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Gardening goodbyes

I spent last night putting together a potting bench that I bought on sale at Smith and Hawken on Monday. I've been looking for something to replace this rotting piece of furniture that had been sitting on my back porch for the last few years. My dad had given it to me in an effort to "save" something from being thrown away. If it looks like my mom is permanently going to get rid of something, his last ditch effort is to give it to one of his kids. I think the furniture was originally supposed to be a bar, but it had been left outside for a few years and started to warp.

I'd had my eye on the Smith and Hawken potting bench in the catalog for a few years now. But then I'd had my eye on a lot of things in the Smith and Hawken catalog for as long as I've been able to fantasize about my own home. It was one of those stores that I figured would always be around. One of its outlet stores wasn't too far from my house in Berkeley, and I bought a lot of stuff there. Including, some awesome patio furniture. *sob* I could always find a birthday or Christmas present for my mom there, the avid gardener. I bought my parents a copper firepit one year when I was living in Berkeley, and I can't even count the number of gardening implements I've bought or had given to me from there.

I bought my house from someone who used to work there, and there are a few items scattered around my yard, some pots, my compost pile, a birdhouse, that were obviously from the store. I sort of always had it in the back of my head that once I figured out the remodel of my house, I'd buy outdoor furniture for the back yard from Smith and Hawken.

Of course, the problem with Smith and Hawken is that its furniture is ridiculously expensive. $400 for a chair. Upwards of $600 for a chair. Outdoor tables in the thousands. I think that they probably would have been ok if they'd been a small company, though, focusing on their niche audience. But they were bought out by Scott's pesticides a few years ago, and I think Scotts wanted to bring their stuff to places like Home Depot and Lowes. That model didn't work out, and Scott's decided that Smith and Hawken didn't work in their larger business model, so in June, they announced that the store was closing. I read somewhere that the people named Smith and Hawken were sort of glad, as they're organic gardeners and having their namesake owned by a pesticide company grated considerably.

The website has been down for months, but the retail stores will be open until they can get rid of all of the inventory, which is why I found myself with a new potting bench. It was 30% off of the original price, and I thought that was a fair one. I wandered around the store on Monday looking at all the wonderful garden stuff that I had assumed would be always around to lust after. But soon it will be gone. I think that I'll probably go back next month to look at the trelises. I want another for my front yard, like the I bought one there a few years ago.

It's strange to be sad about the closing of a store where I can barely afford any of the items therein, but I knew that the quality was really good, and the staff was really knowledgeable, and it felt like a place for gardeners. I like to think of myself as a gardener, and as a result, I am sad that a place for me is closing down.



( 2 comments — Say something )
Sep. 16th, 2009 10:35 pm (UTC)
Potting Bench
Love your blog. Sitting in the Colorado Mtns I wish I could have gotten my S&H potting bench to you. I plan to sell mine but don't have a clue what to charge. It is in great shape. Any clues?

Mr. Tom
Sep. 16th, 2009 10:47 pm (UTC)
Re: Potting Bench
I paid $132 for mine. Maybe $100???
( 2 comments — Say something )