As owner of Green Parrot Nursery (201 Nashville Ave., 894-1100; www.greenparrotnursery.com), Nick Richards can tell you a thing or two about horticulture. One look at a plant clipping contained in a baggy, and he quickly prescribes a remedy for what is ailing a customer's tree. Advice is only one of his offerings. Richards, a Crescent City native, opened Green Parrot (named for his Eclectus parrot, Duke) in 2001, filling the need for a garden center that has an abundant inventory, a helpful staff and a convenient Uptown address all in one.
Last year, the nursery moved from its original location on Tchoupitoulas Street to a new, larger spot next to the railroad crossing at Nashville Avenue and the river. Green Parrot stocks a wide variety of traditional and exotic plants and trees and has plenty of space for parking. For customers who want to spruce up their yards with color instantly, there's always a choice of flowering plants " in full bloom. There also are seeds and bulbs for the patient gardener, indoor items like orchids, and necessities including mulch, soil, tools, gloves, organic supplements, fertilizers and watering cans. Consultations for landscaping projects usually can be scheduled within a week. And customers appreciate the fact that Richards welcomes their ideas when coming up with a design.
'I always want homeowner input," he says. 'It gives the homeowner that sense of accomplishment." Above all, Richards believes in going the extra mile to keep his clientele happy. 'We do our best to assist customers, and there have been many times that a customer would drive up needing a bag of mulch when we've closed the gates, and we open them back up," he says.
This November, Green Parrot will add water features " design and installation of in-ground and above-ground ponds " to its list of services.
But on a hot September afternoon, with a hurricane approaching the Gulf, the possibility of putting the business' Bobcat to use for a different kind of service looms palpably in the air. After Katrina, Richards and a dog nicknamed FEMA cleared nearly 25 miles of roadway in the city. If necessary, he's ready to do it all again. 'I hope it doesn't happen again," he says. 'But we're always ready."
- Green Parrot Nursery is named for owner Nick Richard's pet parrot Duke, a feathered fixture at the Uptown garden center's new location on Nashville Avenue.