Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Monday, February 2, 2009

Mixed Feelings



It was a great day for bargains at a local nursery.  The same place where I found the beautiful Knapp Hill azaleas...

I took home quite a few perennials, shrubs and grasses.  There is this big project that keeps grabbing my attention...we refer to it as the GOBN.  It's an  incredibly  exciting project... planting ideas come at me faster then a squirrel heading for newly planted tulips.

So, when I saw the deciduous hollies (including Southern Gentlemen for pollinating the girls) for a mere fraction of their usual cost, they went into the back of the Subaru.   They kept company on the ride home with  the feather reed grasses, Stachys officinalis 'Hummelo'', May Night Sage, the climbing aster (Aster carolinianus) and a Ryan's Yellow chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum x morifolium ‘Ryan’s Yellow’).  The day before  six  Little Henry Iteas and five giant Oakleaf Hydranges went home with me.  They are perfect for the back yard gardens and way under my plant budget.  

It was a good day at the nursery.

It was also a sad day at the nursery.

The owner may be shutting down and the manager is scrambling to get financing to keep it open. I suspect that it will be gone in March.  Unless some wonderful angel shows up to rescue this business.  It's hard to imagine banks will be eager to support an unknown business owner. Not in these economic times.

It's rough out there for nursery owners.  The landscape contractor who is helping me grade the soil away from the  patio told me that projects are being cancelled daily.  My project is a tiny project, not the bread and butter of her business.  

When projects have to be cancelled  there is a domino effect that touches not only  the contractor but,  her employees,  the designer,  the  equipment rental companies and the nurseries who would have supplied the plants. 

I had a great day at the nursery, but it wasn't without the knowledge that others might not be having such a good day.

Gail 

I thank you God for this most amazing day,
for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, 
and for the blue dream of sky 
and 
for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.
eecummings

76 comments:

  1. Sounds like some great deals! I would love to find some of those deciduous hollies at a discount. It is sad what the economy is doing to the nurseries. People just can't afford to spend money on ornamental plants when they need to the money for their mortgage. It will change in time though. Once people get a handle on their spending and stop living off of credit things will get better!

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  2. I completely understand you concerns, Gail. All we can do is hope for the best for everyone.--Randy

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  3. Oh Gail, it is so sad for those in business that is being affected by the economy. I don't think that even one is not being affected. It makes me very nervous about where I work even though I work part time I know the owner is very worried.

    On the up side I envy you your finds. It is nice that you can help by purchasing some of their stock. Every little bit helps.

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  4. Hi Gail, the double edged sword on the nursery deals. What needs to happen is for all businesses that are affected to get creative and figure out what people want, need and will part with the money for. Some will rise to the top and do well, others will go under. Ice cream shops are included in this business model too. But I am excited for you finding great plants for your back gardens. It will be a treat to see how it evolves into the showpiece it can be!
    Frances

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  5. Glad you had a great day at the nursery and your GOBN will thrive from it. So sad about this nursery and so many other businesses closing.

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  6. Dave,

    So right...we are lucky that at this moment that concerns about our mortgage and food aren't pressing
    issues. But no business seems to be recession proof.
    They were $10 a plant Dave and there were a few more left.

    Gail

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  7. Randy,

    Hi...it seems to be getting worse everyday! Gail

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  8. Isn't nursery shopping fun? I'm still planning a trip to visit that nursery in Nashville. I hope it doesn't go under!

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  9. Lisa,

    Even the big box stores are hurting...I hear that Home Depot is shutting down their Expo stores! They haven't officially said we are closing our doors but....I like the manager and staff and wonder what they will do for employment.

    and ... I am enjoying the plant bargains!
    Gail

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  10. Phillip,

    I haven't heard anything. Both nurseries supply plants to the big landscapers and have been here forever. Call and reserve your tree before you go...once the weather warms up things do go fast..It's why I shop on the colder days!

