As much as I love an artful garden, there is something about the serried ranks of pots in a great nursery that gives one a special thrill...when that nursery is Monrovia (which is probably the most ubiquitous brand in American garden centers), the scale is supersized. I have known Monrovia plants since I was a child. There was a time when I thought I was too sophisticated to admire the almost inconceivable level of logistical excellence it takes to produce that number of good plants all over America. I give up: Monrovia is just plain awesome. Driving through the 500 acres of just their Oregon nursery (they have nurseries in California, out East and Heaven knows where else) is mind boggling. I never saw a weed. The symmetry, the variety, the scale are all incredible. And the quality. During the Perennial Plant Symposium Wednesday nursery tour we went to a half dozen of America's greatest nurseries. Each dazzled me with their size, their scope and their plants. And Monrovia rose to the occasion!
I am a believer in local produce and the craftsmanship of artesenal products of all sorts. Bigger does not mean better in my book (by and large). But my hat goes off to Monrovia: they are the best example I know that bigger can be pretty darned good indeed.