Mike at something.com. I would suspect he would try and sell you what he has to sell (or gets a commision from who ever he suggests).

    Pat
     
  11. Pat

    Pat Well-Known Member

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    Wannabee,

    The hedge we are trying would work there too. (seaberries, serviceberries and hazelnuts.) You can trim them back to the 6 feet you want. I plant on 4 feet centers to have them fill in and limit their height.

    Pat
     
  12. Mutti

    Mutti Well-Known Member Supporter

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    check out greenwoodnursery.com--we've gotten some excellent and different plants from them well packaged and everything well-rooted and grew. especially proud of my baby magnolia! We frequent a nursery in Columbia-Superior Nursery with great plants...our three butterfly bushes are huge in one year. If you are looking for nature bundles don't forget the state nursery which has excellent deals every spring...located in Licking and a fun place to visit--they gave us several free bundles that would have gone to waste! go on line to find their lists. We have 20' pines we planted a few years ago from them.....don't forget how the birds will spread barberry EVERWHERE on you land--we have plants everywhere now. Autumn olive is an attractive shrub that can grow to tree size unprunned and our resident blueberries love the berries...state sells them. Jungs has a section with farmstead plants for windbreaks,too. dee
     
  13. omnicat

    omnicat Well-Known Member

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    The hedge we are trying would work there too. (seaberries, serviceberries and hazelnuts.)

    Pat beat me to it. I was about to suggest Serviceberry.

    It's astonishing how most everyone around here is not aware that the fruit is edible. Most of them like them because they "attract birds". The fruits look like blueberries - except they're reddish. Taste good too.
     
  14. roughingit

    roughingit knitwit

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    Too bad we're so far from ya. We have a family nursery, and I'd say those guys were just being blubbering idiots! I second trying to talk to the owner, which is probably where the clerk you talked to should have sent you (I know I sure send folks back to my Grandparents when they ask me about about plants I've nevever heard of, I know my place and it's weeding!) Maybe try a smaller place or look up places that specialize in natives.
     
  15. deberosa

    deberosa SW Virginia Gourd Farmer!

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    Lawyer's is shipped out of Montana, but a large part of their stock is grown in Washington so wouldn't be quite so dependable to be hardy. Each year they open their wholesale operation to the public here for two weekends and it's a source of much of my stock!
     
  16. LMonty

    LMonty Well-Known Member

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    you guys might like the book Edible Landscaping by Rosalind Creasey. Its really a fantastic intro to the subject,and the last half of the book is a listing of dozens of plants to use, how to use, them, their horticultural requirements, etc. Some great ideas in there.
     
  17. donsgal

    donsgal Nohoa Homestead

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    Copies under $6 both at amazon.com and abebooks.com. I'm buying a copy asap. thanks for the information.

    donsgal