Repost: A Labor Of Love — Lost

Black-Eyed Susan

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.

17 thoughts on “Repost: A Labor Of Love — Lost

  1. I honored your suggestion and bought a crepe myrtle from an Aquebogue nursery this afternoon. I’m glad to report that business seemed good when I was there! Keep repeating your message — it’s too important!

  2. There is an independent nursery about 15 miles from me. Even though the prices are higher than the box store, they are adding to the local economy so I try to buy there as much as possible.

  3. How interesting to have come across this story on this day…. I live in an AZ valley, we travel to the northern part of AZ most weekends to beat the heat and relax… We travel thru little towns that have been beaten up by the economy or big boxstores and which are on pretty much their last leg with struggles… But as we were coming home today, I had noticed a business stocking an old warehouse type building with what I thought and hope a Nursery… Messages like this are so important… the words local and community are in such lack… Buy local, support local, gain a community that gives back… right?AMEN…

    • Hi Caryl. I couldn’t agree more. I also like that the smaller, local nurseries have a greater variety of plants. I hate that all gardens must look the same.

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