Our New Catalog

We are VERY excited to announce that our 2012 Catalog is coming to a mailbox near you! We have a polished new look, and some great new features to help you save this year!

Full of great growing tips for your favorite culinary, medicinal and aromatic herbs and flowers, as well as interesting facts, high quality pictures and more! We’ve also added more pages this year to include even more of our Potted Herbs and Potted Herb Garden Kits, Tools and Garden Accessories to give you the best selection possible. And, just for requesting a catalog, you’ll get multiple discounts found inside and even some additional savings  for referring your friends. This is definitely a resource worth holding onto for reference while planting.

Request a catalog today and start planning your spring herb garden early — if you haven’t signed up for your free copy, click here!

Meeting Southern Living's James Farmer

When our Co Owner, Kenan White, recently found an opportunity to see James Farmer speak, she immediately booked her flight to the AmericasMart show in Atlanta, Ga. Meeting him after his talk was an exciting added bonus! Read on to see why we are so impressed  with this brilliant Southern gentleman.

James Farmer’s lecture on “Herban Gardening” at the Atlanta Mart was the highlight of my buying trip!

This true Southern gentleman would make his mama proud!  Handsome, polite, self-effacing, and oh so talented.  Since I have been following James’ work for some time, I didn’t quite know what to expect, but this one is the ‘real deal’!  I’ve been in this business for over a decade, seen them come and go, but my guess is that James is here to stay.  Talented for sure, but authenticity counts almost as much.

I’ve tried to recreate his gorgeous arrangements and delicious recipes at home, but after spending an hour watching him arrange and cook and entertain, I realized I have a lot to learn.  His seamless and gracious presentation had me imagining myself on his front porch, a late afternoon summer breeze making it all bearable, sipping on his mint infused tea and taking a bite of Mimi’s Apple Cake.

For anyone who’s unfamiliar James, check out his website … and go out and get his book – A Time to Plant: Southern Style Garden Living.   For all of us below the Mason Dixon, he reads like a well known novel.  For those of you outside of the real South, get ready to experience ‘our’ way of life!

Bless him for sharing.



Regular Trimming Will Yield Terrific Results!

The grass in your Easter Basket, like the grass in your yard, will need periodic trims.  When your grass grows to be about 9” tall, give it a little haircut by holding a clump of blades in one hand and trimming off the tops with pruning shears.  Be sure to snip the flat part of the blade, not the more round part of the blade near the base. Periodic pruning will encourage the grass to reinvest its energy into growing stronger, and it helps keep your mini “lawn” in lovely shape. Continue to keep it in a nice sunny window and with frequent watering and regular pruning, your Easter grass will last you long after Peter Cottontail has hopped off down the bunny trail!

The Importance of Pruning

Many gardeners are afraid to prune their shrubs. Don’t be timid! Pruning is one of the most important tasks in keeping your plants healthy and happy. Just like humans, plants need a little “haircut” sometimes too! Of course, if you’re dealing with a small shrub feel free to prune the tree yourself, but pruning big trees, or any other tree surgery for that matter such as hedge trimming or tree removal, is fairly dangerous to do by yourself. I would recommend a professional in this case, such as Broadleaf, a local tree surgeon in the UK. Due to my plants only being small shrubs, I’ll continue doing the hard work myself!

Many plants grow with a dominant branch, supplying a flow of nutrients to smaller branches. Keeping this dominant branch trimmed regularly ensures all branches have sufficient access to vital sap. Otherwise, your plant will grow into one scraggly unkempt branch or one trailing vine, allowing it to be very vulnerable to getting tipped over or being snagged and broken off.

Many of our most popular herb plants, such as Germander, Lavender, Mojito Mint, Rosemary, Eucalyptus, and Pineapple Sage, need regular trimmings to ensure your plant grows to a healthy bushy plant. For bushy, non woody plants like Cilantro, Lovage and Parsley, you can just gather the leafy stems into a bunch and take a little off of the top all at once.

And don’t forget about those dormant shrubs in your yard! They need attention too! It’s not too late, but the best time to prune your shrubs is right before spring hits. Snip up to one third off the top of your shrub to encourage new growth. Keep in mind that the winter can be very hard on your shrubs, so if you find breakage points, like we did with one of our Silver Drop Eucalyptus trees, it’s best to trim below the break so that new growth can form. We didn’t catch this one early enough and it killed the majority of the plant, but we’re hoping if we cut it back to a few inches from the ground, it will regrow its beautiful branches.

As for the shears themselves– invest in a sharp pair to make clean, attractive, healthy cuts. Your neighbors probably don’t want to stare at gnarled branches all day. We recommend Our Favorite Felco pruning shears. They can cut through just about everything from thick, woody stems to wire, they’re durable and comfortable and besides, they call them our favorite for nothing!

Companion Plants Are Friends Til the End

Here at The Growers Exchange, we’re excited to say we have officially started our annual employee vegetable garden!  We have started our early spring greens, broccoli, and cabbage, and have added a few herbs to the mix as companion plants.

Broccoli and the entire cabbage family (including cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, collards, and brussel sprouts) grow wonderfully with aromatic herbs such as dill, chamomile, sage, rosemary, hyssop, and thyme.  All members of the cabbage family are heavy feeders, and will greatly benefit from nearby, healthy, herb plants– plants who will double as insect repellents!  Although the white cabbage butterfly is not harmful and can help pollinate, its pesky caterpillars are the ones who will chomp away at and destroy your crop.  Aromatic herbs will help keep these hungry little guys away.

Our New Garden

We have always wanted a place where all the plants grown in our nursery could be grown out to full size. Now that all of our time is spent working from the nursery, we found the time to dig up the yard surrounding it. Because time is always hard to find for such projects, we have been taking our time. Shrubs were planted the first year and later a waterfall was added. Now we have laid out the paths and beds on the ground and will begin preparing the beds for planting.

It may be fall before we have them ready. Not being in a hurry, we want to dig deep and work plenty of organic material into the soil. Only when the beds are finished will we begin to add herb plants and some perennial flowering plants. Piecemeal is always the way to tackle a large job, so we will finish some beds before others are started. This way we will be able to grow some of our flowering annual plants. Cut flowers like zinnias and celosia will provide fresh cut flowers for the office. We want to demonstrate all the ways our plants can be grown.

Every step will be documented: from soil and bed preparation, planning and planting, to care and harvest. Check out The Growers-Exchange.com for all of our Year in the Life of a Garden updates.

Office Garden Plan