Thursday, April 24, 2008

Local nurseries - Review

Bottom line: keep your receipts, write on them what you bought & do your own research because nobody cares as much about your garden as you do.

Why I prefer shopping at Lowes and Home Depot over Lukas Nursery?
My personal experience is that neither of these places has knowledgeable staff. For example, at Lukas I once bought a small Bay Tree which -they told me- was a host plant for swallowtail butterflies. The tree did not have a label. I researched it once I got home and found out that I had been sold a tulip poplar tree. Turns out these trees are monster trees and can reach 75 to 100 feet high very quickly; but even worse, these trees are highly prone to being hit by lighting. And living in the lighting capital of the world, I thought, this was a very poor tree choice. Luckily, I had not planted it and found out the truth before it was too late. The best part of it all is that when I returned the tree nobody apologized for the trouble and misinformation, instead they gave me a hard time for bringing something back.
Another thing about Lukas is that they would never give you a full refund (except in situations like the Poplar tree), at the most you'll get 50%, but only after extensive questioning about your abilities as a gardener.
Lastly, Lukas' receipts don't actually show what you purchased. This makes it incredibly cumbersome to figure out what's what. I used to be a loyal customer of theirs, but I did have to return three plants once and had to bring 25 receipts! They were not happy, and neither was I.
It simply is not worth it.

Lowes & Home Depot, on the other side, have a one year return or exchange policy. This means that as long as you keep your receipts in order your investment will be safe. They do not give you a hard time when returning anything and don't question your gardening abilities either.
Their staff, I found, is not knowledgeable either (I have spoken with "experts" that looked puzzled when I asked them if a plant was an annual or a perennial)...but I have found more helpful people in these two stores than at Lukas.

At Lowes & Home Depot, I have found plants for as much as half the price as you can buy the same item at Lukas. Generally speaking, Lowes & HD's herbs are usually fuller, healthier and cheaper (by at least 30 to 40%) than at Lukas.

Wherever you shop, it is a good idea to always write down in the receipt what exactly you purchased while it is still fresh in your mind, this is likely to save you time and frustration.

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