I must start again with a confession. You know how people refer to themselves as “fan-boys?” This term is usually used for love and loyalty for one product or brand such as Apple electronics or Patagonia gear. My confession is that I am a fan-boy of a particular nursery. I, along with the rest of our staff, are in love with this nursery’s selection of plants and how dog-gone well they are grown. Which nursery am I just gaga about? Landcraft Environments. This small nursery on Long Island sells some of the best and little known annuals on the planet. The best part (to me)? They are wholesale only to the trade. What this means is that if you are a landscape designer or contractor, you can buy their plants. If you are a homeowner or passionate plant person, you’ll have to buy from a garden center they supply plants to along the east coast.
We filled a big, yellow box truck full of plants and had them shipped to Maine a few weeks ago. As we were unloading the truck, I was literally jumping for joy. Each cart brought a bevy of horticultural goodness. Variegated Abutilon standards, big blocks of New Zealand flax, and flowering kangaroo paws were just a few of the many plants we bought in from Landcraft. I kept wondering to myself, how do they do this? Co-owners Dennis Schrader and Bill Smith have built quite a business of growing plants for the northeast and New England that we would normally have to get from California or Florida. Bromeliads – check. Lantana standards – got ’em. Variegated tapioca – yup. Some people dream of a new home or new car, I dream of renting a tractor trailer and filling it full of Landcraft’s plants to fill our garden. Plus, their office manager, Corey has been fantastic with our infinite number of plant additions and order changes.
The couple who drove our plants up from Long Island were awesome. They left the nursery at 1:30 am in order to get to Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens before lunch. The gentleman worked at the nursery and his partner tagged along because he promised her a lobster dinner. We pointed them to our “secret” spot for the best lobster rolls in Maine. That was the least we could do for all of the beautiful plants they drove up for us.
This week, it finally warmed up in Maine and we started removing our tulips to make way for Landcraft’s plants. Some of these plants probably have never been used in Maine before, I am guessing. A mass bedding of Astelia chathmanica might not be what a lot of our guests were expecting but they will see it. My hope is that by planting annuals from southern Chile, Australia, and New Zealand, these plants can thrive in our cooler summers with long day length. We never really get hot (85 is a really warm day for us) but the sun comes up around 4:30 am and sets close to 10 pm. Those long days will ensure lots of lush, beautiful growth. At least that is my hope. I look forward to the end of August to see how this planting experiment worked. Stay tuned.
In the meantime, Landcraft has an open day to their garden on July 12. If you are on Long Island that time of year, be sure to check out their gardens as the truck driver said that they are fantastic. Maybe a group of us can find time to dart down there next year to visit the gardens and nursery. Have you ever been to Landcraft or bought any of their plants? What do you think about their nursery?
Images: Grounded Design, Black Olive East Nursery