Avant Gardening

6 Reasons You Should Buy from a Local Nursery

Avant's mobile nursery offers beautiful perennials, grown locally

Avant’s mobile nursery offers beautiful perennials, grown locally

Our team at Avant Gardening & Landscaping is enjoying the opportunity to connect with many of you as we take our “mobile nursery” on the road and join the Madison Eastside Farmers’ Market  every Tuesday afternoon in June. It’s also giving us the chance to answer your plant and gardening questions, including one we’re being asked a lot lately: “Why buy local?”

Here’s 6 (really good) reasons you should buy from a local nursery:

  1. You can feel assured the plant material is fully acclimated—not just to our winters, but also to the regional soils (composition and ph), precipitation and humidity, and even the various pests in our area.
  2. You’ll know the hardiness of your plant because it’s been grown in the same USDA zone.  Plant materials trucked in from warmer fields frequently go backwards during the first months in Southern Wisconsin, because the new growth hasn’t been hardened off.  A spruce, for example, flush with new growth at a big box store in early April, should be treated with skepticism by every buyer. Stressed new plantings invite disease and pests.
  3. There’s so much more that goes into growing great nursery stock than… well… just growing great nursery stock! Harvest times and methods, harvest materials used (open weave untreated burlap, half baskets, and organic twine), and follow-up care prior to installation are essential for you to have a healthy, thriving landscape. Our friends at Johnson’s Nursery have more than 50 years of local experience to draw upon, and say, “Our clients will know they are getting plant materials harvested at the correct time, in the correct way, and the materials have been well cared for until it leaving our sales yard.” Plants are a commodity at big box stores—subject to unknown and uneven harvest techniques and continuing care.
  4. Local nurseries can offer unusual, individual specimens you won’t find in a big box store’s selection. Consider this:  in much the same way great chefs can only do so much with macaroni and powdered cheese, so too are great landscape designers limited by plant palettes that are too narrow. When the fields are local, a designer can walk among acres of a particular species and choose EXACTLY the one to highlight the space and flow of their design.
  5. Buying local is green.  It’s true, and without the long distance shipping, fossil fuel consumption and pollution are greatly minimized. Irrigation runoff at local nurseries is often captured in retention ponds, and reused to ensure a responsible stewardship of the land.
  6. Buy from a local nursery, and your money stays in the community. Our employees live and pay taxes here, and their children attend schools in the community. Local businesses, in general, create the fabric of a dynamic healthy region. Avant is proud to support a variety of local events and causes by donating money, materials, or talent. It’s important to us, and we hope it is important to you, too.