Just a little plant ranting.. :(

Discussion in 'Conversations Forum' started by SUNRIZE, Apr 10, 2008.

  1. SUNRIZE

    SUNRIZE Active Member

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    Location:
    Florida, USA zone 8B
    Today I went to Lowe’s and was totally disgusted I know already that places like Lowe’s, Wal-Mart and Home depot hire people who have very little plant knowledge which to me is a sorry thing (shouldn’t the nursery manager be required to know something about plants even if the cashiers don’t?) but I still shop there because prices are good and here in Florida plants are big business so they have big nursery’s with a sort of decent selection.

    Ordering off the internet can get a little pricey when it comes to shipping and handling and you don’t know what your always going get either but it’s about the only way to go if you want something you cant get locally.. (sorry a little rambling here..lol).. : )

    Any how as I was making my tour I came across the Stag Horn Ferns and they were just literally covered in scale and not old scale but pretty new stuff it was awful. They had them inside in between the indoor plants so if you’re not careful or not aware you might pick up a plant that had been hijacked with the bugs. I just wanted to wring someone’s neck!! How can they be so lazy to not every once in awhile take a walk through the plants and just look at them. I spotted that nastiness in 2 seconds… gag..!!!

    OK I feel better now that I got that off my chest...lol

    Thanks to anyone who was willing to listen to it...lol : )
     
  2. DGuertin

    DGuertin Active Member 10 Years

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    I happen to have one of each of the three within a mile and a half of my house, and my MO is to shop at least twice weekly to be sure I get anything interesting before they have the chance to kill it...
     
  3. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Caveat emptor!
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    What? It didn't look like that amazing vision the Lowe's TV ad portrays?

    Here their shelves are stocked by employees of local growers, as is done at local supermarkets etc. with other items. Today I asked at a local independent food co-op type of place what had happened to Rodale's Organic Gardening magazine and the reply was that they don't know anything about the magazines as the man who brings them does his own thing...in other words, even they are renting at least part of their shelf space out. The crappy ferns were probably brought in that way, nobody on the Lowe's staff having anything to do with it.
     
  5. DGuertin

    DGuertin Active Member 10 Years

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    That is the policy with Lowe's, Home Depot, and Wal-mart here.

    The growers rent the space and pay the store a commission on each sale. For every return to the store, the commission is kept, but the plant replaced, all to the detriment of the grower.

    I have noticed, at least this Spring, that the growers seem to be pricing out the plants according to the risk associated with the store. Our Lowe's had 7 gallon Rhapis Excelsa for $152, and a smaller local nursery had them for $65. Difference? Lowe's is likley to lose significantly more to employee neglect than the proper nursery, and the price is adjusted to ensure that the grower is at least making good money on the ones that survive long enough to be sold.
     
  6. joecat

    joecat Active Member

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    When I was new to plants and didn't know better, I bought a tricolour rubber plant from Home Depot. I thought the white stuff on the plant was just some dust. It was mealy bug. Yuck. It infected and killed a jade plant I have, and a couple other plants. I'm still fighting the infestation from that one plant. I think I might have finally won though.

    Home depot has a no questions asked return policy -- I was tempted to take all my dead and infected plants back and get them exchanged for healthy ones!
     
  7. kaspian

    kaspian Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
    Maine coast, USA, zone 5
    Last year, at the end of the season, the local Home Depot had an awesome and utterly chaotic clearance sale on nursery stock, most of which seemed to have been trucked in just to get cleared out. A lot of things were unlabeled, some were labeled incorrectly, many were nowhere even close to hardy in our climate. It was kind of insulting if you stopped to think about it.

    BUT. If you knew what you were looking at, there were all kinds of odd little bargains to be had. I'm still trying to flesh out some kind of garden around a newly built house, and I was able to pick up a number of pretty cool specimens including Physocarpus (ninebark) 'Coppertina,' Viburnum x burkwoodii, Panicum 'Heavy Metal,' and an unidentified but large and healthy hydrangea.

    We've got some good local nurseries and garden centers, but they tend to be very expensive compared to buying online.
     
