The Pure Gardener
Geneva shop has everything for those with a green thumb
August 11, 2010
Pure Gardener Owner Craig MacLean quickly solved my tomato problem.
"It's called Blossom End Rot," he said. "Tomatoes need a lot of calcium. You should have added it when you planted, but if you work some in now, it won't cure them, but it will help prevent it." Whew! I thought I was facing complete crop failure. It's nice to walk into a store where people know more than box-back readers.
"We don't do dime store stuff," said MacLean. "We go for a better value. Everything in here, we've tried ourselves. If we don't like it, we don't sell it. And we're always trying new things so we don't get bored." MacLean and his wife Annette are members of the Seed Savers Exchange, based in Decorah, Iowa. Members share seeds from all over the world.The Pure Gardener offers a wide variety of plant material. And I mean wide. More than 50 varieties of tomatoes. Ten to 12 types of thyme, ten varieties of basil, a pepper plant with variegated leaves -- and fruit!
"It's called a fish pepper. Goes well with fish or shellfish. Or the Melrose pepper, brought over by the Italians who settled Melrose Park. That's great for grilling. We can recommend types of tomatoes based on whatever people want to use them for: flavor, sauces, slicing. The pink varieties from Eastern Europe have a lot of flavor."
The Pure Gardener opened in November 2006. The MacLeans were formerly managers at the old Geneva Greenhouse, a longtime fixture for area gardeners. When the greenhouse property sold, the MacLeans looked around and found the former Pure Oil Station site was available.
"It's not a greenhouse so we couldn't call it that. My wife came up with the name The Pure Gardener. She makes it beautiful. I just unload trucks. These miniature gardens are her work. They're like a doll house with living plants. People are going nuts for these."
Pure Gardener sells the Dr. Earth organic and pro-biotic line of fertilizers. "No miracle is needed," said MacLean. "We're getting rave reviews from our customers on this."
The MacLeans and staff keep busy year round. "We do commercial work for restaurants as well as residential. We do all the grounds at Dotson Place. From November to about December 10, it's a blur around here. Everybody wants their winter outdoor planters and wreaths at the same time. We get branches from all over the country 24 hours after they're cut."
The Pure Gardener sells herbs, heirloom vegetables and flowers, the original evergreen reindeer, fresh greens, custom containers, hanging baskets, mums, one-in-a-lifetime quality tools, worm composters, Earth Boxes, sprout seeds and supplies, organics, artisan soaps and lotions, local art and unique gifts.
It's hard to walk out of The Pure Gardener without buying something.