    Gail

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  11. Frances,

    Well put...there are a few businesses that always weather the economic roller coaster ride. They have loyal customers and great products. It will be interesting to see what happens to the big nurseries. In the mean time plans continue to on the GOBN. A showpiece in the works! You are the best Frances!

    gail

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  12. Darla,

    it was a lot of fun...and very heady! Hope the cold weather stays away from your garden...seems like more of it is traveling south!

    gail

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  13. Your title says it all, Gail--it's great you were able to get such bargains, but at the same time so sad that a favorite business may close. I haven't heard of any of our local garden centers closing yet, but I have read that many of them are worried about this year's sales. I'm anxious to see what is going to be available locally this spring.

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  14. Rose,

    It was with deeply mixed feelings. Here were all these plants that I wanted to getyand it was hard not to feel like the kid in a candy store, but at the same time...I wish they weren't going to close. I like these folks very much!

    gail

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  15. I know--I am currently in a constant war with myself about whether to be a scrimper and "make my own" or to go out and support a business in these hard times.

    Glad you got some nice bargains, and hope for the best for the little nursery.

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  16. It seems to be a sign of the times. The drought, the economy and the general state of nurseries is causing some upheavals. It is a shame.

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  17. What a reminder to be grateful for what we have, and to go to local businesses as much as possible. This shopping from the computer thing has gotten way out of hand (though I did get a few special things mail order myself ;->)
    Glad you made such a haul!
    Town Mouse

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  18. It seems no business is immune from this crisis! New business opening every day here and I fear for them as others are failing all around them. Glad you were able to help this nursery out by finding some good bargains though. You will have to rename that GOBN before long....

    You did not mention the birdie, a Waxwing?

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  19. Oh no - I do hope the nursery doesn't close down, though it seems to be happening everywhere :(

    Perhaps you need to go and buy some more plants for the GOBN?

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  20. Sensitive post, Gail. Believe me, the heart of automotive beats within our family, each day a new mystery. You have done a fine thing adopting the plants and giving them a good home.

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  21. i don't like that so many people and businesses are hurting. it definitely has a dominio effect as you said. shopping from local places is always a good idea.
    sounds like your garden is going to have some wonderful new things growing in it and for you to enjoy.

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  22. I'm sorry to see another business close. It means the end of someone's dreams.
    Marnie

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  23. Marnie,

    It really does doesn't it....

    gail

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  24. Marmee,

    I was wondering if the businesses that are opening were already in the middle of the process when everything fell apart? They are stuck with the investment and leases. There are spec houses still going up! It is tough out there.

    gail

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  25. joey,

    My husband was in Michigan working with a hospital board recently. He said it is hard times for many folks up there and the ripple effect will be felt here, too. I hope the automobile industry can rebound...for all our sakes. Gail

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  26. VP,

    My thoughts exactly! How's the snow?

    gail

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  27. Skeeter,

    A waxwing indeed...isn't it a cutie pie. We walked a new greenway and they were everywhere...but quite high in the trees. This was the best I could do...

    Gail

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  28. Hi Town Mouse, it was a haul and I did have a good time shopping locally. I am really going to miss these guys. They were the best at bargaining...always willing to help you buy a plant or two or three!

    gail

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  29. It seems that there are a lot of nurseries in similar situations, Gail. It could be a very troubling year for the gardening world.
    But I love the ee cummings poem you quote-one of my favourite poems ever (next to TS Eliot's works, of course)

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  30. Rose,

    It does sadden me even as I enjoy the haul of plants.
    I have noticed that several nurseries have raised prices on plants and containers. I don't mean a few dollars sometimes as much as 50% more. One manager apologized but said he couldn't help it!

    Gail

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  31. Jodi,

    I love his work and this poem especially. It seemed a perfect quote...I am grateful. TS Elliot! Which?

    gail

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  32. Hi Gail....some gorgeous plants there....can't wait to see their progress in the GOBN....

    It is sad when a local business gets into difficulties. I am trying, as much as I can, to buy from local people only. Everyone is struggling in the present climate....we all need to help each other as much as we can......

    I hope your garden centre manages to stay afloat......

