Penny’s a Nurture And Hold (NAH): Nah, I won’t pull that out yet, it’s still got a green shoot. She likes dragonflies, lady bugs and new stuff only after weeding, pruning and fertilizing.
Kim’s a Want It Now (WIN): Everything pretty, everything now. She will resort to full-spectrum insecticides in desperate situations, and believes it’s her duty and right to buy new plants every weekend.
Both advocate Plant Choice (SOMEthing besides crotons. Please!), lots of color and low maintenance. We don’t agree on everything, but we’re smart enough to learn from each other - and from you.
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New map takes Tampa down the garden path
Posted Jul 21, 2009 by Penny Carnathan
Updated Jul 21, 2009 at 11:49 PM
A reader e-mailed in May asking Kim and me to recommend a good nursery.
“This is the nursery I grew up with and, unfortunately, the standard by which I judge all the others!” Stacy Tabb wrote, including a link to an article about Bennett Nurseries in Huntsville, Ala.
I clicked on the link, curious about what could inspire such emphatic loyalty. Lots of nurseries offer an ever-changing palette of tempting finds. My neighborhood favorite also happens to come with a horticultural Dan Aykroyd, but that’s a bonus I wouldn’t dream of demanding anywhere else.
What’s so special about Bennett’s?
Free Starbucks coffee and, old-fashioned bottles of Coke and Dr Pepper, and spiced tea in the fall.
An electric train chugging through and around bonsai shrubs and trees.
Live music and help-yourself barbecue chicken on weekends in April and May and during the Pansy Festival in October.
And 15 greenhouses of plants.
“On average, it probably takes over an hour to see everything, especially in the spring,” employee Carol Shafer said when I called to see if Stacy was pulling a fast one on us.
It got Kim and me thinking — how do we find good nurseries beyond our neighborhoods? Like pollination, it’s pretty random: we hear about them, read about them, or spot one on the way to someplace else.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have that all-too-important information at our fingertips?
We dug through our archives and sent shout-outs to nurseries for information, then enlisted the technological talents of colleague Emily Seawell, who created what we hope will become a comprehensive map of Bay area nurseries. Click on the flower and find out about the nursery there. If we’ve written about it, you’ll also see a link to the story. And soon, you can add your own comments.
Stacy, who lives in Lakeland, did find a nursery she likes — Kerby’s in Seffner. It doesn’t have Dr Pepper, but it does have lots and lots of plants.
Stacy started gardening in earnest last year and writes about her experiences at floridabackyard.org—a blog I’ve been visiting regularly since early spring.
Here’s a link to our map to save: bit.ly/nurseries.