More nursery visits: SummerWinds Ellisville

The local nursery visits continue... Remember when I showed you Zick's Great Outdoors? That was a one-of-a-kind place, and on that same trip I stopped at what is probably the polar opposite: SummerWinds Nursery in Ellisville.

A few years ago this nursery joined the SummerWinds family of nurseries (who have a nationwide presence) and they became much less attractive to me -- so I don't visit too often anymore. Let's take a look though, as they do have something to offer...


I'll begin this visit in a way that I never have before, taking a look at the pottery and then the year-round greenhouse.

They have a quite nice selection of pots...

...but the problem for me is the price. You won't find a bargain pot here, although they may have sales later in the season (as I said, I don't get out here too often...)

The greenhouse contains what you'd expect at this time of year: houseplants, some pots, decor.

Some interesting things though, like this Sansevieria:

And this head planter...

...which is the most "classical" design of a head planter I have ever seen. I like it, but $57 seems a bit steep (a theme that will be repeated throughout this visit).

Moving out of the greenhouse there are larger annuals and hanging baskets -- maybe some perennials?:

I couldn't tell if this was a sales area or a holding area. Probably sales, although there were no customers back here.

They were also unloading racks of bedding annuals from a truck...

...people sure do love buying annuals!

One thing that this nursery does have is a great selection of trees and shrubs...

...especially conifers...

They have the best collection of tiny trees too, for bonsai or fairy gardens or whatever:

Most things are larger though...

They carry unique specimens too, like this Japanese umbrella pine:

I don't know if these do well in our climate (or will even survive our winters) as I've never seen one in the ground, but I remember seeing one of these here every time I visit.

Such color!

The trees are at the back of the nursery, so turning back toward the front where I spend most of my time you see some bamboo...

I should point out that I've only seen Yellow Groove and Fargesia 'Rufa' bamboos sold here -- which is good because they're not selling things that won't survive in our climate. (I don't suppose they sell much bamboo anyway.)

Nice selection of grasses...

...and an impressive Clematis display:

I'll take this opportunity to talk about their prices now, as I have a good point of reference with these branded Clematis plants (the ones with the colorful printed pot wrappers). The price for one of these here at SummerWinds: $36. The same plant (as far as I could tell) at Greenscape was $26. I'm not suggesting that everything here is more expensive, but for the most part it sure feels that way.

Back to the plants and the shade perennials:

I've been looking at plants for shade quite a bit this year, so spent some time here. Some plants I really could not imagine putting into my garden, like this ugly 'Praying Hands' hosta:

Why take the best feature of hostas -- big, wonderful leaves -- and not only make them smaller, but make them all wrinkled too? I could see if you have loads of hostas and need something for a bit of textural contrast that these could work for you, but I just think they're terrible, at least at this size.

One plant that I do not think is terrible is Ligularia, and this 'Midnight Lady" is quite nice:

As is this Acanthus:

The problem though is the Acanthus is priced at $35. Crazy expensive! If you're looking for a specimen plant with immediate impact though, maybe it's worth the price for you? They do have some pretty good-sized plants.

Moving on to the rest of the perennials:

Herbs, annuals...

There are some nice accent pieces around the nursery too:

(I'd never buy a spinner that wasn't turning at all on a quite breezy day)

This nursery has a unique checkout method too -- one that I'm not too fond of -- they write up a ticket for you outside, you then leave your cart and go inside to pay. Maybe this is their way of ensuring that everybody visits the store, but I don't like it.

In summary, SummerWinds is a nursery that has a lot to offer if you're not price-sensitive -- their prices are quite high. Great selection of trees and shrubs, and quite large perennials if you can bear the correspondingly large price tags. I probably won't visit again this summer as it's inconvenient for me and I like bargain plants. If it were closer to me I might pay more attention and visit more often -- maybe they have good sales later in the season?


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Jean Campbell  – (May 13, 2015 at 8:30 AM)  

Plants are overpriced only if they fail to sell. Most places reduce prices when things are not 'moving' so visit later. Smaller perennial pots are a better buy if you are willing to given them time to grow.

Mark and Gaz  – (May 13, 2015 at 8:53 AM)  

The place seems to be doing well despite their higher prices. They may have found their local niche market perhaps?

outlawgardener  – (May 13, 2015 at 9:37 AM)  

Clematis prices seem a bit high but maybe they mark them down once they've quit blooming. Most often gallon vines are in the 15 - 20 dollar price range here although I paid a bit more for a specialty clematis this spring that many of us fell in love with during the Portland fling. The head planter seems reasonable to me as I've seen that same pot in these parts priced in the 70 dollar range. (terra cotta covered with some sort of concrete slurry.) Since Mother's Day is the biggest sales day in the nursery biz, it's possible that prices will come way down. Looks like a great place!

Alan  – (May 13, 2015 at 5:22 PM)  

Jean: good point, but I didn't say that they were overpriced. Just higher than other nurseries I've visited in the area.

Mark/Gaz: I believe they have. They care for their plants quite well, or at least they move a lot of stock.

Peter: These were larger than 1 gal. plants - 2 gal maybe? They had some even larger potted clematis for $65!

danger garden  – (May 14, 2015 at 12:00 AM)  

SummerWinds isn't a name I'm familiar with but they seem to have found a formula that works for them. Can't say you showed me anything I'm jonesing to have though...

www.ravenscourtgardens. com  – (May 14, 2015 at 12:38 PM)  

I would hate to leave my cart of plants to go inside...fearing someone will run off with something I am already bonding with : ) I agree about the hosta. Those were cool ligularia, a variety i have never seen.

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