i'm just starting a new landscaping project and have been to a few nurseries looking for some ideas for shrubs. i've been unimpressed with the 3 places i've visited thus far. therefore, my search continues. anyone care to share their favorite spot and why?
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A well-established one is Black Diamond on Tremainsville a couple blocks west of Upton.
They wlll have a large selection of shrubs, roses, perennials, annuals (wait till May 1).
Need advice with plant problems, soil problems, etc. The staff at Black Diamond is quite competent and trustworthy for that.
I believe the name Black Diamond refers to coal, which they sold and delivered during the coal-burning days. From where did they get the coal? See the railroad track next to the property? It was shipped by freight train.
It's a little bit early for retailers to have all their stock in. The peak is Motherday's weekend. Are you looking for a local grower or for a retailer? And as slowsol mentioned, where have you been so far?
Always on my list are Anderson's (Talmadge store, the manager there has extensive knowledge and excellent taste in buying), Hatfield Lawn & Landscape, Nature's Corner, Hoens, North Branch Nursery (Pemberville - well worth the drive) and Petitti's (in Cleveland - also very well worth the drive). I hit Petittis in Cleveland at least once a year, sometimes twice. North Branch is the largest local grower. Miles of fields along the Portage River. They sell wholesale to landscapers and municipalities and also sell retail. Petittis grows their own stock as well. Phenomenal stuff.
When choosing shrubs it helps to know a few things. Your soil conditions: acid or alkaline, and if its clay, loamy or sandy. How much sun will the shrub receive? How much wind? Do you have irrigation? How much space do you have to fill? The most common mistake is putting a shrub that will ultimately get big such as 6 × 6 in too small a space, like 3 × 3. Can it grow tall or do you want it short so it doesnt block a window? Do you want a conifer or a deciduous shrub? Are you prepared to learn and do what the shrub(s) might need in terms of annual maintenance such as pruning or deadheading? Meeting its water needs? In short a little advance homework will save you time and money in the long run and make it easier for a nursery salesman to steer you in the right direction.
The basic guide is "right plant - right place". Fit the needs of the plant to the growing conditions. My favorite in town place is Anderson's - Talmadge. My favorite out of town is Petittis. Widest selection of plants suited to homeowners who are not too knowledgeable and not too eager to do any maintenance would be North Branch. They also do design and installs. Happy Trails!
^ great advice. If you're looking for "ideas" for shrubs, you might benefit from visiting Hidden Lake Gardens in Michigan, a botanical garden with thousands of mature shrubs. You can see how things look in maturity, and find out about some of the lesser-known varieties.
WHen I was first married we bought coal from Black Diamond. There is a guy still working there from those days.
We are tearing out 60's landscaping and replacing it with new. I have used Black Diamond Nursery for both projects. Good job.
And I agree it is way too early to do anything more than work and amend the soil.
i initially did not bring up where i had been. i was simply more curious about everyone's favorite, so i thought my visits were rather irrelevant.
i like nature's corner, but think they can be pricey. i like anderson's, too, and i continue to got there. that's actually where i've gotten some fun stuff (a clumping bamboo, japanese holly). i forgot about hatfield's. i've liked that place, but it's been a few years since i've been out there. will have to make a trip.
thanks for the input!
Ditto to holland's advice. By the way: holland is über-talented at all matters horticultural; if I remember correctly holland has either attained (or is working toward) a master gardener certification, so you would be wise to follow holland's suggestions.
Well, Thank You historymike!! Actually I am a Master Gardener (2008) and now three classes away from an Associates Degree in Landscape and Turf Management - Horticulture (an "encore degree") at Owens Community College. But for as much as I know, there is also much that I dont. Its a field where you have to keep on learning and keep up with new research.
I highly recommend the Master Gardener program. Its wonderful. I also highly recommend the 2 yr. Landscape and Turf Management Program at Owens. Even in a down economy, students have little trouble finding employment. If you are willing to relocate to warmer regions post graduation employemnt opportunities are excellent. If you like to grow things and can handle some science it has a lot to offer. It encompasses a wide range of specialties, some of which are: Greenhouse operations, outdoor grower-nursery operations, athletic field maintenance, golf course maintenance, retail nursery operations, landscape design and install, and urban horticulture/community gardens. You get a big bang for your tuition buck with a 2 yr degree that gets you out and earning in a hurry.
