Shrubberies, Chelsea Garden Center
Last Saturday I visited the Chelsea Garden Center in Red Hook.
It was part of our day of car errands. While the roof was getting replaced, the driveway was in use as a warehouse and shop; the car stayed in the garage for three weeks. That may have contributed to our car problems later in the day.
I'd built up a shopping list of outdoor tools and supplies to acquire. We visited Lowes first. They did not have plain cedar mulch, only the "decorator" varieties. They also didn't have any large bags of Holly-Tone. I passed on the smaller bags, thinking I could get a large bag at Chelsea. I regretted this decision later; Chelsea only had the smaller bags as well, and their prices are much higher than Lowes.
Chelsea's strength is in woody plants. They had a wide variety of choice shrubs, trees and vines. All were in excellent condition. They were also artfully displayed, as you can soon from the photos.
I didn't buy any woodies. I bought some unusual shade perennials: an unidentified Ligularia, a beautiful silvery Pulmonaria, and a bright white-variegated Liriope. These will go along the shady path on the north side of the house.
I also picked up some annuals. My preference is to go to one of the larger Greenmarkets for annuals. But I wanted to plant our window boxes before the Victorian Flatbush House Tour the next day. I had also hoped to plant the hell strip between the sidewalk and the street with some drought-tolerant annuals. I bought 18 plants for these two projects. Again, pricier than they would have been at a Greenmarket; only one, maybe two, of the six different species I chose would not have been available there.
So overall, Chelsea is certainly a pleasant visit. Staff was helpful, if a bit stressed by the business they were getting; it felt like they were still getting into their weekend groove. Noone was able to identify the species, let alone variety, of the sole specimen of Ligularia I found. If you have an eye for them, they have a few unusual perennials. I didn't take but a cursory look at their woody stock, but that seems to be a specialty of theirs, just based on the quantity, variety, and staging.
PS: When you see a car stalled in the non-shoulder area of the Prospect Expressway, honking at them does not help. They already know they are stalled in a dangerous location. And trust me, they want to be there even less than you want them there.