Box stores and independents, two different worlds

I had a lady stop in yesterday to buy a pot and some soil for a plant she picked up at the Lowe's in Folsom. She found a standard (shaped into a tree form) Scotch Broom in the garbage hopper behind the store. The only reason it was in the hopper was it had gone out of bloom. The plant was in fine condition and she planed on putting it in a pot until she could figure out where to plant it. It's a evergreen shrub, not a annual. She mentioned that they wouldn't let her just have it. They charged her $5, even though they we're throwing it out. This is wrong on so many levels.

Why was Lowe's throwing this healthy out of bloom plant out? Most likely they received credit from the wholesale grower who didn't want to pick it up.  Pay at scan means the box stores don't pay for unsold merchandise. They simply don't pay the wholesale nursery for it and the wholesale nursery pick's it up or they just dump it.

Why did they charge this lady $5 for a plant that was headed for the landfill?

Why is Lowe's selling what my county El Dorado considers a noxious weed? Sacramento county does not consider it a noxious weed. Noxious pest in one county, but not the other?

My local Home Depot in Placerville has it's shelves filled with summer color and vegetables. Interesting thing is we are expecting snow today. These plants are not in a greenhouse, but on those Bonnie Plants supplied kiosks. When they die from the cold, Bonnie will pick them up and bring in more. Unsuspecting customers will assume that the nursery people at the Home Depot wouldn't be selling these plants unless it's time to plant them. If they die just bring them back in for credit. No responsibility by the box store for selling plants too early. No responsibility by the wholesale supplier for churning this stuff out and not holding the box stores responsible. And lastly no responsibility by the consumer who will just bring the plant back to the box stores for a replacement. No responsibility by anyone in the chain of events.

It has become clear that the only way for smaller independent nurseries to survive is to do the exact opposite of the box stores.

Sell plants that are appropriate for the seasons, despite what the local box store does. Yes, we have tomatoes, but they are inside and protected from the cold. You see, we have to grow and buy the plants we sell. We can't just stick them outside and return them to our vendors when they die.

Don't sell invasive pests, whether our county say's it's o.k or not.

Give people the right information to help make them better gardeners. Not just move SKU's that can be tossed in the garbage when done.

Don't buy from vendors that supply the box stores. They are as responsible as the box stores for the careless attitude that allows healthy plants to be junked.

Box stores, the vendors that supply them, and customers that shop there are not going anywhere. No sense in getting upset. We just try to find plants, vendors, and customers who do things differently.  We want to partner with organizations that care about what, and who they sell to. We want customers that accept some of the responsibility for their actions. No, I should not have to replace that plant that the deer ate or the cold killed.We told you they we're deer resistant, not deer proof. We don't plant out tomatoes until May, and at least we told you when you bought it.

The future of garden retail will be the tale of two different way's of doing business. The box stores and their suppliers, and on the other side the independent nursery and their suppliers.  One represents big business, throw away culture, and little or no corporate or personal responsibility. The other side represents small business, re-use and recycle, as well as personal and corporate responsibility.

It's your choice.