Farmers of Flowers


So where do flowers really come from?

by Charlie Thigpen   Photography by Chuck St. John

We are so lucky to live in the Magic City where blooms and fabulous foliage plants grace our gardens and commercial properties throughout the year. Where do all these flower and plants that beautify our town come from? You might be surprised to know that most come from local wholesale growers that sow thousands of seeds each season to supply garden centers and landscapers with a bounty of blooms.

Buy Local

There is a movement to buy local and support independent growers and sellers. Our local growers don’t sell to the “big box” stores, but they do help fill our independent garden centers and supply local landscape companies. Some of the big box stores sell plants that are grown out of state and sometimes the plants sold don’t even grow well in our climate. Our local growers grow only what works well in our area during the appropriate season.

Who are They ?

Alabama Nursery, Barton’s Greenhouse & Nursery, Blackwood Crossing Greenhouses, Maple Valley Nursery and Wright’s Nursery and Greenhouse are just a few of the wholesale growers that supply our shop and many others in the Birmingham area. They do not sell directly to the public, but each week during the growing season, their trucks roll in to town to deliver. I’m always amazed when they open up their doors and reveal the colorful plants inside. I rarely turn away plants for quality reasons. These growers work hard and take pride in their living products, and it shows!

Hard Work

Customers often walk into my small courtyard and ask if I grow all those beautiful plants. I quickly laugh and tell them no way. I have a hard enough time keeping them alive after they’ve been delivered. We water our plants daily seven days a week because living plants in tiny packs are tender and vulnerable.

The wholesale growers may have thousands of flats growing in their greenhouses. Not only do they have to worry about keeping plants hydrated but they must keep the temperature just right to keep their plants alive. When they aren’t worrying about watering or temperatures they are inspecting for insects or diseases that could wipe out their crops and business. People that complain about the price of plants have no idea what it takes to grow them out and get them ready to sell. These growers work incredibly hard to make a living and, believe me, you have to sell lots of plants to make a living.

Here’s to You

Gardeners, grab your trowel and salute our Alabama growers. They are smart, knowledgeable people that are always looking for improved plant selections that will make gardening easier for the consumers.

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