On the Road

I hit the road a week and half ago (before our 15" rain) to see some old friends and make some new ones. I was accompanied on my journey by my first cousin, Kyle McCaskey, of Camellia Nursery. He and I come from the same nurseryman grandfather, Dewey Howell, whom a lot of older nursery people remember. Sometime, when I have time, I’ll tell you some stories about Grandaddy. He was a cantankerous little fellow, but a heck of a nurseryman.


It is completely beside the point but worth mentioning that Kyle, before he saved off his beard, bore a striking resemblance to Osama bin Laden. Now he just looks like Kramer, from Seinfeld.


We had a chance to visit nurseries and garden centers in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. I always enjoy getting out and looking at other folks’ operations because it’s a good way to see some things you should do and some things you should not do. It’s kind of like the story I heard about a rooster that walked into a henhouse carrying an ostrich egg. He cleared his throat loudly and said “now ladies, I’m not trying to imply that I’m dissatisfied with your efforts, but I would like for you to see what other people in other places are doing.” We saw a number of places last week where it was clear that SOMEBODY was putting forth a ton of effort. It’s good to see a nursery where the owner takes pride in what he’s doing.


I realize that what I’m about to say is a lot like telling Noah about a rainstorm, but to keep a nursery or garden center looking good requires a whole bunch of work. I’ve always said, and I think I’ve written it here before, that there are only two things more confining than a nursery; a dairy and jail. I have managed to make it this far without being incarcerated, and I hope I can make it all the way on in without it, but I can’t believe sitting in the county lock-up could be all that much worse than milking cows twice a day, every day.



The other thing I was glad to see whilst out and about, aside from the industriousness of plant people, were some pockets of guarded optimism. Granted, nobody rolled out the red carpet for a couple of traveling salesmen, but nobody threw any rocks either. Most people, like me, are just looking forward to the onset of some cooler weather. I had an old pastor friend who said it best. He said that one of the most comforting phrases in the Bible is “and it came to pass”. August, too, shall come to pass and nobody will be any happier about it than me. I’m hoping that since spring came 5 or six weeks early fall will too.



Operating on the premise that “you can’t sell what you ain’t got”, we have a decent sized crop of stuff coming on for fall. And while, like most other nurseries, we don’t have as large a crop as we used to have, what we DO have looks really good. Try some. I think you’ll agree.


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