COURTESY OF WILLARD BAY GARDENS
COURTESY OF WILLARD BAY GARDENS

With a nickname like “The Perennial Place,” it’s natural to assume Willard Bay Gardens in Willard, Utah, has earned a reputation for strong ornamental products that customers can rely on.

Since taking over the business along with his wife, Della, in 1988, Willard Bay Gardens owner Barney Barnett has made it a priority to offer unique and healthy herbaceous perennials and annuals that perform well in the garden. One advantage he’s had in his corner for more than 12 years is the plant food lineup from Baicor.

As a grower-retailer without an injector system for fertilizer, Barnett instead uses a watering tank with fertilizer mixed in directly. By adding Baicor’s liquid fertilizer products to his watering mix, he saves time by not needing to mix fertilizer into water beforehand.

“The product, being liquid, is easy to put in the tank and then pull back out,” Barnett says. “We immediately said, ‘Hey, I think this is the way to go.’ Previously, we had dry, bagged [plant food] that we would have to mix in water and then put in the tank and then feed with it, so this was a perfect fit for us.”

Though Baicor offers a wide range of liquid fertilizers suited for a variety of applications, Barnett particularly favors the NutraGreen, Pro-Bloom and All Purpose 10-9-5 formulas. Depending on what the plants require, he is able to alter the mixture to meet their needs.

“There are six different formulations that I’ve purchased in five-gallon [amounts],” Barnett says. “I mix and match my needs by what I’m feeding that day or the next couple of days — I mix and match those six different products to whatever I’m trying to accomplish with my foliage or my flowers. I tweak my mad scientist mix as I go, each time. We like it. We’re really happy with these folks.”

Willard Bay Gardens also sells Baicor fertilizers at retail, which are commonly purchased alongside the company’s house-grown flowers.

“We say ‘this is what we use.’ That gives us a sales angle, but more importantly, the plants we’re sending home with people are continuing to get the same fertilizer they’ve been getting,” Barnett says. “That carry-through relationship with our plants is what we really like about it. We know that our plants will continue looking good — if the plants continue looking good, people say, ‘I’m going back there next year.’ Part of it’s the plant, part of it’s the fertilizer.”