Thursday, June 5, 2008

Most Beautiful Garden Center in America

In the most unexpected place, lies America's best kept secret. The beauty begins at the highway curb and must create traffic jams. On the side of the long driveway gorgeous beds distract you from moving along. Over the years I have been to countless garden centers, wholesale nurseries and greenhouses. Some of my past haunts have had some impressive displays ....

none of them holds a candle to this place! The riveting waves of color and texture frolicking down the side of the drive makes it impossible to just drive on by. I suspect the white posts are there to stop gawkers from accidentally steering off into the flowers.

They are a bit distracting and they could paint them green, but if it stops vehicles from drifting off into the petunias we shall just have to ignore the intermittent disruption. The play of shrub against perennial and wild wafting of annual color is breath taking. This is all very unexpected to the newbie in town, an oasis one must leave the highway to acknowledge. Tucked away in an old and historical mill town in South Carolina where wealth and affluence is not found dripping onto the sidewalks ....

This is probably only two thirds of the drive way gardens, and as you pull past the fence and berm the entire parking lot is a wonderland as well. All of this before you even get into the garden center. I wanted to photograph all of it, but a storm came in cutting short my glee of capturing the scenery.

It isn't just the plants - the place is as manicured as any mansion's grounds in its hey day and so clean you could eat off the pavements. The plants displayed inside and out are without one small hint of distress or thirst. Stepping into the main annual bedding plant building it is the most beautiful sight on earth! Nonstop color from the floor to the rafters popping from some of the most vigorous plants you have ever seen. I don't know how I actually drug myself away and back onto the highway. Most likely it was adult guilt of needing to accomplish X amount of errands before the work day ended.

Yes, I was working when I stumbled upon this gem. The quest for the right plants for my client's gardens takes me far and wide; this most maddening quest faces me almost every day Monday through Friday. I constantly lament over the shortsightedness of the greenhouses and nurseries that bring it all to market.

As I was checking out with my new found hoard of color, I commented to the gal at the register,
"This has got to be the most beautiful garden center ever, and I have seen a lot of them
over the years."
To which she replied,
"Yes! This has got to be America's best kept secret. When I first came here to apply for
a job I was blown away at just how beautiful this place is hidden away down here in this
little ole town."

Have you been to Home Depot or Lowe's garden center and seen racks of plants with metal tags on the ends that have word STACY'S cut into it? Welcome to the retail side of Stacy's Greenhouse. It is rather sad that so many of you live too far away from York to take in the sight and enjoy the thrill of visiting America's best kept gardening secret.

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