Taking Your Gardening Dollar

Logee’s says “Relax!”

Tiffany
Tiffany, a Logee’s staffer. Behind her, you can see some of the original 1892 furnishings. 

But I still exercised caution, buying only 5 plants at the venerable Connecticut tropical plant nursery during a long-awaited pilgrimage last Saturday.  I have been receiving catalogs from Logee’s for a few years, and knew it was located quite near where we regularly visit family.

Logee
This place does over 60% of their business via mail order; it is a nationally-known venue for tropical and exotic plants, regularly offering a dozen or more varieties of jasmine, gardenia, abutilon, passiflora, hoya, hibiscus, and epiphyllum, as well as oddities (to me) such as Strongylodon macrobotrys “Jade Vine,” Elaeocarpus grandiflorus “Lily of the Valley Tree,” and Aristolochia gigantea ‘Brasiliensis.’ There are also plenty of carnivorous plants and weird cacti.

Logeeaisle
The narrow aisles are totally crammed with plants (human shown for scale).

For the winter indoor gardener bored by the usual selection at local big boxes, Logee’s is a godsend, but if you ever plan to actually visit in person, my advice is watch your step, both literally and financially. The facility is much older than I expected, and you can still see the original nineteenth-century furnishings in the little shop you enter before the retail greenhouses. After that, narrow walkways and unexpected stairways lead you through an indoor jungle.

Logeeplants
Plants are small but vigorous, sold in 2 and 4″ pots, with some larger. 

The owners were not around on Boxing Day, but I talked to an experienced staffer, Tiffany, who showed me some of the older retail catalogs—which showcased the original specialties of pelargonium and begonias—and talked about how the business had evolved from its 1892 beginnings. Logee’s is in the process of building new, more energy-efficient propagation greenhouses, and is also striving to go entirely organic in its treatment of the insects and diseases that can be common problems with these kind of plants, keeping in mind that their consumers expect clean specimens.

Jasmine
Full-grown examples are all over the place, twining around metal supports and seeming in some cases to grow out of the floor. 

I wondered how a place like Logee’s deals with what should be frequent instances of buyer’s remorse, as customers must regularly experience failure with some of the more difficult cultivars, and Tiffany stated that their on-call horticulturalists deal with these issues. She said the three main problems are over and under watering (most plants should dry down, then be thoroughly watered), overpotting (too-large pots lead to root rot), and—mainly—too much worrying and fussing over the plants. (“People need to relax!”) She also mentioned that a overwatering in a chilly room is as bad a the hot dry air of the average centrally-heated home.

Oldcat
The main thing with Logee’s is that their plants are small, and not cheap, averaging around $10 each for the 2” and $15-20 for the 4”. But I have high hopes for the jasmine ‘Ann Clements’, ponderosa lemon, osmanthus (sweet olive), and gardenia (a species type) I purchased, all of which came with detailed culture sheets. For a plant addict like me, the wide variety of such fragrant cultivars is what makes Logee’s worthwhile. For the casual visitor, it’s as good or better than a trip to a public glasshouse, and you’ll likely see a more wide-ranging variety of plants.

Ceiling
Especially on such a winter’s day—windchill minus 2—my afternoon at Logee’s is a very pleasant memory.

Posted by on December 29, 2009 at 6:17 am, in the category Taking Your Gardening Dollar.
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10 responses to “Logee’s says “Relax!””

  1. Layanee says:

    I know you will be back to Logee’s as it is a place of sensory overload. You simply cannot see everything in one visit. It might be just the place to visit in the next couple of weeks. So happy to hear you enjoyed it.

  2. angelchrome says:

    I don’t splash out on expensive plants often but I have to admit Logee’s is always tempting because they do send really deliciously healthy vibrant plants. Great supplier.

  3. Diane says:

    I love Logee’s plants, and their catalogs are such fun to page through. If I ever go to Connecticut, I will def. have to visit!

  4. gatesjones says:

    We make one or two trips to Logees per year, it’s a great place to go in the winter to relieve cabin fever. Especially when the winter jasmine is blooming, the fragrance fills the green house it’s in. Yes it is very easy to pick up many plants and end up spending mucho dinero. Great place. What type of gardenia did you buy?

  5. greg draiss says:

    great place indeed

    The TROLL

  6. I wish I had known you were visiting. Layanee and I keep making plans to meet up there and I keep having to cancel. It’s only about 50 minutes from my house and I still haven’t been there!

  7. I love visiting greenhouses…if only electronic equipment were amenable to the humidity I’d set up my office in one!

  8. Jim F. says:

    Logee’s is indeed a delight in any weather, but especially in winter, though I have to agree that their prices aren’t cheap, and I wonder how they can stay competitive with outfits in Florida or California that don’t have their heating costs.

    One of my favorite things about the greenhouses? The creeping fig growing all over the bathroom walls! That’s a plant person’s idea of decor!

    Jim

  9. commonweeder says:

    Logee’s is a great place. I’ve gotten most of my plants through the mail, but a friend and I once made a road trip and the greenhouses are really impressive. I had a beautiful bouganvilla (sp?) growing around my bedroom window which thrived – until I went away for a week and the plant waterer forgot about it.

  10. Liz Stein says:

    Two of my kids have birthdays in February, and one memorable year we took the day off from school and went to logee’s; each kid got to choose several plants for their birthday present. Hugely popular with them, and they wanted to go again the next year.

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