All good things must come to an end

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Perhaps it is fate, or perhaps it was just pure dumb luck but one way or another last year I found myself driving down south along Raytown Road to a tiny little Garden center called Longview Gardens. I pulled in the small gravel driveway that passed a farmhouse and small barn and stepped out of the car. Immediately I was in love, some might call the place dinky at first glance but I would say “quaint” is certainly the word to use. You grab a radio flyer wagon (or a double decker if need be) and head down the narrow gravel paths in the cold frames past row after row of perennials and annuals. The variety of plants is amazing- 6 types of Liatrus, close to twenty Sedum, countless tomatoes and everything in between. All the plants were reasonably priced and locally grown. Every time I visited, I filled my little double decker wagon to the brim and usually was less than $100 lighter in the pocket.

A few months ago I pulled up to the counter with my wagon tightly packed with goodies for the spring and was surprised to hear that all the plants were 15% off. I couldn’t remember hearing about a sale, but not one to complain about saving money I happily paid for my loot and headed off. About two weeks later I was back for more and they were still 15% off, and I began to be suspicious.
And then at work the next day, as I was telling a coworker about my purchases she remarked that what would I do next year when they were closed? Unfortunately, it was true. After 27 years the owners of Longview Gardens had decided to retire and as the center is in their backyard, they couldn’t very sell the place. Craig and I made a trip last night and it was sad to see the roses sold, the groundcovers gone, and rows of empty stands were hundreds of 4″ pots used to be. We still managed to fill a wagon but it made me sad to realize that our visits to the center were numbered.

I can’t explain it, but it is just the type of place that gives you a warm feeling just by being there. The type of place where if you hit 10 red lights and are stuck behind an oldsmobile going 20 mph on the way there, you don’t care because you are in such a good mood just knowing what awaits you. I can’t say that about any of the commercial greenhouses in the area, of which there are dozens. The Rosehill’s and Earl May’s just don’t give me that warm fuzzy feeling. And not to mention their plant selection pales in comparison.


Longview Garden center closes at the end of June, which will be here before I know it. And after that, I really do not know what to do. I suppose it will be back to ordering 90% of my plants on the internet. A few more weeks, and it will feel like I have lost a very close friend indeed.


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