Friday, January 25, 2013

Shockingly Old News

BLAAWH!  BLAAWH! BLAAWH!  I'd like to interrupt my previously scheduled programming with the following terrible news bulletin:  In response to my flippant comment yesterday about the seeming recent dearth of mail-order catalogues and my hope that I wouldn't hear of any new nursery closings, a kind reader has informed me that I have missed the demise of one of my favorite xeriscapic plant sources, David Salmon's High Country Gardens.

Since a quick panicked search of the Internet has shown this to be yesterday's (or at least last November's) news, most of you probably already know about it and may be resigned to it.  I don't know how I missed it, but I do now realize why I haven't seen a catalogue yet this year from High Country Gardens instead of the seemingly monthly catalogues I used to get.  I have that feeling people get when they go out to feed the cats and suddenly realize that they haven't seen them around for a week or so.

All may not yet be completely lost, I pray. The High Country Gardens company website states that mail order may still continue for at least the 2013 season, but it sounds like the retail stores have closed and the company is reorganizing.  Still quite a shock to me, though.  I had recently seen and enjoyed David Salmon as the featured speaker at the Kansas State Master Gardener's Conference and I had been planning a High Country order this spring derived from notes I made during Salmon's presentation.  Where now, am I going to get new Agastache, Gaillardia and Salvia?

I'm afraid, friends, that this is going to get worse before it gets better.  I've seen it occurring in the specialty rose mail-order businesses and to some of the large mail-order nurseries, but I never expected it with a company I thought was as popular as High Country Gardens.  I'm a little worried now that the weekly emails I've been getting from K. Van Bourgondien and others are not just overexuberant marketing, but may be, in fact, a cry for help.  All I can do is make a plea for all of us to help out your favorite speciality nurseries by placing any size order you can afford, and soon.  Walmart and Home Depot may be inexpensive and convenient, people, but they're not going to offer 'Madame Hardy', or for that matter, Agastache 'Desert Sunrise'.  Gardening is going to be a poorer hobby if High Country Gardens does cease business, but it will be unbearable if we're ultimately restricted to purple barberries, 'Stella de Oro' daylilies, and boring junipers because of our shortsighted pocketbooks and lack of effort. 

8 comments:

  1. Thanks for your rosarian's view of gardening, Prof. Roush!

    If you check with Dave's Garden Watchdog-- http://davesgarden.com/products/gwd/c/7923/--for recent K. Van Bourgondien ratings you'll see that, like many (too many) other once fine plant purveyors, it's under "new management." I always consult Garden Watchdog before placing an order these days. It's getting to be harder and harder to find really good, trustworthy mail-order nurseries and garden supply companies. But I can tell you that Lazy S's Farm has a full selection of Agastache and Salvia (tho' no Gaillardia) at decent prices and is in my experience a wonderful family-run business, with excellent ratings. http://www.lazyssfarm.com.

    The best to you,
    Judith Layman

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    1. Thanks for the idea of Lazy S's, Judith. I've never run across them.

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  2. I, too, just recently learned about High Country Garden's demise - much to my great dismay and depression. (In my case, I read a little paragraph about it in the back of the most recent American Gardener, along with the disturbing and sad news that the owner of Bluebird Nursery in Nebraska had been killed in October during a house explosion.) I can only hope that the mail order business continues for at least another year - and maybe, if it does, we can all provide enough support that David Salman is able to revive it in full.

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    1. I'm reserving a portion of my Spring budget if they're still taking orders.

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  3. I, too, was shocked when I learned about High Country Gardens. They seem so popular! And the thought of even more gardening businesses going out of business is quite sad. I've ordered a few things this year, but I think the economy is hard for everyone. I am on a strict gardening budget myself, but I've been trying to support as many as that limited budget allows. I can't even imagine having to garden only from what the big chains would have to offer!

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    1. I can....and it wouldn't be nearly as interesting or pretty.

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  4. I was sad to see them go also. Even though I thought his plants were small for the price, the nursery's catalogs were so informative. I look for many local nurseries to fold also as discretionary spending is becoming tighter.

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    1. I'd agree, Greggo, that the plants were small; but I suspect we were all buying them for the genetics. At least they were affordable.

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