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Garden Guru

Waiting for spring

Jim Boxberger
Posted 3/17/23

Well a couple of weeks ago I said “Beware the Ides of March” and look what happened. We’ve now had more snow in March than January and February combined and it is probably not over …

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Garden Guru

Waiting for spring


Well a couple of weeks ago I said “Beware the Ides of March” and look what happened. We’ve now had more snow in March than January and February combined and it is probably not over yet. Customers ask me all the time when they are in getting seed starting supplies, when is it going to be safe to plant outdoors or when can I start to prep the garden. Looking at the weather lately, the safe answer is July! 

Every year is different, but based on past weather trends, it looks like it is going to be cold through mid-April before we start to warm up and then it will go from winter to summer in a matter of a couple of weeks, so if you blink you miss spring all together. We, at the store, are just like everyone else, we are preparing for spring but there is only so much we can do indoors before we need to get out in the yard. 

Our garden center is full of snow right now and even though we are starting to pot up bare root trees and shrubs right now in our greenhouse, they can’t stay inside very long or they will start to bud out, long before they should. So when we get them potted we need to get them outside, but with all the snow, space is very limited. Once we do get the snow out of the garden center we need to clear out all the leaves and debris that has been deposited there all winter and get all of the overwintered plants out and cleaned up for spring. 

There is a lot of work to be done, and we are just waiting for the snow to melt so we can get started. Likewise our customers are chomping at the bit to get outside and start working in their yards as well. Once the snow melts off the yard, you’ll need to wait for it to dry up a bit or else you are just going to be tracking a lot of mud into the house. Once the time is finally right this spring, it is going to be an exciting year.

Last fall we, at the store, were thrown for a loop when we found out that our major fruit tree supplier was closing up shop and retiring. Kelly Nurseries out of Phelps, New York has been suppling us with the majority of our fruit trees and berry bushes since this store opened in 1987, and I previously ordered product from them when I worked for my dad at the Liberty Agway store in 1983. As far back as 1978, when I used to go to regional trade shows with my dad, I knew the guys in the office and the sales force for Kelly Nurseries. So it was a shock to say the least. 

So over the winter my garden center manager, Chris, and I have been working on sourcing good quality plant material for this spring. Luckily, Kelly Nurseries gave us their suppliers list so that we had someplace to start. We got orders in a little later than usual so we didn’t get everything we wanted, but we are starting to get in a nice selection of fruit trees and berry bushes for this spring. We will once again have many of the old favorites, like Granny Smith Apples and Concord Grapes, but there will also be many new varieties that we have nevered had before. The varieties are too numerous to list off, plus I don’t want to count my chickens before they hatch, as not all of our plants have landed on site yet. Once we get them all, I’ll be able to field calls on what varieties we have. 

We will also have two new flowering plant suppliers that hopefully will prove to be very beneficial in supplying a multitude of small flowers and vegetables this spring. So even though we are in a holding pattern just waiting for spring to arrive, you know what “they” say, Good things come to those who wait. Hopefully that will be the case this spring and to get it off to a good start, we are having a St. Paddy’s Day Sale today through Sunday, March 19th. All green items in our showroom 25% OFF. The item can be green or just have some green on the package it comes in, that’s a lot of items. And when you come in, stop out into the big greenhouse, we’ll probably be out potting up some of these new varieties of fruit trees that just came in this week. I hope the snow melts before we run out of room.


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