Sights and sounds emanating from Plants & Planters Nursery in Richardson on a bluebird day are enough to make the surrounding urban jungle disappear.
Wind chimes reverberate through the air; customers peruse hundreds of colorful flowers, shrubs, ornamental trees and houseplants; and staff members scurry across the outdoor garden to unload shipments or help hoist bags of soil onto wagons.
At the center of it all are owners and spouses Jerry Duncan and Shelley Rosenfeld, who opened Plants & Planters in 1978 at Spring Valley Road and US 75. In 1995, the business relocated to a 1.5-acre property near the intersection of Greenville Avenue and East Collins Boulevard.
All that Plants & Planters is today evolved from an interest Rosenfeld took in houseplants, she said. At first, the store sold indoor plants exclusively, but as Rosenfeld’s industry knowledge grew, so did her inventory, which today includes over 50 types of cacti and succulents; 80-100 types of tropical plants; 75 different shrub varieties; 40 types of hanging basket plants; and, on average, 150 varieties of bedding plants.
“Everything evolved from being self-educated,” she said. “I started trying to figure out ways to get a better selection at a cheaper price.”
That search for high-quality products at a low price led Rosenfeld to Florida, where she started handpicking her inventory on an annual basis. Today, all indoor plants sold at Plants & Planters come from either Florida or California.
Most of the remaining inventory is trucked in by Duncan, who travels once a week to East Texas for bedding and hanging basket plants and to Louisiana every other week for shrubs.
The business also places a large emphasis on pottery, the majority of which comes from Vietnam, Rosenfeld said. At any given time there are about 500 planters available for purchase.
A big part of the business success is the belief in quality over quantity, Rosenfeld said. Rather than offering everything under the sun, Rosenfeld said she carefully examines every plant that comes through the door. If a plant is too dry, too tall, waterlogged or discolored, she is not afraid to turn it away.
She also stays keenly attuned to trends, which as of late have seen a resurgence in the popularity of houseplants, particularly among the younger generation, she said.