Nursery Visit: Pondside Nursery

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DSC_0124No garden news beats news of a brand new garden center, nursery or greenhouse opening, and in the past three to five years the Mid-Hudson Valley has been lucky enough to welcome quite a few. (It doesn’t completely soothe the loss of an equal number of businesses we’ve seen close, but it does help.)

Pondside Nursery in Hudson, NY opened for business in 2013. In 2014 they joined the vendor lineup at Hudson Valley Garden Fair where I first had the pleasure of checking them out. One look at the gorgeous selection of plant-geek-approved plants and nursery stock they brought, along with meeting and greeting the delightful staff, moved a visit to Pondside to the top of the “Nurseries to Visit” list.

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Excerpt from the Pondside website: Pondside Nursery is the latest enterprise of Claverack native Jake Watts, of landscape design company, A+ Gardens. After purchasing a house and adjacent property on Route 9G just south of Hudson, Jake’s vision of a top-notch garden center in central Columbia County began to take shape. He brought on board key employees of former Loomis Creek Nursery and “Hudson’s new home for the avid gardener,” Pondside Nursery, was born!

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Robert C. Anderson (Pondside’s buyer, blogger, nursery staffer and seemingly all-around go-to guy) was kind enough to answer a few questions about the nursery, gardeners, plans and plants for 2015.

Pondside’s tagline, “Hudson’s new home for the avid gardener,” really speaks to me, and I’m sure many other die-hards as well. Who do you picture as this avid gardener, and what do you think they (we!) want/need?
We LOVE new gardeners, and there are many moving to our area, so although we carry lots of hard-to-find plants that advanced gardeners love, we have a mission to convert any and all to the pleasures of gardening. Most of us who work there, including the owner Jake, are real plant nuts, and we want to convey our enthusiasm to our customers whether they be novices or old hands. All they need is the desire to learn, to grow things, to get their hands in the soil and connect with it. So they can be avid gardeners whether they have experience or not. 

DSC_0164Regarding our tools, pottery, etc.  My philosophy is that I DON’T want to carry everything, so we have a limited inventory of non-plant items, selected for their quality, utility, and good design. Hand-thrown pottery by Guy Wolff is something we get to purchase once a year and when it’s gone, it’s gone. His pots always sell out. I have a great line of hand tools by the Dutch company DeWit; all of them are hand-forged, they’re guaranteed a lifetime and are just beautiful pieces of craftsmanship. We have gloves and crocheted cotton hats from Foxgloves, which is based in Beacon, NY and makes great products. Also we have beautiful, simple and inexpensive Italian terracotta flower pots that are made in the classic rimless design that’s hard to find.

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The conifer collection at Pondside is such a treat – and very tempting!  It’s not everywhere you find Iseli Nursery stock for sale in the area. (Above: Pinus densiflora “Golden Ghost” )
Every spring we get a big truckload of unusual, hard to find conifers and Japanese Maples from the west coast (we select the varieties that are hardy here in Zone 5). Their arrival always creates a flurry of interest among our customers who are advanced collectors or doing specialty gardens, and the garden designers who know how hard it is to find some of these items. Selection varies every year, but it’s always interesting. I wrote about last year’s shipment in one of the blog entries on the website, it’s called “Conifer Candy Box” if you want to read more.

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What are your current picks for must-have plants?
I can’t seem to get enough Hellebores to satisfy the demand. We’re about twenty years behind the British, as usual in horticulture, but the massive interest in this group of plants and the hybridizing that’s been going on has resulted in a flood of really remarkable cultivars… doubles, picotees, all shades of pink, plum, peach, white, yellow, wine red, slatey black.  Really gorgeous, shade tolerant, great foliage, and deer resistant.

Natives are BIG, especially those plants that serve as wildlife food and pollinators. Customers are looking at the whole ecology of their plantings now, not just the aesthetics. This year we’ll have some of the cool new Calycanthus hybrids, Paw-Paws and more native grasses.

What are you excited about for 2015? 
We’ve expanded our sales area with a beautiful new shade structure next to our spring-fed stream, which is going to provide some opportunities to plant the area with moisture loving plants. Our fantastic stone masons are just finishing a retaining wall that will have a sunny planting bed at the top, where I’ll be installing a meadow-like planting with a matrix of native grasses interlaced with Echinaceas, Asters, Liatris, Baptisias and more.  Then there’s another area – sunny, dry and scrubby – that I’m developing as a showcase for Sedums and other drought-tolerant plants. Our display areas will increase substantially this year, which helps our customers visualize what their purchase will look like planted and mature.

DSC_0160As always I’m excited to see our customers again!  We have so many loyal repeat customers now, many of whom I know by name.  It’s just fun to chat with them and reconnect after this trying winter.

HVGA is happy to welcome Pondside Nursery back once again as a Hudson Valley Garden Fair 2015 vendor, and be sure to add them to your “Nurseries to Visit List” for this season as well.

Pondside Nursery  
5918 Rt 9G, Hudson NY 12534  
518.828.1179 | robert@pondsidenursery.com  
Hours: 9am – 6pm daily (opening for the season Friday 4/10)
www.pondsidenursery.com
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