I first heard about Russell Gardens Wholesale several years ago when its name continued to crop up in conversations with other gardeners or through local plant societies. I finally made the trip ‘out yonder’ to see if it was as good as all the perennial mavens said it was. It didn’t disappoint!
Alan Russell is the ‘head honcho’ of this family operation which was started by his grandfather two generations ago when Richboro, Pa., was pure farmland. He is a true lover and excellent propogator of perennials. And it shows! One only needs to drive through the front gates before your eyes are overwhelmed by the large blocks of colors and what seems like endless rows of perennials. Each time I go, I feel my heart pounding as I rush to park the car in order to get to see all of his wonderful plants.
I always have a list prepared of the plants that I plan on buying. But it rarely fails that as I peruse aisle after aisle of glorious, well tended perennials (how can I possibly resist), I stumble upon some new introductions that I must have. If I can find Alan and if he’s not too busy, he’ll stand around and shoot the breeze with me about the quality of the perennial in question and just about anything else that has to do with perennials.
Alan publishes a catalogue once a year filled to the brim with the perennials that he plans on selling that season, along with some ‘Allanish’ descriptions of them. For example, this is what he wrote about Geranium ‘Roxanne’ (which I happen to think is a terrific, forever blooming perennial): “blue-purple, 15-18″, June-September. You don’t have to relive the sitcom planting this! There’s no room to be rude, crude and obnoxious with this naturally occuring hybrid between g. himalayense and G. wallachianum ‘Buxton’s Variety’. She’s become a rose between two thorns! Incredible flower size and reliable performance! Sure to be a stand up in the garden for a long time! Great seasonal foliage colors and textures also. Strong grower with light sprawling habit. A sure nominee for the club! Sun, part shade. Zone 5-8. 2 quart-$5.00”. Perennials are priced anywhere from $2.60 upwards to $7. for new and more unusual introductions. And the time of year, Russells begins its end of the summer sale with herbs (which include Lavandula ‘Hidcote’ and ‘Munstead’) at $1.10 each. Can’t beat that price!
Russell Gardens Wholesale is not meant for those folks who need a garden lifestyle store filled with high end accessories and a magnificent setting. Russells is a bastion of beauty for those gardeners who are inspired by perennials and all of the hope that they bring when they are taken home, planted and nurtured in our gardens.
So on that note,kudos to Alan for all that he has done and continues to do for keen gardeners (and retailers) throughout the Delaware Valley! He is one gem of a plantsman! If you have a nursery or garden center in your area that you would like to tell us about, please write in and let us know. If you want to post photos on your own blog, we will link back to you.