Today, I’d like to introduce you to another new series here on Blue Heron Landscapes, called “Three Questions With…” It’ll be a chance to dig a little deeper into the nursery visits, coax secrets out of design pros, or simply a quick post on something I have been wanting to learn more about. I hope you enjoy this series, and especially our first guest on the hot seat, Laurelynn Martin from Logee’s Tropical Plants!
Regular readers will remember last week’s post on our Connecticut Garden Blogger’s visit to Logee’s Tropical Plants in Danielson, CT. If you missed it you can find it here. As we walked around the nursery I fell in love with the age of the buildings and wondered of the stories behind a business that has survived for so long. I decide to ask a few questions of the owner, and she was gracious enough to provide these answers.
BHL: How did Logee’s come to be, and what is your part in its story?
Laurelynn: Byron and I are business partners and co-parents (not spouses). We are the present owners of Logee’s. I’ve been around for about 20 years. Byron grew up in the business, he is third generation. His Grandfather, William D. Logee, started the business in 1892 as a cut-flower business,and then quickly became interested in tropical and unusual plants. Our famous Ponderosa Lemon Tree, “the American Wonder Lemon” was brought up in 1900 by train from Philadelphia and then was picked up by horse and buggy at the Danielson Train station and is still in the original greenhouse today. It produces fruit up to 5 pounds. We propagate off this original plant today.
BHL: Logee’s has been around a long time, how is it that it has survived when so many garden centers haven’t?
Laurelynn: Logee’s has survived through innovation and change. In the great depression, Byron’s mother, Joy Logee Martin, had an interest in scented geraniums and Begonias and started the first mail-order catalogue in the 1930’s. Besides mailing plants in the 30’s Logee’s also went door-to-door selling plants until the depression was over. Most of our business is still through mail-order (80 percent) where we sell 2.5 or 4 inch pots, wrap them and ship them all over the country. However, our walk-in trade, is about 20%. We have survived lately by always seeking out the unusual, the rare and our big movement is toward sustainability and going green. Our most popular category of plants is tropical fruits. Growing your own food! Our “going green efforts” are seen in our most recent project of building an energy-efficient greenhouse (which saves us about 70% in fuel). We are also practicing IPM (Integrated Pest Management). We are an environmentally conscious company.
BHL: What changes do you see in today’s market, and how is Logee’s prepared to meet them?
Laurelynn: In Today’s market, people are interested in not only the product offering but what the company stands for. Our new greenhouse reduces our carbon footprint and our use of IPM instead of chemicals is safer for our workers and our consumers. We are also aware of keeping in touch with our customers through social media and letting people know that we are local, growing our own product. We also stay in touch with what consumers want. They want any plants to do with producing food. We are also expanding into medicinal plants fully aware of health and wellness as a major factor in today’s aging baby boomers.
Thank you Laurelynn, for sharing a little history of Logee’s and a peak into what’s to come. And to all you plantaholics out there (you know who you are), make sure to add a visit to Logee’s to your horticultural bucket list, you’ll be glad you did!
See you in the garden,