Changes around Blue River Nursery

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Over the past 7-8 years there have been a great many changes and improvements made to Blue River Nursery. After going through the March- June busy season and living to tell about it once again I think it is important to bring some of these changes and improvements to everyones attention. Everyone meaning our older clientele who may have been coming out to our remote and overwhelmingly charming, well hidden location for over 20 years, as well as the new visitor that just is not satisfied with the generic offerings the green industry is giving them today and is looking for that well hidden secret store.

To a degree this location is our biggest enemy because we are not on ‘Main Street.’ In these days of the generic asphalt garden center we are a dieing breed. We are out in the country and we grow plants! We are purist! We are the real deal, a throwback to the days of old when you had to go out in the middle of no where to get choice nursery stock to bring home to your suburban house. I remember my Father taking me out with my Mother to some old codgers nursery where we dug our own tree out of this guys field and took it home and planted it ourselves. We are kind of an updated version of that.

If you have not been here before Blue River Nursery is not that outdated, but we do have the country charm. However, our growing system is a state of the art Pot-in-Pot growing system where all our plants are grown in containers sleeved in another container in the ground. All the plants are on timed computerized irrigation. We have over 18,000 sq feet of growing space inside greenhouses alone, not to bad for a little place. Often times people remark how large the nursery is when they come out. We are really quite small compared to some of the behemoth size nurseries I have visited over the years. Compared to that little seasonal parking lot place that someone is utilizing as a “garden center” in town we are huge and offer so much more than the ubiquitous branded plant programs being offered at all those places in town. Don’t fall for the hype! Recently I noticed a sign at a big box store with the initialls H.D. that said locally grown. I asked the clerk where these plants were being grown. The guy told me 2 hours away in Michigan. If that place will lie to you about that what else are they living about. since when is local ever been two hours away?

We developed our first web site back in 1998. Hardly the beginning of time but for our industry it was pretty early. Over the years we would get people from various locales like Virginia, Iowa, Pennsylvania and tropical Ohio that would find us on the web and travel to visit us. The first one that really got my attention was a woman from Virginia traveling to some quaint town along Lake Michigan where she was going to plant a garden for a friend. She visited us on the web and decided to pick the plants up that she was going to plant in that garden at our nursery. My Father and I just thought that was amazing! Over the years many folks asked if we shipped plants which we did not. After taking note of this question for many years and hearing a multitude of mail order horror stories I decided to put a new web site together back around 2005. After banging our heads against the wall with a complete idiot of a web site designer or web host whatever he was that just could not help us bring our vision to fruition we decided to can our second web site that we had developed with him. We then interviewed 30 or so designers and finally found a normal human being with some tech savvy who helped us develop our third web site that we launched in 2008. With that web site we have started shipping plants all over the country, sending quality plants to people everywhere but California. They have some insane requirements we just cannot meet in order to ship plants to California. They do not want the Japanese Beetle that we have in Northeastern Indiana out there. Occasionally, I will get a call from someone in California that just goes ballistic about not being able to get our plants due to this. It was quite funny when a woman in California informed me they already have the Japanese Beetle out there and how ridiculous this was. We ended up having a good laugh about it.

Anyway, the results have been quite good and enough potential has been realized that we built a new shipping building to house this budding hobby business this year. If you order plants from us we always use a box that has been scavenged from somewhere like a grocery store, it is a very green operation as they say.

Last but not least, many of our older clientele does not know that we started landscaping about seven years ago or so. I have drawn designs for roughly 15 years. All the design work is and has always been custom as they say. We referred the work to various landscapers for years. I am kind of a control freak so when things did not get done as I would do them it always kind of got under my skin. As a result of my discontent with the referral process we started landscaping on our own.

It is a bear growing, selling, shipping, designing, and installing our plants with essentially 3-4 people on staff. We are very proud of our work. I think the design work is second to none in the area when it comes to plant selection. we are not the people to hire when you want a brick wall put up. However, do not ask those people to select the plants to go in that hard scape unless you like train wreck results. We do a few different things really well but I draw the line at brick walls. The brick wall guys need to draw the line at plant selection.

If you want a real great product consult us before you have a wall guy put together tiny little planting areas inside these walls that are not big enough to grow much of anything in that is or will be in scale with the wall. Sometimes I apologize for the attitude I throw out there. I think it is important at this point in time to address some of the problems I see in the greater industry as well as the local nursery and landscaping scene.

I wanted to let everyone know a few of our accomplishments this year and let you know where we are going. In the future you can expect Blue River Nursery to maintain its dedication to customer service, quality plants, and a no bull integrity based approach to business. My personal e mail is shawnlocker@gmail.com and my cell is 260 414 6213. We are a locally family owned business.

We know our business which is plants and we want and care about your business. Let us know how we can help you create the gardens you have always wanted.

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