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Old 09-21-2008, 06:21 PM
 
51 posts, read 114,892 times
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Anyone new to the area or those just looking for a local nursery, I strongly recommend Merrifield Garden Center (MGC). Just moved here last year and no matter what your needs are, they have the biggest selection around. The staff is professional and I love the information desk they have a each of their locations. Friendly staff that is more than willing to provide suggestions or help you troubleshoot an insect problem, plant issue or just about anything. David at the Fair Oaks location is the BEST!

On the contrary, earlier this year before I learned about Merrifield Garden Center I made the mistake of going to Betty's Azalea Ranch. BIG mistake! Their products seemed like they had been on the shelf forever and the quality just couldn't compare to MGC. Above all, I found the staff to be rude and unable to see things from a customer's perspective. I mean really, who deserves to be treated poorly these days. Some guy named Steve Cockerham in the lawn care section was very unprofessional and was rude; kind of like a Mr. Knowitall who just you what to do, no questions asked.
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Old 09-21-2008, 06:59 PM
 
Location: Home is where the heart is
15,400 posts, read 25,832,670 times
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I absolutely agree. Prices at Merrifield are high, but the plants are usually better quality. Be sure to keep the receipt, they'll replace most plants if you have a problem. (Not roses, though--just so you know I have bought expensive rose bushes from them and then had them die within a few days. So they aren't a perfect store--but still, I think MGC is the best garden center in the area.)

If you're new to the area, be sure to watch Merrifield's TV show on Channnel 8 at 8 a.m. Saturday mornings. They will tell you everything you need to know about gardening in NOVA. Their web site is excellent, and the help staff at the store tends to be very good (try to talk to Dave or the English guy). They have free seminars every Saturday--some of them are really good. The classes on lawn care are especially good. The class on pruning will actually take you outside and let you practice so they can tell you what you're doing right or wrong.

At the help desk, it's worth it to wait for Dave--sometimes they hire young kids who will try to tell you all sorts of bull.

Betty's is ok but never seems to have anything I want. Meadows Farms used to be good, but in the last few years their plants have been inferior. Believe it or not, the WalMart near Nokes and Rt. 28 sometimes has good plants (but examine very carefully, a lot of their stuff is terrible).

Some other gardening tips for NOVA: If you work a little sand into the soil you'll have better results. Do not buy topsoil from Home Depot or Lowes. Merrifield's top soil is noticeably better. The best mulch in town is FREE, and you can find it at the community mulch pile on Evergreen Road in Leesburg.
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Old 09-21-2008, 07:08 PM
 
Location: Home is where the heart is
15,400 posts, read 25,832,670 times
Reputation: 18992
One other tip: If you start to get the winter blues after too many grey days, head to the Fair Oaks store and wander through their tropical plants department. Even in the dead of winter they have an impressive orchid display. Lots of flowers, and the whole building is alive with all kinds of plants. It always puts me in a good mood.
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Old 09-21-2008, 07:13 PM
 
55 posts, read 177,353 times
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I also like Merrifield and this is a timely time for this to come up. I am in much need of some landscaping at my house and back in the spring we started but other things happened (new hot water tank, death in family, etc.) so it was put on the back burner.

Now I want to start up again. My brother always used Merrifield and he had a beautiful yard. I need some ideas on what to plant, where to put them and how to handle them. We had a beautiful 12x30 screened in porch built on the back of the house and I need landscaping around that - that can handle full sun from like 12:30 on. I want hanging plants to put up on the porch and some in pots, etc. We finally got some grass to grow back after the porch was built (believe me my backyard looked like a lumber yard for quite some time). But, the grass is now growing good in certain sections, bad in others, different grass planted in some places - UGH! I know that Merrifield has a service where you can have them come out and give you ideas on what to plant on just a portion of a yard and that money can be applied to plants that you buy through them. Has anyone used that service? Results?

The new location for Merrifield is almost complete in Bristow and I can't wait to go there when I get the opportunity. It will be larger then the Fair Oaks location. The Stadler Nursery that opened up on 28 is pretty nice also.

