National readers of this blog will have to indulge me in writing again on sorrowful "news from home." Baker Nursery will be closing after 46 years in operation. Businesses come and go, we grow to love some of them, the verities of the marketplace don't care.
But this is a punch in the gut.
Baker's is a remnant of old Phoenix, the magical oasis, a garden city where people took special pride in bringing the bounty out of this timeless alluvial soil, where even the simplest apartments were lovingly landscaped. It is a remnant of the distinctive eastern part of the city that includes Arcadia but so much more. A remnant of when Phoenix was a very middle-class city, before the stark division of rich and poor, before the miles of linear slums.
What could have been more important for the garden city that once flourished here than nurseries? Phoenix once supported many, but Baker's was the best.
My mother was a Baker's customer from the start. Later, as a young man, I would take her to the nursery. She would select plants while I, well, admired the attractive Baker daughters.