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Questions: should we ask before we buy?

19 comments


Or alternatively should I get up, out of my chair and check the books.

I have a new bed and a new border to replant so during the grotty weather I have been looking at the plants you grow and producing a plant list.

I love Skimmia and I remember seeing, or more to the point smelling, a whole ‘hedge’ of a white budded, white flowered one at Wakehurst Place called Kew Green. So its on my wish list. My other half said does it have berries? So when I rang [prefer this to ordering on line] I asked the person on the other end. The yound man said yes of course they all [Skimmia] do. I pointed out that many were dioecious and needed a male and a female plant. Response ’ sorry dont know then’.

At this point I decided to get out of my chair and consult my RHS book. Its an all male plant. So out of curiosity or badness [yes I have my wicked moments :o)] I rang a couple of other places. The second place said yes it was a female plant, theirs are in berry now. The third was honest and said I dont know but if I waited a minute they would check for me. I placed my order with them as at least they were willing to check for me.

So in conclusion should we trust the voice on the end of the phone, especially when all 3 I rang offer gardening advice on chosing that special plant for the right place?

Nah I’ll stick to my books. At least I can take them to bed and have a good read when OH is on nights.

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Comments

 

Ask Hywel or Bulbaholic - easier and cheaper !

4 Jan, 2013

 

The best advice I was given when I started gardening was "do your own research so that you know the latin name of the plant you want and then find a good nursery where the plants will cost a fraction of the price of the same plant in a garden centre". Its sad but true that advice must often be taken with a pinch of salt. I am surprised when looking at the websites of some big suppliers to find they are often not very precise and can be totally misleading. What is the point of them selling a customer something which will never perform as they would wish. Unfortunately in this day of instant perfect gardens as seen on TV shows too many probably busy and gullible gardeners buy plants which they then have to discard very quickly because of their unsuitability. My mother would have described them as having "more money than sense".

4 Jan, 2013

 

At some GCs there is a qualified plant expert whom you may consult solely when you learn his/her name.
Otherwise contact Goy !

4 Jan, 2013

 

That is my point totally Scotsgran. As a botanist I am often appalled at the information given out in catalogues and some tv programmes. I enjoy reading and some of my favourite books are the RHS guides. However in this case I was going for Kew Green any way as it fits the space well. It was the berry bit I didnt know and was being lazy.

Yes Dianne GoY has some very knowledgable people and I also enjoy helping others and getting first hand experience from members. I have to 'be careful' with the depth I give for some of the science as different members have different levels of experience. Sadly the 'expert' at my main gc just reads the labels that come with the plants. GoY doesnt help if you are standing at the gc 'sans computer' :o)

I dont think I have ever made a totally wrong buy, a few impulsive ones that live in pots. I know the ericaceous ones wont thrive in my alkaline soil unless it is 'mananged' and that is too much hassle and alters the micro-ecosystem.

When I did my first conifer bed over 15yrs ago I did loads of research and had my list of desired conifers all of which did as expected.

What annoys me Jent is when the same cultivar has 2 synonyms. I fell foul of that with a pretty lamium 'Pink chablis' or 'Pink pewter' but the company did refund me when I complained. I notice they have both names in their catalogue now.

4 Jan, 2013

 

I do buy plants before I have a place to put them and give myself a lot of work but it is the fun bit of gardening. I then have to find out accurately what I have and give it the conditions it likes. I shudder when I see what some people discard because they buy indiscriminately. Our local recycling centre has a staff of dedicated plant savers who use discarded pots to brighten the place up. I enjoy going there to see how their landscaping is going. LOL.

4 Jan, 2013

 

Good idea to consult a book. If the information you want is there, you can be sure it's right (most of the time anyway)

There's a small nursery near here where we often go, and the people in charge have a (well used) RHS book. They call it their Bible lol ... and if they don't know the answer, they'll look it up while you are there. You can look at the book with them too :o)

4 Jan, 2013

 

There is nothing worse than talking to a 'sales assistant' who does not know what they are talking about - it's not just GCs that do this - it's one of my pet hates!
At least you had the sense in the end to get out your book SBG. I don't buy plants online, once bitten twice shy and all that!
What I do (and I know everyone can't for various reasons) is always, well mostly always, is go online with my phone in the GC and check before I put things in the trolley if I'm unsure. I don't have an RHS book but their website 'plant search' is great for this too.
One other thing that bugs me about GCs (especially national chains) is that they label everything as hardy and sell them up here as hardy - which is usually not the case!!

4 Jan, 2013

 

I found labels in the GCs that just say...half sun....half shade. Do not eat..... There are no soil requirements, no garden aspect, no way to tell if they are hardy or tender, that's if you can speak/read Dutch.....I love my local private plant nursery, they are so friendly, helpful and knowledgable about all the plants they stock. AND they are much cheaper than the GCs which I visit just to check their offers. Oh! And Morisons for plants I see when shopping there...lol

4 Jan, 2013

 

Yes, I find my local independent nursery best HB - great advice given and they always have something different too!

4 Jan, 2013

 

There is a tendancy now for the labels to say hardy except in extreme weather conditions. Yes the dutch ones are not very useful are they?

I have a mobile dumb-phone so cant check when I'm out and the RHS 'bible' [my pet name for the weighty tome too] is just too big and heavy to take with me.

4 Jan, 2013

 

Thanks Diane ;-))))))))
At a private, specialist nursery I will listen to what the grower tells me, and usually learn a lot from them. At a GC - I don't bother to ask. Most of the sales people are on basic wage and are there for a job. If in the GC look for the assistant who is actually looking after the plants, you sometimes hit gold. Personally I use my, quite extensive (books are also a compulsive purchase), library and the internet - both still taken with a pinch of salt and some common sense!
And regarding the heading to your question, SBG, NO, go ahead and buy - look it up when you get home, it is what I usually do!!!!!!!!!!!!! Mistakes and all.

5 Jan, 2013

 

The question was tongue in cheek really and i susppose a warning to take care when ordering. Glad you also do impulse buys Bulba :o)

5 Jan, 2013

 

We would be a boring lot if we never bought what caught our eye wouldn't we.

5 Jan, 2013

 

but my bank account would be happpier :o)

5 Jan, 2013

 

Can't take it with you, it'd only melt.......

6 Jan, 2013

 

My daughters would appreciate it though haha!

6 Jan, 2013

 

Oh! yes, mine will probably just have the house to sell.

7 Jan, 2013

 

There are companies that will give you a big loan against your house, Homebird!!! Learn to SKI (Sod the Kids Inheritence) :-))))))

7 Jan, 2013

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