Years ago, when I was young, but still full of gardening ferver, I was seduced and be-dazzled by the lush displays of every conceivable (or so I thought) plant at chain stores, big box stores and franchises.
They were so beautiful to my way of thinking, so perfect in every way, they seemed unearthly. So I would spend a blue zillion dollars on them and spinning with delight carry my treasures home. I always planted them with tender loving care, followed to the letter any attached care instructions, and for a few weeks was practically in a coma over how wonderful my yard looked with them in it. But subtly and gradually this picture of perfection would change.
Plants would wilt, would lose color, and many committed the ultimate offense and just gave up the ghost and died. At first I would run back to the retailer, hands full of dead or dying plants and wail that something awful must have happened. I would ask for explanations. A few times I was so bold as to actually ask for my money back. The most commonsensical response to my fervid complaints was a question one dull clerk insipidly asked as a reply. "Did you water 'em, ma'am?"
Occasionally I would stop at independent, family owned nurseries and buy a few plants. Everyone at these humble establishments seemed genuinely happy to see me and to share literally everything they knew about the plants in which I was interested, and a lot more about other plants I hadn't even heard of or considered, but which were appropriate for my intended use. I also got a lot of straight talk from these folks, like "That won't never work," and "That kind don't do good here."
Advice which surely saved me a lot of time and money once I learned to listen to it and ignore the grammar. These people were furthermore fond of running to back lots to pull out specimens that weren't already on display, the reason being, I gradually learned, was because these nurseries, the independent kind, usually grew their own plants! Yes, they knew what they were talking about, and even though I was a dunce at the beginning, eventually I learned to listen.
Truth is, I learned more about gardening and landscaping from these guys than I ever learned from a book or€"gads! Those sanitized retailers of plants who knew nothing and who brought in tender, greenhouse grown, acclimatized, shot-up-on-hormone plants, hoping to sell them before they croaked.