10 November 2008

Home Despise

Recently, I sucked it up and visited the new Home Despot that just opened in my neighborhood at the Mueller development. As I drove through the sycamore-lined parking lot, I was thinking positive thoughts, like:
Well, this is not Breed & Co where people give you individualized attention and the scale is just right, just human, but it’s cheaper and really convenient.

I am happy to have at least ONE hardware store that I can ride my bike to. Someplace to buy home and garden goods that’s not on the other side of a freeway.

I like these spindly sycamores with their sweet, spicy aroma that they’ve planted in the parking lot islands and wonder how nice they will look in 10 or 15 years when they are large and providing shade.
I had ventured to the new store to see what they had in the way of cheap shrubs and trees. I usually opt for the local nurseries, but a bargain is a bargain (sometimes). I generally prefer the slightly more visually appealing Lowes, myself, but it may be hard to continue to justify driving across town when I could go to the Big Box next door.

I usually avoid the garden centers at these places if I can help it, unless I need metal edging or drip hosing (but even that can be found elsewhere at locally owned businesses). Their over-emphasis on chemical fertilizers and pesticides, annuals and non-native plants is just ridiculous, IMHO. In fact, I saw that they were selling ligustrum! That should actually be illegal, I think. For that matter, wouldn’t it be great if there were a city or state level rule that would prohibit the sale of locally invasive, non-native species? I just don’t understand how that practice can continue as such. It’s also generally hard to find locally produced composts and potting soils at the Big Boxes (though I have seen bags of “Native Texas Hardwood” mulch).

But, they did have what I was looking for at the moment: cheap shrubs. I bought 4 yaupons, Ilex vomitoria ‘Pride of Houston,’ to begin screening the back yard and front side yard. They were only $19 a pop for 5-gallon shrubs. Not bad. Some co-workers of mine have also recently found some sweet deals there on live and red oaks. Big trees for very small cash. And I hear the Mueller location delivers, too.

So, it ain’t all bad. I know I’ll be headed over their when my plumbing bursts at 9 p.m., or have a need for some random deck screws at an unreasonable hour of the day. And, I’m happy that all my Eastside Peeps and I don’t have to go so far to get what we need.

In truth, we can avoid the Age of the Big Box Stores (A.B.B.S.) about as well as the dinosaurs avoided the Cretaceous. It’s there, but I just generally prefer to be the little rascally mammal nibbling in the undergrowth waiting for the next age to begin…


Nancy said...

You're right about the good and bad aspects of the big box stores. On the one hand, they've got the hardware you need right NOW to fix the leak...and they sometimes have some decent deals on plants, if you know what you're buying.

Nothing will replace the real nurseries, I hope... they're where us who know "just enough to be dangerous" gardeners can get a real and gentle education.

Lori said...

I'm right there with you on Home Depot's gardening section. I cringe every time I see their plant selection and then observe all of the poor people who buy things there without knowing better, like mophead hydrangeas (seriously?!!). It feels sometimes like chain stores set their customers up to fail when it comes to their plant selection, which really bugs me. And the invasives! I once snapped and talked a random customer out of buying ivy to plant all over his shady yard. Sigh.

That said, I have both Despot & Lowe's within a five-minute drive, and boy, are they convenient. ;P

Rock rose said...

HD- probably I would miss it if it wasn't there but I have complained to them about some of the plants they sell as perennials which are not and tomatoes in October- give me a break.

Bob said...

My biggest gripe was buying a Red Ripe nectarine tree from them that turned out to have the best peaches I've ever eaten. I was POed that it wasn't a nectarine tree but I would love to have another peach tree like it. BUT I don't know the name cause it was supposed to be a nectarine.