Box stores or Indies, Sunset Magazine gives you the answer.

Sunset Magazine, "The Magazine of Western Living" has a small article they run regularly called, "The Crib Sheet". This months crib sheet was, "Big-box stores vs. indie nurseries-what to buy where." They list the box stores on the left and indies on the right. The first thing we learn is box stores are best for, "great deals in mass quantities". Indies are best for, "unparalleled selection and advice".  Then the list goes on to say that box stores are best for, 1."Annuals"

2. "Cactus and succulents"

3. "Herbs (the basics, rosemary, sage and thyme)"

4. "Houseplants"

5. "Shrubs in bulk (any landscape plants you need in quantity such as manzanitas for groundcovers, or hedges.)"

Indies are best for,

1. "California Friendly Plants" and then lists  Rogers Gardens in Del Mar.

2. "Specialty Desert Plants" and lists Berridge Nursery in Phoenix.

3. "Specialty Palms" and lists Flora Grubb Gardens in San Francisco.

So according to Sunset you can go to independents and buy California friendly plants, desert plants, and specialty palms. Go to the box stores for everything else! Why do they come up with this? While these nurseries listed are fine nurseries why are they even listed? I like Flora Grubb Gardens in S.F. but it seems like when ever Bay Area magazines want to talk about independents they always pick Flora Grubb? Most of the plants they sell wouldn't grow outside the Bay Area, which is mostly frost free.

So if your just a regular gardener with regular needs go to the box stores. If your into California friendly plants, desert plants, or specialty palms, go to an independent.  Do people really need a "crib sheet" to help decide where to shop for gardening supplies? Why not offer a crib sheet comparing returant chains like Mc Donalds to independent restaurants? After reading this who wouldn't head straight for the box store?  And why do these nurseries get mentioned? I have to go to Rogers Gardens in Del Mar, which is one of the most expensive nurseries on the west coast, to get "California friendly plants?"

Is this how the main stream media sees independent nurseries? Especially Sunset which has been friendly to independents before. Maybe this was just a poor thought out article and will be the exception rather than the rule. Or maybe we in the independent garden center business have our work cut out for us.