A Trip Through Garden Centers


At least once a year I like to take a day off and visit garden centers.

Early this summer I took myself and and went to neighboring garden center, within easy commuting distance and still retains some of the “country” atmosphere.

The garden centers serving these homeowners are among the largest in the East. They have to be, with the large number of gardeners in that area. They all have extensive parking facilities; one in particular has a two-acre parking lot which is jammed every week end in the spring.

The garden centers in this area are a far cry from the old seed stores of just a few years back. Just as the corner grocer has fallen a victim to the supermarket, so, too, has the “seed store.” The garden centers I visited have also taken the supermarket as their example. They were all self-service. The same kind of carts found in supermarkets were standard equipment in the super-garden center. Customers went through and picked out all the things they needed – seeds, bulbs, plants, fertilizers, insecticides, etc. – and when they were through they went through the customary “check-out counter.” Back in the nursery departments, they added something, though; for hauling trees and shrubs, peatmoss and other heavy things they provided children’s express wagons.

garden cart

The people I saw shopping were taking their time, just as anyone would to be sure they were getting exactly what they wanted. The selection of plant materials offered by these concerns is almost phenomenal. Many of the plants once available only through specialty nurseries can now be obtained in a local garden center. But, it was the tools and equipment that I was most concerned with – and I certainly found an equally good selection.

All-Purpose Insecticides

Most garden centers carry a good line of insecticides and plant foods. In the insecticide line, I saw that many people favored the general, all-purpose sprays and dusts. These are combinations that include several insecticides and fungicides so that no matter what is bothering a plant, there is a good chance that this one spray or dust will do the trick. I grow a few roses – I guess almost every gardener does – and have found that the DuPoNT Rose insecticide and fungicide is wonderful. It contains materials to control rose chafer, rose beetles, Japanese beetles, rose slug, aphid, red spider mite, black spot and powdery mildew. What more could you ask?

Soluble fertilizers are almost a byword with modern home gardeners. They are easy to use, not smelly and really make plants grow. In all the stores I visited there was a display of my old favorite RA-Plo-Gao.

More Tools

I’ve tried all kinds of tools and equipment in my garden. Here are some more:

Ridding my lawn of weeds seems like a never-ending chore. But this year they are well under control. I tried out spot application this year. Spot application, incidentally, means just going through and applying the weed killer to individual plants.

I purchased a new hose reel. The instructions said that it would hold up to 150 feet of plastic hose – and it does just that. This is a reel that can be moved about, because you can purchase extra brackets. You can have one near your faucet and another in the garage or basement so you can store your hose when its not in use. The reel is light – but strong – and with a light plastic hose, it is very easy to carry.


In the chemical line. I starting using some AQUAGRO. I’m not a chemist and can’t tell what it does in technical terms. However, from the gardener’s standpoint what it does is to work on the water, making it more available to the plant and causing it to stay in the soil longer. I tried it on some house plants as well as in the garden. The results were quite noticeable on the house plants which do appear to stay moist longer. One application is said to last a full season. I’ll know this fall.

Helping the Inner Man

I’m a barbecue man and believe that a grill belongs in every family garden. More than anything else, the barbecue makes our garden a family garden. To augment backyard my equipment I purchased a new “Big Green Egg” smoker, grill barbeque. It does a nice even job of cooking.

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