Readers will remember last year's fun road trip and on April 21st of this year, we were all excited to embark on this year's journey. This annual road trip has been a tradition for about 6 years and the gardeners from the Mid-South forum start looking forward to this outing during the dreary days of winter. Plans and discussions keep everyone sane until we can actually get our hands dirty as spring arrives.

We started our day at Randolph's Greenhouses in Jackson, TN. Rita Randolph is an award-winning container gardening artist and her beautiful creations have been featured in all of the major home and gardening magazines. She met us that morning and graciously offered advice and suggestions on container plants and combinations. It was unseasonably cold and we shivered between the warmth of the various buildings. Some of us even made an emergency trip to the Dollar Store for some sweatshirts! We loaded our wagons with many varieties of plants, while snapping pictures of Rita's many lovely container groupings. Later that morning, we moved on to Dutch Gardens and Morris Nursery to continue the hunt for new and unusual cultivars.


The morning was chilly, but that didn't cool our spirits at all. Randolph's was well stocked for our visit and the lovely displays were 'eye candy' to winter-weary gardeners like ourselves.


We wandered between half a dozen greenhouses, each set up for specific plants and conditions. This was the 'plug house'. We each picked up a bag at the door and simply removed the plugs from the trays. It saves on labor to pot up the plants and eliminates the need for those pesky plastic containers. Randolph's passes on the savings by giving customers who purchase plugs a lower price.


We spent quite awhile drooling over the new varieties and unusual offerings, along with the tried and true standbys. When one of us added something new to their cart and we'd all have to go check it out, and more often than not, the phrase "where did you get that?" was heard.


Here's a few containers that were unusual and attractive. The inverted pyramid coir planters really gave the display a tropical feel.


The selection of containers were inspiring and the clever use of color gave me many ideas for my own home.

pickup truck

No one can say Dave's Gardeners were shy about plant shopping! We all had our vehicles loaded to the top.


I really liked this combibnation with the canna 'Pretoria' as the centerpiece. I purchased some similar plants to fill the container on my front walk and am extremely pleased with the results.

checking out

Here are our carts lined up like planes on a runway, waiting to check out. That is my cart in the bottom half of the image. The one in front of mine belongs to Terry, our other DG admin. Dave's Garden is definitely for and by real gardeners!

shopping cart

We quickly moved across town to Dutch Gardens. Everyone grabbed a shopping cart and started loading them with plants.

dutch gardens

Note the jackets and hoodies. Most of us agreed that it seemed colder by the time we reached Dutch Gardens. That didn't stop us from braving the chill and loading down with more plants.

dutch gardens

The huge selection was impressive and we enjoyed browsing the various tables, although it was much warmer in the conservatory!

casey jones

All of that plant shopping worked up our appetites and Casey Jones' is our traditional stop for lunch. We feasted, swapped stories and visited. There were some new faces in the group that we enjoyed getting to know and caught up with old friends. Four states were represented at this mini-roundup and we can't wait to do it all again next year! If you live within driving distance, we'd love to see you then!