Supply Sources For The Gardener

By: Susan Sportman

Three from every four container plants are bought from the garden centre. You can wander around and look at the perennials, trees and shrubs, knowing that at almost any time of the year you can pick up a container-grown specimen and plant it within your own garden. Selecting a plant is simple but getting it home can be difficult - never bend or twist the stems to get it into your car. Also, remember that a plant could get roasted in the boot or wind burnt if left next to an open window in your moving vehicle. There is several rules to follow in order to ensure trouble-free shopping. Try to go at the start of the planting season before shortages occur, and try to go midweek to avoid the weekend crowds.

Do not buy on impulse unless you really know your plants - it is much better to make an inventory and buy the better specimens that you can find. When you see an attractive plant which is not on your list, make a note of its name to check its suitability in a text book or on the\by using internet when you get to your home. You can always buy it on your next visit if it is suitable.

You are able to see what you are purchasing. When possible make your choice when a container-grown plant reaches its greatest display stage - flowering shrubs in bloom, berrying shrubs in fruit, etc.

Container-grown stock can be planted straight away. When your first option just isn't available, you can immediately choose something different.

Apart from trees it is generally possible to take your plants home with you - no delays, no transport costs.

Advice is always on hand. However, do check the advice in a specialist book when you get home.

The varieties on offer are usually the more standard ones - you cannot expect a garden centre to stock a huge number of varieties which might not sell.

Garden centres are usually a long way from the centre of town, this means that the nearest one might be inaccessible if you don't use a vehicle.

Numbers of each variety may perhaps be restricted, so when you are planning for a massed planting or a long hedge you might have to order from a large mail order nursery.

The main stock-in-trade, the container-grown plant is generally more expensive.

If something goes wrong:
If a number of your plants fail and you are convinced that it is not your mistake, return it to your garden centre and explain what has happened. You will require proof of purchase so always keep the receipt when buying plants. If your garden centre is a member of the Garden Centre Association (you will see IGC symbol on display) then it guarantees to exchange any container-grown plant which has failed within 6 months of purchase, if reasonable care has been taken.

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A fantastic quantity of my time is spent in my garden, but as I am getting older and things are becoming harder to do. I have decided to make use of a company called Local Tradespeople. So far they have given me all the help and advice that I have asked for. I still do a bit of pottering around my own garden.

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