I have nothing against the gardening sections of big-box discount stores. Useful things can be found there and often at a decent price. My intention is to encourage you to patronize your local nurseries, garden shops and farmers' markets for plants, advice or fresh produce.
Your local nursery or garden shop will most likely be staffed by plant lovers who will not only know about the flora they sell, but can advise you on the best conditions for the plants you choose.
I’ve recently come across a great shop called Diggin’ It in McKinney, Texas, which is not far from where I live. Owner Tracey Collins had a childhood dream of owning a garden shop in an old gas station. Her shop is in a former Greyhound Bus Depot, so she’s not far off the mark.
With a bachelor's degree in horticulture from Oklahoma State University, Tracey came to Texas in the mid 80s and spent time as an antiques mall vendor before opening Diggin’ It in July of last year.
Her quirky sense of style is evident throughout her shop where she deftly mixes one-of-a-kind house and garden goods with fabulous plants, pots and herbs.
Classes are available on topics ranging from planting herbs to garden crafts. You won’t find that at the big-box stores. Check out Tracey's blog for more information about the store!
Another must-go for me is our local farmers' market. Ask around at a local garden shop, your county extension agent’s office, or a gardening friend for the locations and times of one near you.
I found ours shortly after we moved up here. We were driving around, getting our bearings when I saw a sign for a Saturday Farmers' Market in McKinney. Ours is open 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturdays from spring until fall. We checked it out and fell in love. It’s a treasure trove of delicious vegetables, fresh herbs, plants and beautiful flowers.
Photos by Jessy Rushing
It’s fun to wander through booths selling local honey, tomatoes, potatoes, garlic, onions, herbs, ornamentals and sometimes a few crafts.
I always experience a bond with the earth and fellow gardeners when I visit our farmers’ market or a local garden shop. These people are growing things I can grow, too. Big-box stores have their merits, but they’ll never replace the earthy connection when you shop green and shop local.
Jessy Rushing is a Texas gardener who fell in love with herbs after tripping into a rosemary shurb on day. The scent on her clothes cheered her up all afternoon. Her curiosity was aroused and since then her herb gardening has been part investigation, part experiementation and most importantly, part delight.