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  33. Tina,

    It really is! Change of subject..looks like we might dodge the snow again...how about you?

    gail

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  34. Susan,

    Tough choices...we feel the same about restaurants. One of my son's friends from school has a sweet little restaurant...I would love to support them more often but ....I like my own cooking, too.

    Gail

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  35. That is a bittersweet post. I LOVE nursery shopping the way my mom LOVES fabric store shopping. My poor kids will probably grow up rolling their eyes as they wait in some corner of the nursery, just as I did in the corner of the fabric store as a kid. Hopefully there will be some nurseries left after this recession, though it seems like it's going to get worse before it gets better. Big box stores were mentioned in the comments - they inspire mixed feelings as well. I really appreciate their prices - half of what the private nursery charges on many identical items - but it's sad when the mom and pop nurseries get hurt by it. I guess that makes it my duty to spend more money at both places?! Ha, ha.
    Regards, VW

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  36. My dad is a nursery owner/plant broker. He can't get by on what it brings in so he just got a job at Lowes. Sigh. I guess it is happening everywhere.

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  37. Gail, I'm afraid we are in for a lot more of this type of closing. People are not going to buy the luxuries nearly as much now that money is tight. We just lost a beautiful bookstore, not one of the chains, and I am so sad about it. I loved going there to browsw and get special books for the grand girls.

    We need some good news don't we? And in a hurry. Enjoy your new plants. It will be such fun to see the GOBN come together this spring.

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  38. Yup, nice and sunny and warm here. Perfect day to repot cuttings and clean the garage.

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  39. Hi Gail, I understand the mixed feelings you're experiencing. I'm always ready for a "good deal" when it comes to purchasing something, but I hate it when it's at the expense of someone's struggle. And you will be without a valuable resource if someone doesn't take over.

    My daughter, using those very words by eecummings, did a calligraphic artwork that hangs in my living room. :-)

    Today is a blue-sky day! And it's not terribly cold, either!! ;-)

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  40. Dear Shady,

    I know you look at the calligraphy and smile...It is a lovely poem and calligraphy takes talent. She must have gotten some of that from you!

    I really don't like to profit at another's loss....but hope that the business continues. I am a loyal customer and love supporting local nurseries. Big box stores make me cranky...gail
    Gail

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  41. Tina,

    That wind is cold you must not be out in it, but the sun is gorgeous. I am watching Coal sleeping in a warm spot....he is a smart cat!

    gail

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  42. Beckie,

    Oh I wish it wasn't so...but it is. In spite of my going all plant happy at the nursery...the Mr and i are tightening our belts.

    I am just sick about the unique businesses that are gone...bookstores, sweet little boutiques and now nurseries. Sigh!

    Gail

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  43. JGH,

    I am so sorry to hear that...there is that domino effect.
    I do hope things get better sooner.

    Gail

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  44. Cheryl,

    So smart to shop locally. Not too long ago I got an email from a friend urging us to shop at a sweet women's clothing store that a local woman owns. It is quite a luxury to shop there...I wish I had the life for their clothing!

    I am excited to see what comes of this too! I have a design that I wanted to scan to my desktop but the scanner decided to stop working this morning and then to post. I appreciate everyone encouragement and support.

    Gail

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  45. Cheryl,

    So smart to shop locally. Not too long ago I got an email from a friend urging us to shop at a sweet women's clothing store that a local woman owns. It is quite a luxury to shop there...I wish I had the life for their clothing!

    I am excited to see what comes of this too! I have a design that I wanted to scan to my desktop but the scanner decided to stop working this morning and then to post. I appreciate everyone encouragement and support.

    Gail

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  46. VW,

    I can see you in the corner with your toy or a book waiting patiently (!) for your mother! I can spend hours at a nursery and a bookstore! Are they fun!

    gail

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  47. It is sad that the nursery may close. Everyday there is more news of company layoffs. Usually the news reports the layoffs of the larger corporations or the numbers reflect those that are on unemployment, it doesn't reflect those who are self-employed or are small business owners.

