Support your local plant store
But where are all the small retail plant nurseries (or stores) in our county? I scoped out the area recently and located all the ones I could. A few I could not reach. Sadly, some excellent nurseries have recently “gone under” during this COVID mess, including Taylor Nursery and Superior Nursery.
But quite a few remain, and here’s a starting list, organized by quadrant, for Marion County.
Let me encourage you to take this opportunity—while it’s so hot, and nothing’s going on in the garden—to explore those remaining local small plant nurseries. You can go online to find more details and give the little guy a boost.
Sitting at number one is Kenny’s Place Nursery— a business with a mission. Matt Langley, an employee, explains that workers are all special needs adults.
“A man named Kenny started this place. His special-needs brother would come to work with him. When Kenny passed away his brother had no place to go. So, Kenny’s parents decided to open up the nursery, so others could come too,” Langley said.
This non-profit business is an adult day training center, or ADT, with 14 workers, and carries a wide variety of plants.
Bob Wines Nursery, a family business, has been around since 1952. They specialize in camellias and azaleas, carry many other flowers, and will deliver and install anything purchased.
Close to town near the new rail overpass sits Tower Hill Nursery. Owner Ryan Mims says he always strives to create a small-town country feel. Besides flowers, his place specializes in large tree installment.
Nearby in a strip mall, Peacock Village is a quaint little store whose shelves overflow with fairy gardens, houseplants and succulents.
Heading north of town, along 441, sits McGovern’s Nursery, with fair prices and a wide variety of plants. This heritage-family owner’s past boasts of its agricultural roots that go back 100 years in Marion County.
Tucked away close by we find Grace Nursery. They carry unique hard-to-find-plants at great prices. The owner’s passion is to educate the client and provide plants that boost the health of humans and nature.
On Highway 40 near Interstate 75 is The Yard Stop. They carry vibrantly healthy plants in a showy garden center with locally sourced plants as well as some big equipment.
Also near I-75 on Highway 27 is another family-owned company—since 2009—S & S Brothers Nursery. Their rows and rows of beautiful plants will draw you right in.
Southwest (and Dunnellon)
Not too far south of the Paddock Mall we find Shady Road Nursery. For those interested in native Florida vegetation, this business carries about 70% Florida native plants, and is working to increase that number. The owner gives individual help and personal attention to your landscaping needs.
Head southwest along State Road 200 and across from Oak Run we discover Murray’s Gardens and Fun Finds, LLC. These folks specialize in ivy and geraniums and carry a little bit of everything. If they don’t have what you need, they are eager to locate it for you.
Dunnellon boasts Grumbles, a gift shop with loads and loads of flowers of all kinds and a wide statuary collection.
Paradise Airplants, also of Dunnellon, specializes in airplants and colorful bromeliads. Who knew we had such a place?
Bob Smoley’s Gardenworld—accessed online only, but also in Dunnellon, concentrates on cacti, succulents and euphorbias.
Olive Tree Growers of Dunnellon displays a wide variety of olive trees, of great recent interest to the gardeners, and offers helpful educational advice based on years of experience.
What an amazing variety of businesses right under our noses. From cacti, bromeliads, fairy gardens, and camellias to olives, Marion County is home to a wide assortment of nurseries just begging us to take a field trip.
Now, when that little whisper reminds us to shop for plants at local small businesses, at least we’ll have a clue where to start.
Together, intentionally, we can help our local economy, because after all, that little-guy is actually us.
For more information on Florida’s native plant nurseries visit www.fann.org.
For information on the Florida Native Plant Society and local chapters, go to www.fnps.org
Jennifer Odom is an avid gardener and an Ocala-based author. Her latest novel “Girl with a Black Soul” was recently released. For information visit jenniferodom.com