  8. Buddleia

    Buddleia Active Member 10 Years

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    Eastern Ontario, Canada zone 5
    When I started out with a brand new garden to fill I shopped at the big box places simply because their prices were good. I bought early in the season when their stock was fresh (and they hadn't had a chance to kill it as someone else pointed out). My complaint is that none of these places have enough staff to help customers let alone look after the living product they sell.
    I saw one store had a pallet of columbines in 6" pots that were covered in white powdery mildew. I was surprised as they always seemed to give the impression they cared and were knowledgable about their plants but why would they have this disgusting mess on display right in front of the garden centre???? I mentioned to them they seemed to have a problem on their hands and they had no clue there even was a problem! And when it was brought to their attention they just left them there in plain view regardless. It just made my skin crawl. So anyone who had a powdery mildew problem in Ganonoque, Ontario last summer, I know where it came from LOL
     
  9. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    I've walked into a Home Depot and been greeted by large completely dead plants right near the entrance.
     
  10. markinwestmich

    markinwestmich Active Member

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    Just wait until Summer when Home Depot moves their plants out in the parking lot to bake in the sun. Every year. Same thing. A week later, they are dead or nearly dead, and are 60% off.

    As "kaspian" mentioned, though, if you know what you are looking for, you may find a good deal on a sad little plant. Some of my best plants were in the "clearance" lot for 60-80% off.
     
  11. JoeMaple85

    JoeMaple85 Active Member

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    Oh my that is so true. Although "move it outside to bake in the sun" started early in San Diego. Japanese Maples baking in full sun.... Half of them had horrible leaf burn on them.
     
  12. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    BUT if you know how to revive them you most often end up with a nice expensive collection on the cheap. I built my azalea and camelia collection this way. Cyclamens are also great rescues after their first flush. I must admit I feel sorry for the plants and often come home with a stray or two. Having worked at the nursery end of proceedings during my youth and seeing the attention plants get. It is very disheartening to see how plants are handled in these outlets.

    Liz
     
  13. Barbara Lloyd

    Barbara Lloyd Well-Known Member

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    All the fore mentioned gripes make me so proud of our local ACE Hardware here in Anacortes, WA. When their long-time, very knowledgable, garden manager quit, they took two of their semi knowledgable employees and paid to send them through the training offered by the Skagit County Master Gardeners. I'm not saying they are Botanists, but if they don't know something they at least have a clue as to where to look it up or someone to ask for help. With 100+ MG's in this area, we have all sorts of expertise available. You can't know it all but at least they make a good effort. I guess the key is "locally owned" and responsible to the community.
     
  14. togata57

    togata57 Contributor 10 Years

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    The corollary to "bake in the parking lot" is "freeze by an open door". Last winter I received a Lowe's phalaenopsis that was one of many in a display set directly in the Arctic blast unleashed each time anyone entered/exited. I was afraid the phal was a goner...leaves were crypt-cold...but gradually it came back and bloomed for me this spring.

    It's all about money. Stores hire the cheapest labor possible; sell plants just as they do lumber or ceiling tiles or shovels---because giving them the care they should have is deemed too expensive; and I would bet MONEY that any employee who has the temerity to suggest that things could be done differently is shown the ice-cold door whilst being told that management "wouldn't want you to stay in a job where you are unhappy." I have much fellow-feeling for conscientious employees of these places, whose alternatives are try to change things and lose one's job---or say nothing and watch plants die.

    What can be done? Perhaps we forum members can be plant advocates: when we see horrendous examples of insect infestation, dry-roasting, freezing, we should ask to see the manager on duty and point out these conditions. It's all about money...if the customer is unhappy, the customer will take her/his hard-earned somewhere else. And THAT message might just get through.

    I agree wholeheartedly with the previous post by Barbara Lloyd. There is a nursery just a few blocks from my house that is a wondrous oasis in this city. Annuals, herbs, perennials, trees, shrubs, and (my favorite) a tropical room containing orchids and other lovely, unusual plants. All of these are cared for by friendly, hard-working, and very knowledgeable staff. The company now has two additional locations, but the quality of the original remains intact. Find a local nursery, folks, and give it your custom! Think about what you want to support.
     
  15. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Wow this makes me glad I live in a virtually big-box free environment.... People here who sell plants are generally the growers, so they're almost always well cared for.
     
  16. C8luvs2gardn

    C8luvs2gardn Active Member

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    There is a large Loblaws close to me here and every year they have a large garden centre which stays open till about the middle of July. I haven't noticed too many problems with pests or disease, but the flats of plants (esp. tomatoes, cukes, zukes, etc) are JAMMED so close together that they get broken or squished. It's often difficult to find plants that are not damaged or are not too spindly from not getting enough light.

    On the plus side, I have gotten a number of very nice perennials that were marked down several times to maybe 25 or 50 cents, and tomato plants for FREE! Nevertheless, the rule, as Michael said below, is still caveat emptor!
     

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