PlantTherapy: Heuchera from Quackin' Grass

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The concrete planters posting from the other week mentioned a nursery called Quackin' Grass. I wanted to revisit them this week. They were the source of my newest garden addition, a heuchera variety called 'Marmalade'.

Maxwell is right - garden resources in NYC are tough to come by. Because of this I always take advantage of heading out to the country. I keep my eye open for anything new and interesting.

Quackin' Grass is not an accessible resource like the GreenMarket or White Flower Farm. It's about 3.5 hours from NYC, they do not do web or mail order, and their website has not a whisper of anything like 'customer service department' - only the owner's name and phone number.

What is great about this nursery, though, is that Wayne (the owner) wants to make sure you buy a lasting choice for your garden space.

While many nurseries have tried expanding and hiring larger staff to sell either online or through the mail, it has often cost the customer in quality of plants or getting personalized service. It also gives the impression that gardening can be as easy and soon forgotten as ordering a new dishpan.

NOT doing web and mail orders has allowed Wayne to focus on giving his customers the best possible help and personal attention. After the brisk pace of most downtown plant vendors, it is a world of difference to be given a thorough tour and careful, slow advice on plants to suit one's own garden space.

By the way, Wayne's only other employee is his mother - also an expert green thumb- they take care of everything themselves! They have their own gardens along the perimeter of the property, where they grow examples of many items they sell. I snapped a few photos, but still not enough to tell the whole story. Even though Wayne and his nursery are not so accessible to NYC, his philosophy of providing healthy and appropriate plants, along with advice, is something to look for when buying in our own city.

I chose the heuchera, on his advice, which is a ground cover and has beautiful color. It is very strong and easy to care for, can survive in shade and sun and will easily come back every year. Thanks Wayne!

- Matt N.

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Maxwell left teaching in 2001 to start Apartment Therapy as a design business helping people to make their homes more beautiful, organized AND healthy. The website started up in 2004 with the help of his brother, Oliver.