As city lots became smaller, Hormel has found today's customer wants more color and blooms in less garden space.

Since 1981, Ashland green thumbs have counted on Doug Hormel at The Plant Connection for healthy perennials and expert advice.

Hormel has observed and adapted to trends in his 30 years of experience in the business. As city lots became smaller, Hormel has found today's Ashlander wants more color and blooms in less garden space.

"You really have to adapt to what the market is," Hormel said.

Almost all perennials grown at The Plant Connection start as cuttings. Hormel roots the plant cuttings and raises them locally, ensuring that the plants are adapted to Ashland's climate.

"These guys are really great in helping us outsmart the deer," growers market shopper Jana Carole of Ashland said of the deer-resistant plants barberry and oleander she purchased.

Although his stand is always colorful, Hormel says he avoids growing too much of any particular plant, so growers market shoppers shouldn't wait if they see something they like.

The Plant Connection can be found Tuesdays at the Rogue Valley Growers & Crafters Market. Hormel's plants can also be purchased from Ashland landscapers and vendors.

"I like walking around town and seeing all the plants I've grown," Hormel said.

The Rogue Valley Growers & Crafters Market is held on Tuesdays at the Ashland Armory, 1420 E. Main St., from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday Market is from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the parking lot at the corner of Lithia and First streets. For more information, call 261-5045.