But that’s starting to change, as many gardeners are educating themselves about where their plant purchases originate and are buying locally grown plants as much as possible. Here are five key reasons why:
1. Plants grown here are accustomed to native soils and conditions. They are generally superior in the adaption to the local New England weather patterns of a usual rainy spring followed by a mid-summer drought period.
2. By purchasing locally grown plants you are supporting local farmers and nurseries, who struggle to compete with national chains and large corporations which flood the market by overproducing and undercutting prices. Their growing fields will stay in business and stay green. Helping all of us breathe cleaner air and keeping the land out of sprawl developers hands.
3. Plants that are grown locally save on fuel and transportation costs. They are not shipped from overseas or across the country. Why buy dogwoods or roses grown in Oregon and trucked out here, when you can get the same exact variety grown in the New England region by local nurseries and wholesalers?
4. Local plants are "fresher." In general, locally grown plants come to the marketplace right when they are about to hit their peak bloom. Local growers can time their offerings better and adjust their inventory to the marketplace swifter than those who need to transport their plant products over a long distance. You are also not risking introducing foreign bug and disease problems to your garden.
5. Growers in our area are a great source of local plant knowledge. Also a majority of growers are committed to understanding and expanding the best agricultural practices to benefit and sustain our environment. You can visit a local tree nurseryman and pick out a tree right from his farm after consulting with him on the best one for your needs. Local planting fields are great day trips to see what is thriving and what new varieties are doing well in our climate.
Next time you are shopping for plants, look for “locally grown” on the label or a location listing of where they were raised. If not on the label, ask.
Taken and adapted from an article by Kathy Jentz in Washington Gardener Magazine.