Any good gardeners out there with some recommendations on what I could start out with?
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Old 09-21-2008, 07:16 PM
 
Location: Home is where the heart is
15,400 posts, read 25,832,670 times
Reputation: 18992
Quote:
Originally Posted by NOVA.123 View Post
Any good gardeners out there with some recommendations on what I could start out with?
First things first--do you have a lot of deer in your neighborhood?

Knock out roses seems to be thriving all over NOVA. They grow pretty big, so you get plenty of bang for your buck in 2-3 years.
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Old 09-21-2008, 07:31 PM
 
55 posts, read 177,353 times
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No, not a lot of deer at all but TONS of squirrels.

I really don't want roses. I want a border around each side of the porch. I looked at several options including boxwood (3 on each side) but boxwood was knocked off because they told me the sun would be too strong for them.

Something that would be 3 on each side of the bottom of the porch that can withstand heat and grow like 3' tall (more wide then tall).

I'm at a loss of the name of something that I did like but they only had 5 of the plants at the time and so I didn't purchase them. They were nice, something with golden in them. They are planted all along Braemar Parkway in Braemar Subdivision.
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Old 09-21-2008, 07:43 PM
 
55 posts, read 177,353 times
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http://www.cast-lighting.com/images/moon-end-porch-1.jpg (broken link)

Here is a picture that I just love that gives you an idea of what I have in mind. The front of my house currently has white azaleas which I want to take out. The house is Colonial white with Colonial Blue shutters. The white az. do nothing to pop. I'm thinking of putting Boxwoods in the front BUT I need to concentrate on the back first.
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Old 09-21-2008, 07:49 PM
 
Location: Home is where the heart is
15,400 posts, read 25,832,670 times
Reputation: 18992
Quote:
Originally Posted by NOVA.123 View Post
No, not a lot of deer at all but TONS of squirrels.

I really don't want roses. I want a border around each side of the porch. I looked at several options including boxwood (3 on each side) but boxwood was knocked off because they told me the sun would be too strong for them.

Something that would be 3 on each side of the bottom of the porch that can withstand heat and grow like 3' tall (more wide then tall).

I'm at a loss of the name of something that I did like but they only had 5 of the plants at the time and so I didn't purchase them. They were nice, something with golden in them. They are planted all along Braemar Parkway in Braemar Subdivision.
Take a photo, and the people at the information desk at Merrifield will be able to identify it. Even a small image on a cell phone is usually good enough. They would probably give you the best advice for good plants, too.

The most imprtant thing is to follow advice about how much space to leave between plants. They look so far apart the first year... it's hard not to put them closer. But trust me, in about two years they will take off and become huge. (The first two years most plants are busy setting their root systems and don't grow very big during that time. The third year is when they really grow.)

Or in other words: The first year they sleep. The second year they creep. But by the third year, they'll leap!
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Old 09-23-2008, 11:04 PM
 
67 posts, read 225,213 times
Reputation: 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by NOVA.123 View Post
No, not a lot of deer at all but TONS of squirrels.

I really don't want roses. I want a border around each side of the porch. I looked at several options including boxwood (3 on each side) but boxwood was knocked off because they told me the sun would be too strong for them.

Something that would be 3 on each side of the bottom of the porch that can withstand heat and grow like 3' tall (more wide then tall).

I'm at a loss of the name of something that I did like but they only had 5 of the plants at the time and so I didn't purchase them. They were nice, something with golden in them. They are planted all along Braemar Parkway in Braemar Subdivision.

Are you looking for evergreen or deciduous shrubs? Flowering? A mixed boarder, or all of one species?
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Old 09-24-2008, 02:20 PM
 
55 posts, read 177,353 times
Reputation: 37
Hi Greenie and thank you for responding. I'll post a picture to show you what I am dealing with. Give me your best ideas!
Attached Thumbnails
Nurseries - Merrifield Garden Center is the BEST, pass on Betty's Azalea Ranch-picture-landscaping.jpg  
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