Listen, I don’t have much of a green thumb. It’s a characteristic I had reluctantly accepted after killing half a dozen plants. As the managing editor of Hardware Retailing, a trade magazine for independent home improvement retailers, I had come to terms that if gardening pros aren’t knocking my door down for advice from me, it’s not the end of the world.
I have other skills to fall back on, right? Like spelling, grammar, etc. Well, that was before I found the Gardens of Blackhawk at Blackhawk Hardware.
I had all but given up my dream of becoming a gardener when I was out on assignment in Charlotte, N.C. Hidden in a back alley, the Gardens of Blackhawk is often nicknamed The Secret Garden to Charlotte residents.
Everyone I spoke with as I browsed the towering garden displays that spanned over 15,000 feet said that the owners who run Blackhawk Hardware down the street brought their expertise to the gardening center and can transform even the most hopeless gardener into a green thumb. Game on.
Blackhawk Hardware’s owner Jim Wilkerson and the garden center manager Jody Shaul took special care of me as they showed me the different plant options and how to properly care for a garden.
One thing I can tell you is that no Home Depot employee ever took the time to explain the difference between heaving and hedging to me.
What was so cool about Blackhawk was the plants and how they were displayed. So diverse. So healthy. So inspiring. Jody told me that the store gets anywhere from two to three truckloads, five to six times a week. In addition to using local growers, Jody even goes out to Portland, Ore., every year to check out new plants that customers might like. Now that’s what I’m talking about!
Jim invited me to come back in a few months when they started stocking Christmas inventory. Gardening and Christmas? Be still my heart.
While inspired, I’ll admit I was totally overwhelmed. Jody obviously noticed because he slowed down and started talking about the different ways to plant, fertilize and rotate plants. He assured me that even someone with a reputation as “questionable” as mine (thanks, dude) can be a gardener with the right help.
I was just blown away how passionate the employees were and how much they knew about gardening.
One thing I’ll never forget about my time at the Gardens of Blackhawk was when Jody explained that it is his job to help customers beautify their lives. What an awesome way for a retailer to think about selling plants and gardening supplies. But that’s what being an independent home improvement retailer is all about … helping people in their community continue to improve their lives. And even though I don’t live in Charlotte, Jody and the rest of the staff at Blackhawk Hardware inspired me to try my “not-so-green-thumb at gardening.” Today, I’ll start growing potted plants in my apartment, tomorrow a garden oasis!
If you have a similar story about your favorite hardware store and how they have inspired you to improve your home, your garden or your life, I’d love to hear your comments. They might even be featured on PlanItDIY in an upcoming post. If you are looking for a hardware store to love, check out our store locator.