Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Off-Season at C'Side

One might assume that this is a slow time of year at the garden center, and it is true that we do see fewer customers this time of year and if you have stopped by recently you may have been surprised at how empty the store seems. We are busy, though, getting ready for spring.

The greenhouse staff has been busy cleaning and staining our display tables and attending informative seminars to better serve you when the snow clears and days warm up. Last week we were in Wisconsin for Garden Center Symposium. The Symposium is an association of garden centers in Northern Illinois and Wisconsin and they have been meeting for over 40 years. The primary purpose of the symposium is to raise money for scholarships. They do this by putting on an educational seminar and trade show. They get a lot of support from the vendors that supply our industry. The seminar speakers are top-notch. This year we heard Allan Armitage, professor of horticulture from University of Georgia, speak about annuals and perennials.

The other big project we are working on this winter is new signage that will take advantage of the new color laser printer we got last year. Our perennial and nursery signs will have color pictures of the plants in bloom so you can see what the flower will look like when the plant is mature. The signs also will use more symbols regarding plant habit and requirements so that we can get more information on the signs. We hope these changes will allow you to make better informed choices when selecting plant material.

The garden center staff is processing new product that seems to arrive daily. Greenhouse 4 is full of pallets and boxes waiting to be priced and displayed. We do have seeds in and seed starting supplies ready for all of you who like to start your own vegetable and flower seeds.

Don’t Forget the Birds!

It is mighty tempting to just curl up on the couch, in front of the fire with a good book, but don’t forget our feathered friends. Many birds, including the gold finches, do not migrate south for the winter, and some that do, don’t actually go too far. We have lots of bird seed and wildlife feed available. One thing that is in short supply is peanuts. Due to the drought in the southeast, the peanut harvest is down, and what is available is going to processors for peanut butter.

Tropical Plant Sale

Our 40% off tropical plant sale is still going on. Greenhouses 2 and 3 are full of tropical plants, including pothos, philodendron, bromeliad, schefflera, boston ferns, and various ivys. I am writing this on Sunday the 27th and it is sunny out. It will be a great day to come in and browse. It is amazing what a few minutes in a sunny green house will do for your psyche!

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