    On a positive note I can't wait to see your new plants in the ground!

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  48. Robin,

    You're right Robin the effects on the self employed are often under reported in the news....and I am also looking forward to the garden's big changes...But even more then that I am ready for spring....I know you are, too!

    Gail

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  49. I don't even know what I would do without my favorite nursery. My bank account on the other hand would be thrilled!!!

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  50. It is a hard to watch some of our local businesses struggle in this economy. I'm glad you found some great plants for your garden Gail. That is a fun project!

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  51. What wonderful purchases, Gail, but I am sorry to hear about your local nursery. I hope they can stay afloat until things turn around...which I believe they will. Love the quote by e e cummings -- just makes you want to shout it out, doesn't it? ;)

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  52. Kim,

    The bank account would be richer but would we;-) (Seriously, I am all for living within a budget and saving!)
    Gail

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  53. Racquel...It really has been. I love the beginnings of projects, they are so energizing.

    Gail

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  54. Nancy,

    I do hope so, too...Is your economy having a rough time, too? I love
    ee cummings, his use of language, his sentence structure, the way the words leap off the page! Glad you do, too!

    gail

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  55. It really is a bittersweet kind of thing. Getting a deal is a good thing, I worry too about our local nurseries and how they are doing. I know that my plans are going to be scaled back this year for sure.

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  56. It is a rather sad time. Unfortunately 2009 started out with negatives all around. I'm sorry for all the businesses losing their livelihoods, and all the employees losing theirs as well. I don't know what it's going to take to get this economy turned around...
    Brenda

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  57. Gail,

    It is sad to see the impact on the small businesses as well as individuals losing jobs.

    We were in a resort town today and it was rather dismal. It should have been crowded because they have nice weather, but it was EMPTY.

    We have several friends, who had their own businesses for 30+ years, now in their 50's -- they have nothing. Not even jobs, and they spent their last savings trying to save their businesses.

    The world is hurting, but it will rebound again.

    Cameron

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  58. Gail, I'm sorry to hear of the possible closing of one of your favorite nurseries but in the same breath I'm glad for you that you got some bargains. Better all around to support the local merchants. You not only save money on plant material but on gas. I've recently learned that a bbs near me has stopped handling material. Strange, not only does it inconvenience patrons but cost the jobs of the people in that dept. I for one have tightened my belt quite a bit. I doubt there will be a lot of frills purchased here.

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  59. As everyone has said and you pointed out so graciously, it is sad to get a bargain these days at the cost of the nursery. We long time gardeners are going to have a hard time finding rare plants as they get eliminated from the sellers list. Our gardens will start to look the same unless others share. Are we back in the era of over the fence gardening? That wouldn't be so bad huh?

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  60. I'm glad to hear you got good bargains (the plants sound great), but it's very sad that such a good local source may very well go under. A lot of people are hurting in this economy...

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  61. The idea of "over the fence" gardening (like Anna suggested) appeals to me but I would be CRUSHED if my favorite nurseries went out of business. It feels like the ripple effect of our weak economy has gone from trickle down to full blown waterfall. egads. I wonder how it will shake out? Meanwhile, at least you are helping the economy a teeny bit by carrying on with your project. Great plants you brought home with you and very exciting project. You will keep us glued to our computers waiting for updates! I haven't even thought of hitting the greenhouses yet ~ I'm one of those wimps who waits for warmer days!!!

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  62. It's rough out there for lots of people these days, unfortunately. I do love the Little Henrys!! And, you commented on my blog asking if I was interested in seeds of your southern cousin to the wildflower I mentioned, which I'm assuming is wild petunia? I would love some seeds--there's plenty of time yet to winter sow them. I can email you my address, only I don't have your email. I'm gardenfaerie02(at)yahoo(dot)com. THANKS!!!!

