Friday, November 30, 2012

High Country Gardens going out of business

High Country Gardens, a mail-order company specializing in drought-tolerant perennials and cold-hardy cacti and succulents, is going out of business. That’s the sad news Tony Avent of Plant Delights Nursery posted on Facebook this morning. Receiving High Country Gardens’ printed catalog in the mail was like having coffee with a friend. I will miss them, and I wish owners David and Alma Salman the best for the future. I hope they will continue to share their expertise with the gardening world through some other channel.

During our Southwest trip this summer, we stopped at Santa Fe Greenhouses, High Country Garden’s retail store in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Everything was 40-60% off then—the writing was on the wall. Below is what I originally wrote about our visit.

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THE FOLLOWING WAS ORIGINALLY POSTED ON 7/31/2012

Our next stop was pure self-indulgence for yours truly. Like so many U.S. plant lovers, I’ve been receiving the High Country Gardens catalog for many years. Santa Fe Greenhouses is their retail operating in Santa Fe (they also have a retail nursery in Albuquerque under the High Country Gardens label) and from their Facebook page I knew that they were having a big sale: 40-60% off on everything. This is billed as a “vacation sale;” the Santa Fe location is closing on August 26 and is supposed to reopen in March of 2012.

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Garden Center

The biggest attraction for me was the succulent greenhouse. The prices were great (significantly lower than on the High Country Gardens web site) and I was hoping to score a few good plants. Unfortunately, the selection was fairly small—they must have sold a lot of succulents already. But I still scored three agaves I didn’t have: Agave utahensis var. utahensis, Agave havardiana and Agave parry var. neomexicana. All are very cold hardy, not that it matters much in our climate.

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Agave parry var. neomexicana

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Agave utahensis var. utahensis

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Eight of their greenhouses

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Cold hardy cacti. I was very happy to find a rare claret cup variety native to White Sands (Echinocereus triglochidiatus ‘White Sands’). It grows much taller than the species and is still super hardy.

Santa Fe Greenhouses also has a xeric display garden. I quickly walked through it but didn’t take many photos because the light was very harsh. Very few plants were labeled, and in general the garden looked like it needed some TLC.

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Xeric display garden


High Country Gardens’ remaining business assets will be sold off in an online auction on December 10th through 13th.

6 comments:

  1. That's really sad, as I've bought several plants from them, and was always happy with their quality and service.

    I imagine they may have expanded a bit too much at the wrong time, and the economic times just took their toll. No mention on their website, but hopefully there will be deals to be had.

    Best wishes to the owners of the nursery that introduced me to Agastaches, which I can't imagine not having in my garden.

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    1. From what little I was able to find out, the prolonged drought in New Mexico made matters worse. Not sure if they had crop failures because of a lack of water. But the economy was definitely a contributing factor. But no matter what the reason, it's very sad indeed.

      Now I have to take especially good care of the plants I bought at their Santa Fe nursery this summer :-).

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  2. Oh, no!! It my favorite stop in Santa Fe for all the plants we got. It seemed like they were doing so well, and it is really sad to see them going out of business.

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  3. Sad news. It's a hard business. I've known some excellent plants people who were also excellent business people, and even they couldn't survive.

    Here the surviving, successful garden center supports its plant habit by selling high-margin doo-dads and tchotchkes. Seems to be the only way. Selling plants is something that is done for love, not riches. Sad that the overwhelming Wall Street focus on ever-increasing profits and big corporate control of all facets of the economy has made businesses done for love untenable.

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  4. It's sad to see another great specialty nursery going out of business! Unfortunately, tchotchkes seem to be the key to survival here too.

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  5. I came across this closing late last week. I still came to treasure the unique niche HCG plants as a low desert gardener in Tempe, Arizona...I bought between 400 -500 plants online from HCG for a decade or more. Agastache's were also introduced to me by them. I love the comment equating the HCG catalog to having coffee with a friend. The website was fabulous. It is almost like losing a pet. Hope that someone is able to step in, fill the gap & replace some of those very unique varieties someday soon. Jeff Adams, Tempe, AZ

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