One of the tough parts of moving is forging a new supporting network. I expected to have to find a new plumber, new doctor, new electrician, new grocery store, new stylist, etc. etc., but I was flummoxed after the move to realize that I needed to find a new source of native plant material and that, even worse, I had no clue where to begin.
In Kansas, I had found a fairly robust group of alternatives for acquiring native plants, including roadside collection of seeds, a few excellent individual plantspeople, Dyck Arboretum, and the occasional nursery. Here in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida, I was finding nothing but...box stores. Worse, when I looked at the plants in said box stores, they literally ALL bore the disheartening label, "We have been treated with neonicotinoid insecticides to provide a death trap for any and all insects in your garden." Okay, maybe that wasn't exactly how the label read, but that's essentially what it meant.
Searching online, I finally found mention of a native plant nursery near DeFuniak Springs, about an hour away - 7 Pines Native Plant Nursery. Last fall we made the trek up there and I was incredibly pleased by what I found. Last weekend we went back, and I am happy to report that my initial positive impression was spot on.
Over the course of the last week, Greg and I have managed to get most of the plants we purchased into the ground, so I'm beginning to get the itch to return to 7 Pines and pick up more plants. I have a sneaking suspicion this is a trip I will be making many times in the future!