When you enter Logee’s greenhouses in Danielson, CT you may want to make sure you do not suffer from claustrophobia because there is a jungle like atmosphere in this grower’s world unlike the traditional environment of a nursery.
As you enter the first greenhouse down some rickety old steps, you have to decide, do I go left or right? And depending on what you see down the narrow corridor between plants, you may opt to take a detour.
The aisles are so lush with plantings on all sides and vines are dripping from the greenhouse ceilings above, only one person can pass through at a time. You sometimes have to take the “high road” as one employee called it by stepping up to a side connecting pathway to allow other plant enthusiasts to pass by.
In my case, a group of very gabby women were coming towards my direction up the pathway, so I took the high road and stepped up to wait for them to go by in single file. They noticed I was admiring a papaya plant, and one lady (apparently the leader of this group) commented the plant has healing powers, where you can take the plants’ leaves and wrap them around your legs to sooth wounds, or something like that. She had a bit of an accent so I wasn’t sure what exactly she said, but it was obvious her group was super charged about the abundant offerings of fruiting and fragrant tropical plants at this unique plant destination. And I was too, I couldn’t wait to adventure more.
I put the papaya plant back down, and contemplated returning to look at it again later, knowing I would have to browse the entire greenhouse and adjacent house before I would decided on the plants to take home. And it would be a tough decision. Logee’s has a large selection of many interesting plants. And you have to look carefully – as in “up, down, and all around” to make sure you don’t miss something intriguing, plus walking in there can be a little tricky. Let’s just say, it is not for the dainty feet, for there are some water spots and ruts along the way, all representing the 121 years of service this location has offered for the plant hobbyists falling into the ‘untamed’ category.
The greenhouses are permanent homes to many large, mature plants growing in and around the shelves of smaller, starter plants for sale. The mature plants growing there reminds me of plants you see in conservatories, and they give you a sense of what is to come should you buy and grow a plant available at Logee’s. For example, a Golden Trumpet with rich, dark green leaves covered one area of the ceiling and was in full bloom. There were also Clematis, Bougainvillea, Pink Power Puff, and Chinese Lantern plants suspended all around – plus many more.
You can feel, smell, see, and sense the history of this long-standing establishment, and the mix of plants – at least to me – represent the mix of the plant passions behind their offerings by a family with apparently as much diversity as their selections at Logee’s. As a large poster will tell you in the check out area, the founder’s son had a passion for begonias, his daughter for herbs and scented geraniums and her son’s passion for fragrant tropicals and fruiting container plants expanded Logee’s world into the full jungle it is today.
A comical sight to me was a big Climbing Onion situated right next to an old telephone. The plants here intermingle with the walls, equipment, and surroundings so much, it almost has an eerie feeling to it – as if the place has horticultural ghosts from the past wandering in the spaces and structure’s crevasses. If you are fortunate enough (or unfortunate depending how you look at it) to be alone in the greenhouse, you may get spooked by one of them tapping on your shoulder, but as you turn around, it will be disguised as a vine brushing up against you. Funny how they can reach out that way.
“There is something mystical about Logee’s. The mix of plants is as eclectic as the diversity of personalities I’m sure grew this place into a destination worth visiting.”
Not only has Logee’s experienced diversity from a chain of generations, it survived a hurricane, blizzard, and energy crisis. When I read the place was once heated with 50 cord of wood, I said, “wow” out loud. But somehow, I imagined how enjoyable that may be for a plant lover, perhaps for the short term. The buildings and plants housed within Logee’s have survived it all. They have a lemon tree there, a showcase of the facility, at the ripe age of 113. It’s been there almost as long as the business of 121 years. I took a picture of the massive tree and its big green lemons, but decided to not post it here – I didn’t want to give away all the treasures – for you should make the trek out there sometime if you haven’t done so already. This place has lasted a long time – one has to wonder – how many more years will we get to enjoy it? I’m sure the plants in there will last longer than some of us.
Logee’s is located at 141 North Street, Danielson, CT. Their website is www.logees.com where you can easily view their plant availability and more information, but going out to the grower’s location is something worth doing. An adjacent rural town is Pomfret which has some local artisans and quaint shops to visit along the way. Stop for some good food at “Pizza 101” at 16A Mashamoquet Road, Pomfret Center before or after your trip. They have great sandwiches, grinders, salads, and yes, pizza there. Make a day trip of it because it is a long drive from at least my location – and perhaps your’s but the country roads are enjoyable if you have the time.
And yes, I did buy that papaya plant I first saw when I arrived at Logee’s. The funny part about this ending is the very nice young lady at the register offered a couple Logee’s magazines to me. I grabbed three. As I sat down eating my lunch after this trip, the 2013 issue shows a Babaco Papaya (Vasconceliea x heilbornii) as their featured plant on their latest catalog cover. It is described as a superb, fruiting container plant that tolerates cool weather much better than the standard papaya. As the owners Byron Martin and Laurelynn Martin further write on the inside cover, “You can grow this delicious fruit even if you’re a northern gardener.” So I got a papaya, and they featured a papaya – not exactly the same cultivar, but its ironic, isn’t it? I ended up with a papaya – to add to my fruiting collection this year. The one that lady told me had healing powers.
Container Crazy Cathy T
Can you guess what this plant is at Logee’s? A Pomegranate! (Oh and I bought a Megaskepasma erythrochlamys,…I got to go research that mouth full. The photo of the bloom attracted me to it.)