An unapologetic plant geek shares advice and opinions on gardening, the contrived and the natural landscape, as well as occasional topics from the other side of the gate.

March 14, 2009

Sandy's Plants

Yesterday I was able to attend an open house at Sandy's Plants in Mechanicsville, Va. which is northwest of here just outside of Richmond. While it was cold, rainy, overcast and downright miserable in Tidewater, it was all that plus snowing and sleeting there, not the best day for touring Sandy's. We get a portion of the perennials we sell at work from Sandy's, and though that is not my area of responsibility, I thought it would be fun to go anyway. Friday's are normally a day off for me, and it was probably as good a day to go as any, if the weather had been nice I would have wanted to stay home in the garden.

Sandy's Plants Inc. was founded by a former school teacher oddly enough named Sandy. She had a knack for growing and dividing Creeping Phlox and Candytuft and started selling them. Now they offer close to 2800 different plants which are found in garden centers all over the mid-Atlantic. Most of the plants are grown uncovered outside in the elements perhaps giving them a little extra sturdiness. When you visit they have golf carts available for you use as you search the fields and tour the display gardens, which are not just filled with plants, but with fun sculptures too.

For the open house we were shown a Power Point display of the new plants they are offering for 2009, quite a few of which did not make it into the catalog. We also got to see many of the plants they are growing as part of the Stepable program. These are plants that you can put between stepping stones or in other crevices that can take varying degrees of foot traffic. We have sold these types of plants longer than there has been any kind of special program, and I like our name for them better - Crack Plants, but I am sure with its drug connotations that name would not be as marketable. In addition to being fed well, we each got to take home a couple of plants gratis. I snagged a Rudbekia maximus and a Sedum 'White Diamonds'.

Behind the building where we met was a wooded display garden, and of course at this time of year Hellebores were well represented, but there were other things to enjoy as well.

Below are some of the growing beds.

Here are some of the plants being grown for the Stepable program.

Finally, some of the sculpture.


  1. I will come back to this post for some very creative and fun ideas with the sculptures. Love it!

  2. Great post! Sandy's is a wonderful place. She donated a LOT of Steppables for the Learning Garden last fall. She is a very nice lady.

  3. I went to the open house last year - it looks like the weather was a lot nicer then. I'm looking forward to goint up there sometime this spring.

  4. What a treat it must be visit Sandy's Plants. I would love to see the nursery sometime. All those gorgeous groundcovers ~ and beautiful hellebores too.

  5. What wonderful plants & sculptures. I'll have to pay a visit there if I am ever up that way.

  6. We were treated to a trip up there last summer by a friend (another Les!) and had a great time, although there was very little I needed to buy. The best part was getting to drive the golf cart, except for the few dicey moments when we nearly wiped out while trying to negotiate "Hosta hill"! Gotta get to your nursery soon to track down that male Aucuba - the "girls" are fixing to bloom here!

  7. Tina,
    I think that Sandy's husband is the artist for all the metal sculptures. I have heard her say he hates plants, but loves to build things.

    She is indeed a very nice lady.

    Phillip M.,
    I think any kind of weather would have been nicer that what we had.

    This was a treat. Sandy's is very easy to get to just off of 295 northeast of Richmond.

    You should visit. You are only an hour away. Although she is mainly wholesale, she will sell to the public, just don't expect full service.

    The carts are fun. There were three of us in a cart built for two. Every time we stopped the cold rain on the roof would slide over the sides and get the two on the outside wet. I'll let you know when Mr. Goldstrike gets in.