Troy is a plantsman, author, photographer and garden designer who co-hosts Nashville Public Television's hit gardening show, Volunteer Gardener.  He has recently joined forces with Garden Travelers, of Indianapolis, Indiana, leading unique, small group garden and history focused tours both at home and abroad. His personal blog, "Gardener Cook" is a hit with gardeners and food enthusiasts, alike. For more information about Troy, visit

Recent Blog Posts

Apr 20
Jewels of the Spring Garden   (1 comment)

Mar 26
Dreaming of Summer  

Mar 01
Where, Oh Where, Is Spring?  

Feb 11
The Roses of Winter  

Jan 24
Classic Gardens and Country Estates of England  

Jan 13
The View From Wits’ End  




Dreaming of Summer
by Troy Marden - posted 03/26/14

One of the most frequently asked questions when people visit or see pictures of my garden is, "Where do you find such cool plants?"  The answer is, "Everywhere!"  You just have to develop a keen eye and look past the most common offerings.  Petunias, while they have their place, rarely, if ever, find a home at Wits' End.  And even if you are tempted by the most common of bedding plants, at least look for the most unusual forms of more common plants that you can find.  That's what will set your garden apart from the others.

While I do plenty of shopping at and firmly believe in shopping my local garden centers--and encourage you to do the same--sometimes I have to cast a wider net to find the best of the best.  I also encourage you to do that!  It makes the garden much more exciting!

Here is a list of a few favorite mail-order nurseries and their websites to get you started.  I buy plants from many of these sources each year and have always been pleased with the quality of the plants and service I receive.  Happy shopping and gardening!   Rare and unusual Perennials, Tropicals, Annuals and Shrubs   Excellent selection of unusual perennials   Some of the most exotic Perennials and Annuals of any nursery   For the vegetable gardeners who love heirlooms and unusual varieties   Swan Island Dahlias, the most beautiful dahlias available today   Exceptional hellebores (Lenten roses) for Southern gardens   A great mix of natives and exotics, the most unusual varieties of each   Rare and unusual perennials, bulbs and more   Rare and unusual woody plants (trees and shrubs) and perennials   Also top notch when it comes to things rare and unusual.  In the Pacific Northwest, but they sell a variety of plants that will grow well in the South.


This is by no means an exhaustive list.  There are hundreds of fantastic mail order nurseries in the world today, but these are a few favorites that get my repeat business.  So kick back and start browsing--and maybe keep the credit card in the other room until the impulse buying period has passed...



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