Please add your feedback for the businesses you've patronized and the public gardens and parks you have visited. It helps other gardeners and the business or organization.
For smaller businesses and organizations, this type of "word of mouth" is their only form of advertising. And for businesses of any size, unsolicited testimonials are priceless - they can't buy that type of good will.
You can narrow this down to a particular category (garden center/nursery, or public gardens, etc.) You can also plug in your ZIP and specify a radius (especially helpful if you live near the state line and want to see everything in your immediate area.)
If your favorite nursery or park/garden isn't listed yet, let us know and we'll add it, or start the entry and add what you know (we'll fill in the blanks.)
The list of destinations has grown since I added this note (there are now about 70 nurseries, etc. in NC, and 50+ in SC), but we're still sorely lacking in the reviews - which is where we need all of your help. Please check the links above, or click on the Go Gardening tab and plug in your ZIP code to do a quick scan of what we've got listed near you.
I think you'll each know at a glance if we've missed some really good must-see places near you, and also spot the best nurseries that deserve a personal recommendation ;o)
Dave, Here's one for the coast - Nature's Harmony - in Manns Harbor, NC right off the Outer Banks. I don't know a lot of details other than they are just down the road from me and Manns Harbor is a small community. They do have a good local following and I have been happy with the plants I have gotten from them. Their greenhouses are pretty large for this small an area. But you have to get specific instructions to find them because they are off the main highway (64 coming east) Just before you get to the new bridge to Roanoke Island, you turn right at the caution light and go to the end of the road; about 2 miles down maybe and you'll see them on the right.
I don't know about hyperlinks, megabytes, and all that stuff, but here's my experience in the Charleston SC area:
Nurseries: Hyam's (James Island), Abide Awhile (Mt Pleasant), Possum's (also Mt Yuppy), Brownswood Road Nursery (Johns Island) have all proven to be reliable, knowledgeable, and helpful for the past 20 years. Brownswood Road has acres of shrubs and trees of all sizes, the others have more perrennials/annuals. My favorite for a long time was Cross Seed (West Ashley), but they seem to be sliding down the slippery slope...
For vegetable plants, I've found Pete's Herbs (Johns Island) a tomato wonderland---I no longer grow mine from seed---I let him grow them for me, and more varieties of peppers than I knew existed. Also Cordrays Feed store (Johns Island), and Royal Ace Hardware (Mt Pleasant)---Yup! you read that right! A hardware store with a little space set off to the side to sell annuals, perennials, and veggies. They were the only place I could find one year with Brussell Sprouts, and they had a fine selection of Bibb Lettuce. Ya just have to keep lookin'
"Gardens Galore " This is a link to our local newspaper and I think it will interest anyone who may be visiting any of these areas. I live within a few miles of Brookgreen Gardens and I highly recommend this one if you come to the Murrells Inlet / Myrtle Beach area.
Help! Boston gardener making possible move to South Carolina-I've done heat before (Texas)-but am unsure how my gardening obsession is going to survive...any encouraging words for me?? I am seriously distressed at leaving my garden--it just now looks great! How is that for Murphy's law??
Sorry, for the delay--the move is ON, and I'm absolutely brain-fried at this point! But, yeah, I guess it really does make a difference. I'll be in the Columbia area. This garden was really a tough one--all granite outcropping, and packed sand and granite dust, no sun. Took forever, but I finally found things that work. It wouldn't take much to be an improvement-- we even have a lot of the heat--not to mention the cold of course. It was warm last winter, and I've never lost so many plants!
Murphysmom: Well, you won't have to worry about losing alot of plants to the cold! Winters are pretty mild. Anything that needs a good long winter chill to flourish...won't.
Along with heat, there is high humidity (all over the state, including Columbia). First frost comes late - probably in November. Hopefully someone who lives in Col'a will chime in. I also think clay could replace granite possibly as your next gardenign challege. :)
Having now lived in three places around Columbia, it's quite a diverse place depending on where you are. For example.
In Irmo the soils are mostly clay once you get past the top soil. Irmo is also usually just a few degrees colder than Columbia. Unfortunately parts of Irmo (I suspect due to Lake Murray micro climate) don't get a lot of rain. There's an old saying about Moccasin's Branch (just outside of Old Friarsgate) where the rain always stops.
Now in Lexington, or at least the part I live in between Lexington and Gilbert, north of I-20 and Red Bank it's almost ALWAYS colder than Columbia by 3-8 degrees. And come cold weather that can be enough to let the forecasts based in Columbia mess your plans up. The soil here is also almost completely sand. Luckily the neighborhood I live in was once covered with trees and the organic matter has built up a bit. But if you dig down, it's all sand. Overall we get good rain here, but the wind also seems WAY worse than anywhere I've lived around Columbia before.
