Two big boxes of live plants were delivered to my front door the other day. I hadn’t ordered them. Was there a rogue grower out there randomly gifting eager bloggers with young plants? Or what?
I pulled out the contents of both boxes, trying to find a clue about their origins. I finally found the letter after unpacking 20 thriving young annuals. Proven Winners, the prominent plant brand widely distributed in Southern Ontario garden centres, was hoping I could trial the plants enclosed and share my experiences in my blog. None of the plants will be available to the public until 2015.
I was over the moon.
Now I’m in the process of trying to winkle these new plants into my garden. Some will go into containers; others will have to make nice with established plants in some of my flower beds. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Meanwhile, I’ve been thinking about plant brands. When you buy a can of Coke, you already know what you’re getting. If you buy a cute little Chanel jacket, you probably figure it’s worth the price. Can you say the same of plant brands? According to Garden Media’s 2014 Garden Trends Report, we now spend more on our lawns and gardens than on our pets. (Sorry, Fluffy.) We all want the best value for our money and, with Fluffy plotting revenge, we basically need instant gratification in our gardens. If you’re new to gardening, how do you buy plants confidently? Start here:
- Big box stores are good for bargains and an experienced gardener can spot a deal as well as a strong, healthy plant. But smaller garden centres will have lots of choice, expertise and a variety of plants developed by reputable brand names.
- Local garden centres are also great sources for finding new plant introductions (like the ones I’m trialling now). Not only can new plants offer a different coloured bloom or a different growth habit (a dwarf variety of a larger plant, for instance) but new varieties are often bred to be hardier, more drought-tolerant and heat resistant.
- Look for prominent plant brands. Larger brands often have the research and development behind them to offer a better value plant. And they often have online services, including in-depth plant information, to help you find the right plants and learn more about them.
- Buy local. Native plants are always a good choice, of course, but buying local doesn’t necessarily mean you have to stick to native plants. Buying local includes plants that have been grown in the area. Many big name brands such as Proven Winners, President’s Choice, and Sheridan Nurseries, for instance, offer potted plants that were nurtured in a local nursery. Look for “Locally grown” signs at your favourite garden centre or for a “Canada grown” note on the plant tag or label. When in doubt, ask.