When we first moved out this way, I stopped by Hatfield's to look at their selection, since it was just around the corner. I was impressed by what I saw.
Impressed enough to consider using them for our landscaping, actually. Our home was new construction, so we had a lot of work to be done. The guy I talked with in the store took our address and contact information. Said that he would drive by to see the layout of our yard, so that he could make some recommendations for us and give an estimate.
Then...<crickets>...never heard from him again. Yeah, I could have called them back and pushed for an estimate. However, I was worried that if I had to hound them to get the estimate, it might not bode well for how the actual project would go.
holland, do you know if they typically tend to be so lackadasical about new potential customers, or did I just catch the wrong employee on the wrong day?
Frankly, I'm surprised. Design and installs can be highly profitable. To ignore a potential client is hardly normal. I'll bet if Al Hatfield heard this story he'd explode. I'm inclined to say that it was the wrong employee on the wrong day. If I dealt with anyone there it would be either Al Hatfield or "Alan". Al could look at a job and give you a number pretty quick. He's been in the business a long, long time. New construction is easy. Most times there's no tear out. Usually the problems are with any mess the contractor left, soil compaction from heavy equipment which should always be dealt with, and what quality of soil the contractor might have brought in as "top soil".
Contractors are famous for bringing in soil that they claim is top soil when really it is subsoil. Subsoil will grow absolutely nothing - nothing. Practically forever. There is little you can do to sub soil to make it fertile, except years and years of compost and cover crops. In new construction get a contractual agreement, backed by a soil test, that you will get top soil. If they refuse a soil test dont let them supply the soil. Get it your self from someone reputable. Alternatively have the contractor remove your top soil and set it aside during construction. Then after the final grading, have them put it back. Whatever they dig out for a basement needs to be handled appropriately. It can be reused on site for swales or filling in low spots but dont bury the good top soil under the subsoil. Contractors arent landscapers and this is one place where they will cut corners to save money. The average homeowner has no clue that he's doomed to struggle to grow a garden or a decent landscape and contractors know this.
I ordered four tons of topsoil a few years ago, holland, and instead I received some of the most clay-like dreck ever dug from the ground. I have had to augment it with sand, peat, and fertilizer to get it usable for even basic flowers like marigolds and lilies.
Ouch! Clay + sand = cement, so be careful with that. You will actually make it worse. The best amendment for clay is organic material. Lot and lots of organic material. One of the best organic amendments for clay is pine bark mulch. Yeah, you read that right. Pine bark mulch. It decomposes slowly, (depending on the size of the pine bark pieces, maybe two years) adds lignin and other good coarse fibers which improve and open up the clay structure plus it helps lower high clay pH. Spread a light layer over the soil and dig it in. Two inches or so dug in 12 to 18 inches deep is ideal. Peat, as you have been using is also teriffic. It does the same thing as clay, improves the structure and lowers the pH. Peat to some folks is controversial because it is non-renewable. It takes millions of years to form a peat bog. I use it however. My homestead is nearly pure sand. Peat is just as good for sand as it is for clay.
I've seen a load of "top soil" delivered that contained pieces of broken sewer tile. There's a yuck factor!
You are so knowledgeable, holland. I love reading your posts about gardening, I've learned a lot! Meanwhile, I'm off to kill some more weeds in my landscaping... sigh.
I had almost the exact same experience with Hatfield's two weeks ago.
Where we live its all clay to start with, didn't know sand would make it worse, we used it a few years ago ,used a rototiller and after it settled didn't help at all, now I know why, thanks Holland we wont do that again.
Thank you for the kind words dell_diva. Please keep in mind the great Landscape and Turf Management program at Owens. They turn out a great crop of students every year. These students compete nationally every year against other colleges, including 4yr institutions, and over the years have often placed in the top 10 against a field of 900 students.
Some of the graduates are working in some pretty high end jobs at the most pretigious golf courses in the US and theme parks like Disneyland. I can't say enough good about it.
"Great crop"..."landscape and turf management"...
I liked the punnery.
You should check out Rhodes Garden Fresh on Monroe near Douglas. They have both annuals and perennials as well as houseplants and Jeff, the owner, is a walking encyclopedia on all things plant-related. They also sell produce, planters, grave blankets, gorgeous hanging baskets and decorations. It's one of Toledo's best kept secrets.