GARDENING: Ferda's Garden Center just a memory now

Better Half has returned from MER SAR College.  Nothing left to do tonight but relaxing and pondering where we'll start our plant quest.  It's late in the season, but not too deep into the hot months.  Our aim is to recreate what we had on Pembroke.

Tiny patch within the front garden, Pembroke Cottage, 2008
My garden on Pembroke existed due to three sources: Iannettis Garden Center, Ferda's Garden Center, and Phipps Conservatory. The conservatory served as inspiration, but the garden centers made the dream possible.

Gardening became my passion.  I was damn proud of my green thumb, and of the yard I painstakingly crafted. I spent more time photographing it than I did working in it - which is to say I did nothing but embrace nature from April to November.

I haven't had the opportunity to garden since 2014. Sans therapeutic activity, I've found myself slowly withdrawing.  This year, finally, we've worked to turn the lackluster back garden (lawn and more lawn) into something pleasant to the eyes, ears, and nose.  The main bed is almost dug. Now is the time to consider the available plants.

My budget is extremely tight. I need good things - things that I know will thrive due to attention to detail offered by a privately owned garden center - at a reasonable cost.

We made our customary stop at Iannettis a few weeks ago, and came home with a lovely young Lagerstroemia osage. It became a centerpiece in the lawn proper and will hopefully bloom next spring.

Heliotrope is on the list, as is dusty miller and lamb's ear.  This would mean a trip to Ferda's Garden Center. Sadly, that is no longer possible.  It closed its doors.  I suppose I shouldn't be upset over it, yet I can't help but to mourn the loss of a business that meant the world to me.

This sort of thing is happening across the country.  Most people would rather shop for inferior product from the big box stores (ie Walmart) than take the time to bargain shop the local businesses. They paw through pretty blooms without realizing the plants are root bound, and then they whine because the new plants don't grow as lush as they should.  Out comes the Miracle Grow. Sure, it works, but the neglect done to those plants prior to purchase will hinder the plant from reaching full potential. A quick pass through the "garden center" of any big box will reveal troubled shrubs, trees, and flowers costing more than a healthier plant at the hometown nursery.

Bob Ferda
This brings me back to Ferda's.  Bob Ferda supplied this area with quality plants at an affordable cost for over 32 years.  You knew your lamb's ear would last for years if purchased from Bob. Your heliotrope would bear the prettiest blossoms.  Your fairy garden trinkets, outdoor flags, and flower bed tchotchke would outstrip (and outlast) any of the crap to be had at Home Depot, Lowes, or the Dollar Store.

Every summer, we'd pay Bob a visit (or three or five) just to find some unique thing to add to our front beds.  He loved to share his masterful knowledge.   My garden thrived because of him.

He was thinking of selling the business back in 2012.  I lost track of it after that - cancer has a way of disrupting the pleasures in life. Today I learned that he did indeed close in 2013.

Just a Memory

Ferda’s Garden Center is no longer in business. The buildings have been sold for another purpose and the inventory has been sold at auction. We hope that you remember us fondly as we will remember you.

Please shop at another independent garden center instead of the big box stores. Without your support, independently-owned businesses like ours will be just a memory, and you, as customers, won’t have any choice of where to shop for your garden plants and supplies.

Bob will remain in the green industry, doing business as Bob, the Garden Coach. He will be available for personal consultation on garden design issues and other related problems. Call him at 740-xxx-xxxx.

The link in the article no longer works. I'm hesitant to call the number. I did find a Wordpress account for Bob the Garden Coach - the last entry was 2014.

We'll visit Iannettis this week, of course.  They stand behind their product and you know you're getting healthy plants and shrubs. (The owner is a vet. He and Better Half get along fine.)

We could stop by Kramer's Greenhouse in Burgettstown, PA. It's along the pike, as is Iannetti's. I'm not sure of the offerings or prices with Kramer's.

I guess we'll also visit Digregory's Greenhouse & Garden Center in Steubenville. They tend to be a bit pricey. 

Damn it. I want my Ferda's! We miss you, Bob.