Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Verdant Oasis in the Middle of Lexington

DSC_2449This year, I’ve gotten the crazy idea to try and grow some of our own food. This is worrisome because I’ve been known to kill cactus. Last fall, I started some kitchen herbs and those are still (mostly) alive. In the early Spring, I sweet-talked my husband into building some raised beds for our teeny tiny front yard.

My grand plans to grow vegetables from seeds turned out to be terrible plans. Everything died just before they were to be transplanted outdoors.

On to Plan B!

Enter Michler’s – a Lexington florist and greenhouse for over a century. Originally, I planned to go to Fayette Seed for my transplants, but it turns out they have operating hours that don’t mesh with my schedule. A friend suggested Michler’s – by way of saying, “You know…that place on Maxwell Street.” I did not, in fact, know.

I wracked my brain, trying to think of anything resembling a nursery in that part of Lexington. In all my four years of living there, and having UK friends living in the Aylesford neighborhood, I never once noticed the little nursery on Maxwell tucked away after the apartment buildings of north campus but before you get to the shops near Woodland Avenue.

DSC_2458My husband and I visited and were in awe of the rambling old greenhouses, filled with lots of plants that I could never name. It turns out the greenhouses that were so picturesque, that my husband described as looking “like they’ve been there forever” have, indeed been there a long time! Michler’s proclaims itself as “Kentucky’s oldest continually operating florist and greenhouses”.





DSC_2460The staff was friendly and knowledgeable. They put up with me asking a ton of newbie questions. The variety of flowers, ferns and landscape adornments was fantastic. If I were in the market for ornamental items I wouldn’t hesitate to spend my money, locally, at Michler’s. Since the plants are grown, here, it makes sense to me that they’d thrive and flourish, here. I’m not so sure you’d have the same luck with plants grown in greenhouses and shipped hundreds of miles to your local big box store.

This was my first trip to ever look for vegetable transplants, so I’m not sure how great their selection was. They had a variety of herbs. We picked up both some mint and rosemary to add to the basil and cilantro I was able to start at home. There were many different types of tomatoes – heirloom and non-heirloom varieties. We ended up with three varieties of peppers (jalapenos, sweet yellow chilies and traditional chilies), eggplant, cucumber, Swiss chard, and three types of tomatoes (Brandywine, yellow pear, and Roma). On a whim, my husband grabbed some sunflower seeds.

Michler’s is not just a greenhouse nursery. They offer floral arrangements and plant and delivery in Lexington (with online ordering as an option). They also have garden design services and offer wedding flowers.
The next time you’re in downtown Lexington, I urge you to visit Michler’s. It really is like another world right in the heart of the city – a world where everything is green and fresh and full of life. I’m so happy to have discovered this verdant enclave.

For further reading, check out Michler’s website, blog, and a recent Herald-Leader story.
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