Stay-at-home directives due to COVID-19 are driving a reprisal in “Victory Gardens,” which is understandable. Gardening is the perfect social distancing activity and a crucial part of Earth-friendly living. However, small businesses — like family-owned nurseries — are among the hardest hit by safety precautions and economic downturns. Before you head to a big box store to buy your victory garden supplies, check the map below to see how you can support your local nursery.

Be careful, you’ll probably find excellent plants and expert customer service while you’re there!

Big box stores vs nurseries

Big box stores often carry the same plants and equipment nationwide with no consideration to climate, growing zone or the natural environment. For example, Kentucky Blue Grass is a wonderful grass for the American South and god awful one for the Pacific Northwest, yet it’s sold nationwide. Independent nurseries, on the other hand, carry products specific to the climate in which they operate.

Aside from a few enthusiastic garden department employees, nobody at big box stores cares whether your plants live, die or morph into a man-eating monster. Garden supplies is just one out of many departments at a big box store — and a seasonal one, at that. Jim from Paint doesn’t care about your Petunias. The big box CEO doesn’t care if the plants are organic or doused in chemicals. As long as they get your money in the spring, they could care less what your garden looks like in summer.

The exact opposite is true at family-owned nurseries. Every employee’s livelihood is staked to the success of the plants they sell, especially the owners. Therefore, you’ll find better customer service and plants at local nurseries, which is especially important for new gardeners. Gardening is hard enough as it is. Why make it harder with a crappy plant and bad advice from a big box store?

Seattle-area nursery operations (as of April 2)

Click on the flower icons to find information about Seattle-area nurseries. If you have any questions about operations, please call ahead! If we are missing information on your favorite nursery or you find our information is in any way incorrect, please contact us here or leave a comment below. Please follow social distancing guidelines!

Share this post on social media to encourage your fellow gardeners to support local nurseries! Feature photo by Quentin Vuilleumier on Unsplash.