Posted: 10/09/2014 at 12:36
I bought my first and last plants from Parkers in the 80s. let's just say they have very creative colour catalogue producers and the quality of the plants and packing was poor too.
Buying plants from supermarkets and chain garden centres almost guarantees the plants are bog standard varieties produced in industrial quantities and probably in the Netherlands. As Pansyface says, they need to make profits for every company in the chain of production from the petro chemicals making the pots to the transport, compost, seed and cuttings selectors and packagers, equipment manufacturers and distributors.
Buying plants from local nurseries means yo uhave to pay for extra persoanl care in teh raising of the plant but you're likely to get something less common and of better quality and will be able to chat about its needs and suitability for your garden and shkills so les smoney will be wasted on failures.
The most efficient way to get new plants is to sow and grow and propagate your own and swap with friends. There are so many great seeds and suppliers out there. I now find I only need to splurge on extra spring bulbs each autumn and then treat myself to tender plants for my summer window boxes and baskets plus the occasional planned purchase of a new rose, clematis or something for a new space made as I'm clearing weeds or reorganising beds. It also pays to buy a plant that can be split so I always check perennial rootballs for the possibility pof making 2 or 3 or more out of one then grow them on in pots for a year before planting them out with the big boys and girls.