Now in Columbia it's the hottest by far. I lived on the edge of town for two years and my plants often got burned; and considering I only grow tropicals, that sorta surprised me. It seemed to be also somewhat dry downtown a lot. If my folks were getting rain in Irmo, it usually was still dry in Columbia.
All I can figure as to what the weather seems to diversify so much is the Lake itself. I didn't think a water body that small could affect climate, but I studied Climatology in college and asked often about that - and always was told that even the smallest bodies of water CAN affect areas with micro-climates. I guess the lake must be large enough to change the weather in and around the Columbia area.
The soils of course have a much longer history. I didn't think I'd like the sand in L-Town, but I do. Just to get away from the Clay was nice.
I keep forgetting to let you know about this one. I was out there yesterday and it's amazing what all they have! Please add Hughes Nursery (Bobby and Donna Hughes) at 2520 Little River Rd, Ash, NC. 910-287-3810. It's just south of Wilmington, NC and north of Myrtle Beach, SC just a few miles off Hwy 17. Good prices, good selection and very healthy plants.
One of the really neat aspects about Dave's Garden...time doesn't matter! Somehow I wound up reading words I wrote 3 years ago about various sources for plant material in the Charleston, S.C. area. Still sticking with those observations. Cross Seed is no more. So Hyam's alone remains the sole source west of the Ashley, but they seem to be pandering more to the "common garden varieties" people than they do to real plant nuts. Understandable...that's where their money is. On Volume. Mistake, IMHO. Because we "Plant Freaks" have learned to use the www. And maybe that's how the market naturally evolves...But I'd MUCH prefer buying locally...given the chance/choice...
Thank goodness for your neighboring wholesale place that opens their doors to special groups occasionally. I hope her greenhouses are chock full this year because I have a lot of bare real estate that needs to be filled.
I do miss the old Cross, before the ill fated buy out.
FYI Petes herbs on johns island now sea island herbs. Was there 3/16- lots of babies but not much ready yet. They had a good variety ( they showed me the greenhouses) but have no idea on prices. Nice camelias!
I just added Back Acre Farm in York, SC. I found David Reed just a few days after spending a LOT of money at my local nursery, which is staffed with some awesome folks and of which I'm still very fond. However, I discovered that I could have saved literally HUNDREDS of dollars on our landscaping plants by finding him a little earlier. He grows everything himself, and in the rare occasion that he doesn't have some obscure thing on hand, he can find it at a fraction of what you'd buy at another nursery. His plants are top-quality; he is a really decent, helpful guy; and he runs deals that make me astonished he stays in business. I've come to consider him my exclusive source for plants--perennials, annuals, vegetables, trees, everything.
This is the kind of guy you want to support with your business. :)
I'll also add Sugar Creek Garden Center in Fort Mill, SC... just on the NC/SC line on Highway 160. I found them this spring when I made my first steps into gardening, and it's partly because of them I had such a positive experience with it.
Sugar Creek is a lovely facility and staffed by some of the most awesome people you'll meet. In addition to being genuinely friendly, they are phenomenal sources of knowledge and delighted to help out someone brand-new to gardening.
However... after singing their praises to anyone who would listen, I was so disappointed to realize I'd been gouged price-wise for the large amount of plant material, mulch, and stone I'd bought from them to re-landscape the front and sides of our new construction house. I stopped adding it up in my head once I got to multiple hundreds of dollars. OUCH.
This is a top-notch place and I am happy to pay a bit extra to support local small business and get this kind of awesome staff assistance. That said, realizing I paid $49.99 each for two particular plants when three days later I found them for $8 (same size, same quality, etc.) and the next highest price was $25 at another nursery... I just can't rely on them for plants. I'm still very loyal to them and try to purchase accessories such as planters and such when it's comparably priced, and I can happily recommend them for terrific landscape design assistance and a great nursery experience.
Pinecone Perennials in New Bern. Quality and unusual perennials, a decent supply of herbs. Not many trees and shrubs, but they are nice. Pond plants (and they have a lovely water feature there), and lovely (although pricey) pots. Williams is very good and I see you already have it listed. http://pinecone-perennials.blogspot.com/
I have also heard that Nance-Jordan Nurseries in Aurora, NC is very good. I have more than one neighbor who swears by it, but it is not usually open during the months that I am here (I think spring is their best time). Their plants are reputed to be locally grown and well priced because they are not large. I will be home this spring, and it's on my bucket list. I understand it's difficult to find the first time you go.
Nance Jordan Nurseries, Inc.
739 Walls Mill Rd, Aurora, NC 27806
Cross Streets: Between Mary's Chapel Church Rd and Walker Rd