Being a small plant nursery owner is rather unlikely to make you rich, even when you have Nessy on your side and many points running in your favour:
- Our nursery is a small operation - family owned and run (With the assistance of several knowledgeable, loyal and wonderful women) and we are located on a beautiful hillside in one of the most gorgeous areas of Scotland.
- We choose our plants carefully, grow them in our own woodland garden to assess their hardiness, vigour, beauty, scent and suitability for Scottish gardeners, and only then sell them in our nursery.
Buying from us, you know that the plants have been well grown from strong stock, well educated on Radio 4, and hardened off to cope with challenging Scottish temperatures.
- We grow and sell many rare and unusual varieties that can trickier to propagate and maintain, so are infrequently stocked by the big nurseries as they are not perceived to be worth the time and energy required.
- We also sell more exotic varieties influenced by our time in New Zealand and the Falkland Islands, varieties which may not have been considered by many gardeners until they see them growing this far North.
All these positive factors are in themselves, not always enough to rake in the millions, and whilst we have a strong and loyal base of customers - the convenience and illusory value of plants available in a wealth of supermarkets and hardware stores has impacted on many small nurseries.
Great sites like Blotanical (which hopefully will survive its current difficulties), Garden Grab @ Fennel & Fern, Gardeners Voice and many others allow for easy exploration of a worldwide community of gardening blogs and it is rather too easy to fall down the rabbit hole of reading and following links from one blog to another.
We still send out our plant catalogue in the mail each year, as I believe you can never replace the tactile experience of reading through plant descriptions and choosing your selection by hand with a cat on your knee.
Many of our customers have only ever ordered by mail, we have never met face to face, yet we often feel a friendship develop, with lovely handwritten notes included with their orders, and comments on how the plants are growing in their gardens. They trust us to provide them with quality plants and when necessary to substitute a plant that we think they might enjoy if we are sold out of one that has been requested.
We were wary that the Internet might not nurture the same personal relationships with our customers, and while it is true that orders from the website are less likely to include personal notes, we have been delighted at the warmth and encouragement we have received through comments on the blog and even more delightful, the personal visits from some other bloggers from around the country, who may never have discovered us had we not stepped deeper into the web-world.
So we shall venture onward, thank you for walking with us on this path.