We have a refrigerator in the corner of the greenhouse/office that
is filled with drinks for all kinds. Water to pop, diet and regular. In
winter we have hot tea and coffee. We always treat customers who visit like guests… they are offered drinks and can select what they like from the refrigerator. Also a bench and chairs to sit a bit outside the greenhouse doors and look down upon the plants in the display area that are for sale. Our way to say thanks for those who take the time to drive here to a small town to shop with us.
Now if that doesn’t make me want to climb in the car and drive 600 miles west, I don’t know what would. Remember the days when sitting a bit with a cold drink and some conversation was a regular thing? Well, neither do I but I remember my daddy’s stories and I’ve longed for that Mayberry-like world. So Gene had me at "pop, diet or regular," and then he sent me a personal invitation with this equally compelling come-on:
I would like to mention that we are by appointment only here, so those
visits are not interrupted. I do not answer the phone while you are here.
Average visit is about 2 hours or so and you would have my undivided attention.
Walk and talk in the gardens, stop a minute or two for a drink and then walk the
display areas for your plant selections.
Then I noticed how he signs his emails – with not just his name, website and email address but this: "Zone
6/5, Southern Indiana," telling us exactly where they’re located, and every page of the website lists contact information and the location of the nursery. So after my many rants about people who are coy about their location, I offer a spirited rave for Gene, wife JoAn and their Munchkin Nursery in small-town Indiana.
Unlike the vast majority of corporate-looking sites in the hort biz, the Munchkin site gives you a real sense for the people behind the site and the nursery. The large collection of Articles contains just the sort of information I’d like to have before making my plant purchases and causes me to fantasize about being able to study the sites of nurseries near me before heading out to actually shop. Nice dream, even without the pop and a nice place to sit.
And notice the sign-off at the end of the home page: "Good gardening and don’t forget to have a good time." Gene, you are so correct that we need to be reminded to have a good time, sad to say.
GIVING UP THE LAWN SAVED HIS LIFE!!
This charming bio tells us that Gene started out growing vegetables and turned to growing flowering plants purely by accident – a nasty accident while mowing a steep bank on a riding tractor that tipped over and nearly fell off a cliff! So I guess Gene decided it wasn’t worth risking his life to have the perfect American lawn on a steep bank because he replaced the lawn with what sounds like a much better-looking assortment of landscape plants. (Hey, Gene, how about a photo?) He says he was immediately addicted to gardening and since then he’s learned a lot "by trowel and error".
AND HYPERTUFA, TOO
I noticed, too, that JoAn gives workshops in making hypertufa troughs – only $35 a pop – and I say bless her heart. Why? Because I’ve given a few hypertufa workshops myself and my gawd, it’s a lot of work, messy work at that. But people love-love-love it and take home something they’ll enjoy for many years. I’ve noticed that Trey and the gang at The Golden Gecko Nursery teach hypertufa, too, so possibly it’s the sign of a really cool nursery, non? Anyway, if you can find a workshop near you, SIGN UP. Same goes for any workshop involving cement pavers. They’re much easier to teach and possibly even more fun, especially for kids.