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  63. P.S. I get almost all my plants "over the garden fence," or start them from seed, instead of buying them from nurseries, as nurseries are often too pricey for me, even in good economic times. The glaring exception is shrubs, which I've grown to love in the last several years, which I gladly buy from locally-owned nurseries, looking around for the best deals and/or varieties. :)

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  64. Good morning, Gail,
    Oh what fun to find the plants we know and love for our GOBN or for our expansions... or whatever the case may be. :-)

    This is not the time of year down here to find bargains. The local nurseries are alive with so much new plant material. It is really too early to be planting but people don't like seeing all the unsightly browning (we are just not used to it)so the nursuries are hopping with business, too. I made a nice sized purchase last week at my favorite local nursery... I happen to spend quite a bit of time there... more often than I should really... but what gardener doesn't? Anyway, I got to talking to the owner about the very thing you bring up in this post. He assured me they had a good year last year and are doing fine this year. I was happy to hear it. His philosophy is that folks are staying home more and willing to spend $$$ to fix up their own landscapes more. I don't know how scientific his theory is but I wished him the best as things get even tougher.

    I cannot wait to see how all your new plants fit right in to your wonderful space. Pretty soon it won't be fair to call it the GOBN... it's going to need a new name.
    Meems @ Hoe and Shovel

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  65. Just linked here from "The Home Garden" Hope you enjoyed the snow, but I'm ready for spring myself!-Lee

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  66. That Robin's a nice reminder spring is on its way.
    Sometimes it's the little things so often overlooked!

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  67. Hi Gail!
    My I link to you?
    Please let me know.
    Linda

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  68. Hi again, Gail! Oh, *real* plants--wow, that's very exciting! Of course I won't say no. Thanks for the offer. I'm happy to send you something in return, but I don't have a plant list for my garden. ;-) Do you have a wishlist?

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  69. Great plants, Gail. I love the Chrysanthemum - looks heavenly.
    Sad to hear about the nursery [sigh] I seriously pray their life brightens up soon.

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  70. I love the photos of the birds, what kind are they? I'm doing the Master Naturalist Program and I'm trying to learn birds...just one at a time.

    I think everyone is hurting in one way or another...strange that the prices seem to be going up at the nursries though. I thought they'd be down since gas is...

    Have a beautiful day, Cheryl

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  71. Gail,
    Sad to hear pf yet another business struggling, and the knock on effect.
    Good to hear you got some great plants.
    K

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  72. It's always sad to have a local nursery close their door.

    And it's an unforgiving business, between us consumers wanting 'cheap' plants, the big box 'garden center' plants produced in mass quantities, and quality plants seemingly too expensive.

    I really had no idea how much marketing (nd ease of production) drives commercial horticulture offerings until joining the staff of a horticulturally-inclined botanical garden and listening to seminars from visiting experts.

    But, gardening is something that we can do to restore the land that we have, with natives or ornamentals, sustainable vegetable and flower gardening, or whatever we do.

    A very nice post!

    Lisa

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  73. Yes, this is not a good time for our country's economy...and of the world, for the most part. I need to see if some of the nursery's I've loved are still opened; I haven't yet checked. We're not quite ready just yet here in northern Va, but I bet it's just around the corner. Perhaps that's a good reason to try to grow more plants from seed.

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  74. Dear Gail and Friends,

    Since we are in the process of getting ready to leave Hong Kong we will be doing our bit for the economy when we return. Our house in Austin needs landscaping, paint, carpeting...we need a car, so we'll be making at least one dealership happy. On the other hand, because of the uncertainty of things, we are going to make do with one car for the time being and use our son's car since he is currently overseas. I will be driving a college kid's clunker! But I don't care...

    I gave all of my plants on my balcony away today to a friend's helper. They have a rooftop garden and she was so excited! My balcony looks awfully bare right now though :(

    I know I will badly want to run out and buy plants for my deck in Austin right away but I will be hesitant to spend very much at first, since we don't know if we will stay there.

    Yes things are bad all over. Many restaurants and businesses are closing in Hong Kong as well. And I feel the same as you all - the bargains are incredible and at the same time I feel so bad for the shop owners that are losing their dreams.

    Hugs, Lynn

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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