interesting development in hort. retail sales
Not a plug as I have nothing to do w/them, but an interesting development in horticulture: Monrovia will be selling direct to consumers next spring. You can see this on their website. They will ship the plant to your nearest Monrovia nursery; presumably piggybacking onto that nursery's regular truckload or LTL order.
Frankly I think it's about time that wholesalers reach out more directly to their customers/"end users". Sorry, nursery industry professionals, the whole way the industry works is terribly antiquated. I can understand a nursery that only supplies big box stores with generic junk like red maples and gerberas wanting to be wholesale only. But if a wholesaler _wants_ to wholesale rare or special items, why not reach out directly to the consumers? I can go buy the latest microchips from mouser or digikey, right alongside customers like HP or JPL or whoever, who are buying a million of them. They don't care. No minimum order. Granted, we don't robotically harvest or pick nursery plants yet, but that day is probably coming. I guess once upon a time, Joe Public wandered into an upscale nursery during his/her weekend so-called free time and said "hey, show me some plants to buy"...allowing Joe or Jane Public to be directed to a 18" Trochodendron for $120. (a sarcastic reference to my recent trip to an upscale DC area nursery) Well, those genteel days are gone folks. The Public family is too busy on their smartphones for leisurely trips to upscale nurseries. If Joe or Jane Public wants a rare plant, it's probably going to be because they see a friend's post on facebook about it, and they are going to want to browse somewhere and buy it immediately. Since local nurseries can't possibly hope to offer a service like that, the wholesaler is the only way to fill that gap. Besides, many nurseries probably don't want to bother staffing with people who really know plants. When Styers was taken over by Urban Outfitters, the prior staff who seemed to really have an enthusiasm for horticulture was quickly replaced with the typical mix of "cheerful teenagers with a summer job" you see at most nurseries. Or maybe not the only way, but the best way. If they allow their nursery customers to order onesies anyhow, why not just let the public buy one too, without trying to find someone at a nursery for a special order. Been there, done that, it's a hassle. (And also, point being, someone like Briggs who makes you order 25 of a single variety of rhodie at a time would find this less appealing, but I think they are the exception among upscale wholesalers. For anything other than liners, most let landscapers, for example, buy plants one at a time. Again it's about not being antiquated: with modern inventory control, it makes less sense for specimen plants to be sold in quantities > 1. Buying plants at a truly organized place like Colesville nursery - which mostly functions as a wholesaler - is 10X more efficient than the typical semi-rural upscale nursery where stuff is scattered around willy-nilly and only the owner knows how the find the rarest stuff you're looking for.)