Earlier this week, I took a drive to Sanford, NC to visit a garden center that had been recommended to me by several friends. I'm so glad I went! It was a great place, with lots and lots of wonderful plants and helpful staff.
Entering through the archway to behind the brick wall, there's a courtyard that stretches hundreds of feet to the left and to the right. They have laid out popular annuals in the brick retaining wall, and they just go on and on!
Up under the awnings of the main building, there are seemingly endless offers of plants, garden art and accessories, pots, and statuary.
Inside the main building, there are lots of little rooms, each with different offerings. I enjoyed browsing through the Fairy Garden section, and found lots to interest me everywhere I turned.
Outside, there were over a dozen large greenhouses chock full of plants.
Some of the greenhouses were open to the full sun, while others were covered up and were for tender annuals, tropical, and working area for potting up perennials.
At one point, I got so overwhelmed by the greenhouses, I just had to step outside and regroup. I was walking up and down most of the aisles, looking at the selections, but there were just SO MANY plants available! In the photo below, I tried to capture a panoramic shot of one section, where four greenhouses were all open to each other, and you could see hundreds of thousands of plants all at the same time. CRAZY!!!
Moving outside, the had a great selection of cement or ceramic statuary and large planters.
And there were four or five aisles of these kinds of ceramic pots also, mostly made by local potteries.
There were several outdoor garden displays which showcased how the plants could possibly look in your own garden. This display of huge urns was really pretty all decked out with flowering annuals.
They have a great permanent garden in a courtyard area between all the greenhouses. This looks like a Mediterranean-style garden, based on a lot of the plants that are in this section. Most of these perennials are not yet blooming, but they were all coming back healthy and strong.
I was very enticed by the long table of so many varieties of verbena. Most of them were annuals, but there were some of my favorite perennial verbena too. I wasn't really shopping for these on this day... so I passed them by, but now that I know where they are, I'm headed back, for sure!
This is a pretty decent price for these plants - I've seen a little less expensive in other places, but nowhere near this selection of varieties.
There is a nice size area showcasing lots of roses, hydrangeas, peonies, fruits, and fruit trees. I was in the market for some hydrangeas, so I spent a good deal of time in this section.
There was a long, long, LONG expanse of perennial shrubs and trees. They went on and on and on! They were sorted alphabetically, and the plant markers were easy to read and very informative.
I was able to find a few shrubs that I was looking for, and I took some home with me.
Three hydrangea Let's Dance 'Moonlight' (mature at 2'-3' x 2'-3', purple flowers which change with soil ph)
One Ligustrum 'East Bay' (mature at 5'x6', evergreen with fragrant white flowers)
and three Clethra alnifolia 'Crystalina' (common name Summersweet, mature at 3'x3', fragrant white flowers in summer)
All in all, it was a great day for a drive to a great garden center. I'm looking forward to going back again!
Where do you find your best plants? Do you have a favorite garden center? Tell me about it in the comments! I'd love to hear from you.