In honor of the holiday weekend, here is a post that first appeared one year ago. The photos still haunt me. I recently returned to the nursery-that-was, and not much has changed. Yes, the weeds have been mown and the random pots removed, but the structures remain (albeit a little more dilapidated). There are also a couple of flatbed trailers parked on the lot, but the abandoned nursery remains, a testament to the loss of small, local, neighborhood nurseries and small businesses that can’t keep up with the onslaught of retail and box store chains, rising rents, and a lifeless economy.
On this Labor Day, please visit a local nursery — and if you would like to open your own, I know a place that’s available.
It’s Labor Day weekend – a time tailor-made for beaches, barbecues, parades, and speeches. But on this particular holiday, I’m staring at the remains of a small, neighborhood garden center on Long Island.
I’m not sure exactly what happened here. Did the owner retire, unable to sell the business? Did some sort of illness interfere? Was the small nursery unable to compete against the box stores that sprout like weeds? Or perhaps, this nursery is just another victim of an economy that has failed to thrive?
It’s amazing how quickly the weeds and wildflowers have turned this once manicured plot into an overgrown prairie. Slowly, however, it gives up its secrets.
The shelves where pots of perennials were once displayed.
Tables once held flats of impatiens, petunias, and a rainbow of assorted annuals.
Pots, nearly hidden by the towering weeds, are now homes to those weeds.
Some pots, though, would rather hold onto the skeletons of their occupants.
The front bed is a hodgepodge of fleshy weeds and flowering vines and litter.
The manicured plantings, the ones selected with care, still manage to bloom.
The whispers of gardening questions and shared planting tips linger around the side yard, just beside the rack that held hanging baskets of geraniums and million bells petunias.
Today, though, those conversations are nearly drowned out by the the insect chirps and buzzes coming from the tall weeds — proof that nature continues to go about its business, despite the story told here.
This Labor Day, in between the parades and barbecues, remember to celebrate labor by purchasing something from a local business.