Weird scenes at the garden center



Jackie wins! Thanks for playing, everybody, but most of all,
thanks for your often hilarious and provocative comments.

Just for fun, here are some of the strange or not-so-strange things
people mentioned having seen at garden centers and nurseries.

Air plants (tillandsias) glued (ouch) to plastic fairies. I
can’t even imagine what that looks like. Coincidentally, our randomly chosen
winner Jackie mentioned those.

Booze. A lot of places have little wine bars and cafés. I
can kind of get behind that. A glass of wine while shopping for plants? Sure.

Llama fibers (from Deborah). I still don’t understand that

Reading Dirt mentioned
life-size elk and lion sculptures (made of iron!).

Common Weeder talks about miniature John Deere equipment for kids. That may not be
strange to many of you, but I’ve never heard of it.  I looked for it on the web, though, and found a JOHN DEERE BARBIE. Check out her boots! I loved all the little mini-tractors and stuff, too.

Kat talks about perfume (they have that at my favorite
nursery actually, but it also has great plants), while LauraBee has seen 25k
oriental rugs. Marie found a rug made out of stones. 

Many commenters mentioned horribly tacky holiday décor, from
fake trees with fake spiders hanging from them to Easter eggs the size of
bowling balls.

Katxena found textured wallpaper, Elizabeth could
do without the hand-painted silk scarves and PlantingOaks wonders why, why, why
the decorative table lamps.

I think the saddest things, even sadder than the dead plants
(which we’ve all seen) are the plastic ones.

Oh, and on moving merchandise. Yes, we understand seasonal
changes and moving stuff to pique the interest. What we don’t get is hiding or discontinuing basic garden
supplies—which is what started this whole rant.

Again, thanks, and may your next trip to the garden center
be enjoyable, whether you find what you are looking for or not.

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Elizabeth Licata

Elizabeth Licata has been a regular writer for  Garden Rant since 2007, after contributing a guest rant about the overuse of American flags in front gardens. She lives and gardens in Buffalo, N.Y., which, far from the frozen wasteland many assume it to be, is a lush paradise of gardens, historic architecture, galleries, museums, theaters, and fun. As editor of Buffalo Spree magazine,  Licata helps keep Western New Yorkers apprised about what is happening in their region. She is also a freelance writer and art curator, who’s been published in Fine Gardening, Horticulture, ArtNews, Art in America, the Village Voice, and many other publications. She does regularly radio segments for the local NPR affiliate, WBFO.

Licata is involved with Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest free garden tour in the US and possibly the world,and has written the text for a book about Garden Walk. She has also written and edited several art-related books. Contact Elizabeth: ealicata at


  1. One of the larger nurseries near me (Homestead Gardens in Davidsonville, Md) actually raises llamas, so finding llama fiber (and llama knickknacks) there is at least explicable, though probably still weird.

  2. I grew up with a dad who was a fanatic John Deere farmer. Whenever I see the miniatures, it makes me smile.

    High school mates of mine make miniatures by hand and sell them for hundred of dollars. Not for the kids.

    I NEED that John Deere Barbie!

  3. I suppose I should be happy the bamboo stakes in my garden centre are right beside the giant bronze elk (yeah that totally didn’t seem weird to me).

    But both are quite a bit further in then the sofas and table lamps. And yes it is a real garden centre, not home depot style. they call them “patio sofas” and they are nicer then the stuff in my living room. And in this part of the world outdoor living is 3 months long if you are lucky.

  4. Thanks, Elizabeth! I feel as happy as that Barbie looks! Don’t we all wear big hoop earrings and pink sunglasses out in the garden?

    Cheers, Jackie

  5. Um… Weird? I think I need a John Deere Barbie for our collection! We actually have a living miniature garden that she would look great in. Going to see if any there are any hot pink lawn mowers to go with…

  6. My 4-year-old daughter is going through a severe “princess” phase. We battle pretty regularly about appropriate attire for gardening, walking in the pasture to visit grandpa’s cows, etc. I think I’m gonna have to spring for the John Deere Barbie. Maybe it will help her to understand that one can still be pretty when not wearing a satin dress. Maybe? Please?! Or maybe not. Maybe I’m grasping at straws.

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