Thursday, June 7th, 2007...10:59 am

Tip: A Great Nursery to Buy Perennial Plants and Herbs

TheGardenLady has been answering questions for months. The strange thing is that TheGardenLady has never received any comments. For example, a comment may have been: “HELP! I find your column interesting reading because you recommend great plants that I would like to grow, but I can’t find them in the stores near me or they are too expensive. What should I do? ”

Well, TheGardenLady would like to address her own “comment” by telling her readers where to buy perennial plants and to pay cheap prices for these plants. The nursery is called Russell Gardens Wholesale Perennials and Herbs at P.O. Box 702 Richboro, PA 18954 – Phone # is 215 322 4799 and Fax # is 215 322 9884 The nursery is located at 600 New Road in Churchville, PA 18966. They are open Mon-Fri from 8am to noon and reopen from 1pm to 5pm. Saturday they are open 8am to noon. Closed Sundays and holidays.

Every good gardener I know uses Russell’s, both private gardens and public gardens. From what I have heard from friends, the Smithsonian, Longwood Gardens etc. buy plants at Russell Gardens. The day I was there the Penna. Hort. Society was there buying plants. Though it is a wholesale nursery, if you or the Garden Lady purchase plants, we pay the same wholesale price but we have to pay taxes on them. Order their catalogue. It does not have photos but it has lists of plants and at the top of one page it says ALL PLANTS 2 Quart pots $2.49 Unless otherwise Indicated. Can you believe this price? Even with the added taxes it costs less than any other store that I know. But wait, they also sell herbs and the herb price starts at 99cents plus tax. In their perennial catalogue plants are listed from Acaena ( Sweet bur) at $2.49 to Yucca which costs $7.

I recommend going to Russell Gardens to shop. The have a retail store next to the Wholesale Gardens that the Garden Lady has never visited. GO TO THE WHOLESALE garden to park and purchase and then you can check out the retail store if you want; but you probably won’t have time. They have numerous greenhouses where herbs and lots of geraniums are. They have numerous Quonset – like buildings covered in netting and numerous open rows in semi raised beds- there are about 80 long rows. Also, along one edge of the property is a show garden of hostas as well as some other shade plants. The hostas are “to die for.” I was told that the NJ Hosta Assoc. has events at Russell’s and therefore Russells made this showcase for their, (and our) benefit.

After you park your car, you go into the trailer office where you are given a list of all the perennial plants and a second list of all the herbs and a third list telling where all the plants are located: for example, I wanted a plant and it was in row 68. You go back out with your lists and get a wagon and start going up and down each row or just looking for where it says your plant is. I prefer the first-going up and down the rows- because I always finds something I hadn’t thought of. Each plant tag gives simple directions of whether to plant in sun or shade.

When you have bought as many plants as your car can hold -it is hard to resist- you check off, on your purchase list, the plants you have chosen to buy. It is the honor system. Take your list indoors. Put the location list back and give the person at the desk your purchase list and it will be tallied up. I bought 13 plants for under $40. Some of my plants were more expensive plants; like the rhubarb plant I bought that was $4.

If you cannot get to the Gardens, you can have your plants shipped. Of course there is a shipping fee. And they do have a minimum, check with them. I think you have to purchase at least 6 of one kind of plant but I don’t know how many kinds you have to get. Share plants with friends and family- 6 at Russell’s might be cheaper than 1 plant purchased elsewhere. And most experts advise planting at least 3 of one kind of plant.

And please, let TheGardenLady get some comments (feedback) from her readers.

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4 Comments

  • Thank you for the kind words. I wish more people would realize the savings!

  • Russell’s is, by far, the best place for high quality perennials and herbs anywhere in the tri-state area. (And their scented pelargonium selection is VAST)…Call to get their catalog first, spend a lot of time with it. Plants are listed alphabetically, but there is a section in the front that lists the plants by culture and sun requirements, whether they are edible, etc.) I like to go knowing what I want and getting a list of locations for the needed plants at the office. It takes a great deal of time to wander row-by-row!
    The plants are so healthy that they last beyond their “normal” life cycle…and I have over-wintered about a dozen herb selections with great results. A $4 rosemary (“expensive” because it was larger than the regular size) I purchased three years ago is now a genuine shrub…gorgeous and GREAT to have for seasoning foods even in December. I rarely spend more than $100 and fill the entire van with amazing plants every year. They even carry new introductions, like the Meadowbrite series of echanacea, which were introduced just a few years ago.

  • Sitting in church this morning, trying in vain to think of the name of a wonderful nursery and the family that owns it. We haven’t been there in a long time, but I now know where I will be going very soon. Hopefully they still have beautiful Christmas plants. Thank you Garden Lady!!

  • Thanks, Garden Lady. I want to flood my bathtub sized South Philly back yard with lavender this summer and couldn’t afford the cost for the number of plants I’ll need. Russell it is, then!

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