Road Trip: Three Lions Garden Center

Eager to commence with my spring gardening activities, I hit the road this week to seek out my first new plants of the year. I headed to Fern Runners, but discovered it is under new ownership.  I arrived just in time to take a look at the very first shipment to the new Three Lions Garden Center and had the pleasure of talking with one of the co-owners, John Atkerson and some of his relatives who were busy readying the new business for the season.

Q. What range of products or services do you offer?

A. Our range of products is currently focused around seasonal gardens and seasonal color. We carry annuals, perennials, vegetable starts and tropical plants. We also carry potting soils and fertilizers geared towards the hobby gardener. We will be expanding our services to become more of a full service garden center.

Q. Do you host any special events, classes etc?

A. We plan to have several evening events in the greenhouses with live music, "Jazz in the Greenhouse", etc. We want to start offering classes, but have not determined the demand for specific topics yet. We encourage suggestions!

Q. Does your stock come from a variety of places? Do you propagate any yourself?

A. Our stock comes primarily from regional growers and then we start some varieties of tomatoes, vegetables and herbs.

Q. What do you look for in choosing your inventory?

A. Healthy, disease free, pest free plants from reliable growers.

Q. What products/services do you consider your specialty?

A. Fern Runners has been a very successful business for 27 years specializing in ferns and seasonal color. Now as Three Lions Garden Center we want to continue that great tradition of high quality products, and then we would like to expand our products and services as we are comfortable doing so and maintain high quality..

Q. Do you have something new in stock this season you are particularly excited about?

A. Lemon Grass was a big seller last year and it is already selling well this year. I will have difficulty keeping it in stock because there is such high demand. You can cook with it, put it in drinks and the plant is a natural mosquito repellent. Can you ask much more from a plant?

Q. What are your favorite plant varieties for the home garden or landscape?

A. Wow! We need to do another whole article for that question. Sun or shade? Annual or perennial? Color preference? Flower garden? Herb Garden? Vegetable Garden? This question requires more of a prescriptive answer than a general response. Come see us and we'll find something that fits your gardening needs (but our family likes to have ferns on the porch, petunias in the planters and Sun Sugar or Sun Gold cherry tomatoes in the yard to snack on in the summer)

Q. Do you have a gardening tip that stands out as particularly useful?

A. Plant what you are passionate about, but try something new every year

Q. What is the most common mistake, misinformation or bad advice you run across related to gardening that you would like to correct?

A. One of the most common mistakes is over watering; gardening is not hard and you do not have to be a botanist to enjoy the many benefits of beautiful and/or delicious plants.

Q. What would you advise for the part-time gardener to make the biggest impact with the least effort?

A. Ask for lower maintenance plants that suit your micro-environment (sun, shade, wet, dry, etc) for the bulk of your plants and then experiment with something new and smaller that will give you big "pop" if it works but won't ruin your whole scheme if it doesn't work as you had wished. Also, it takes very little space to create a garden. A few herbs in a pot and you have an herb garden.

Q. Anything else you would like share about the business or gardening in general?

A. I haven't met anyone yet that gardens because they have to garden. They come to our store because they can't wait to get what they bought in our store in a pot or in a garden and enjoy the benefits of what they have planted. Gardening is good for the soul. "The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good." Genesis 1:12

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