April 10, 2007

CONTACT:  Rob Beets, Marketing Specialist
(615) 837-5160

Indulge Urge to Buy—From Good Growers


NASHVILLE, Tenn. – “Everybody feels the urge to buy lots of plants in the spring to brighten up gardens, patios, decks, walkways-- but after you spend a certain amount of money every year just to watch them die in a couple of weeks, well—you learn to fight the urge.”


Rob Beets, horticulture marketing specialist with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture says that success with plants depends on two things: having the right plants from which to choose in the first place, and then knowing how and where to plant them once you get them home.


“It’s so tempting to turn your car toward those big retail store parking lots full of color,” says Beets, “with rows and rows of plants that look great.  But do you know where they’re grown?  Does the person who’s tending that part of the store know anything about plants?  If he does know about plants, does he have time to answer your questions about how to use them or keep them alive?”


“I recommend finding a local plant grower instead of a local plant seller,” says Beets.  “We’re so lucky in Tennessee to have so many plant nurseries, run by people who are all about the plants they grow.  They’ll have a selection of plants already proven to grow well in Tennessee—because they’ve just grown them.  They’ll also have the newest varieties that may have just what you’re looking for—heat resistance, for instance.”


One such grower, says Beets, is Rita Randolph of Randolph's Greenhouse in Jackson.  “We try to grow the heat tolerant kinds,” says Randolph.   “This year we have a lot of ‘hot stuff’.” 


“For places where your plants will be subjected to a lot of heat, say, out on a patio or deck, you can’t beat some of our heirloom geraniums.  We have Tri-color, Vancouver Centennial and Ochold Shield and others; they take our summer heat better than the big hybrid geraniums!


“I like perennials for containers that have year round appeal, especially Heucheras.  We have Americana hy--it has veins-- and Villosum hy, with large pillowing leaves.  As far as the best new plants, my personal favorites are Mystic Spires Salvia and Diamond Frost Euphorbia.”


Beets says Randolph has also jumped, garden gloves first, into “ornamental edibles”—the latest trend to grow herbs and other edible plants in containers on decks and patios.  Large “combo” containers of edibles do a double duty, earning its living while filling an area with color throughout the summer.  Randolph’s edible combo containers can include Swiss Chard Bright Lights, Bull's Blood Beets, Golden Oregano, Basil--even Japanese Eggplant.


“The best thing about buying these types of containers from knowledgeable plant enthusiasts is that they can tell you how to keep your purchases looking great and productive while bound in a container, “says Beets.  “Edible container gardens have really different fertilizer and soil needs from ornamental plants, and you’ll need to get those special items and that information so your plant purchases won’t be a big disappointment, later.”


“Just be sure you’re at the right garden center, armed with good information, with the right expert at your shoulder— then give in to that urge to improve your landscape and living spaces,” says Beets.


For a directory of nurseries and garden centers with Tennessee grown plants, visit the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Web site at



This and other news releases from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture can be found at

Market Development/Pick Tennessee Products news releases can also be found at