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In the life of a garden centre... Color amongst the White

The seasons change quickly in the life of a garden centre. Yes they do.

As the north pole tilted to its furthest point creating the shortest day of light hours garden centres were in the midst of celebrating the festive season and the preparing to ring in of the new year. Into the New Year, some garden centres have closed doors taking a reprieve and working behind the scenes in their upcoming transitions. Others set the course and resume their routine.

It was months back when garden centres were in the midst of preparing for their new growing season; always preparing almost a year in advance.

The crops chosen depict when a garden centre begins its seeding and planting schedules. It does not feel like long ago, but it was over 20 years ago about this same time, that sand bottom floors were thawed and large water tanks were filled in preparation. Even before the heat was turned on, well executed plans were prepared for seed scheduling, growing and production. Nowadays, much stays the same except the sand bottom floors are now modernized with glycol heating and technology such as lighting systems have allowed some crops to be delayed slightly from their original schedules. There is a methodology set by the individual garden centres as to their plant selections. Each garden centre sets to inspire you by their selections – hanging baskets, combination patio window boxes and floor pots. The right plants for the right pots to be produced timely for the upcoming season.

Similarly, the home gardener begins the search for seeds. Even now with snow thick on the ground garden centres that remain open have seeds arriving. Selections for those who wish to grow early are on hand with such choices are sprouts, and herbs along with early pickings of perennial, annuals and vegetables seeds. As the months progress more and more selections arrive.

Similar to the professional grower, plans need to be made for your seeding schedule. Sprouts and herbs can be started any time as their use may be immediate. Scheduling of the seeding can be planned around the germination period of the seed, the amount of space you have for holding the plants and how many plants you may want to begin indoors. Most seed packets will relay the information you need regarding the germination days (the number of days it takes for the seed to sprout). It will also tell you the maturity dates (date from sprout to blooming/fruiting time i.e.: 65 days) as well as the plants height and width. These dates are important to know in order to plan when we want them ready to plant outdoors; when free of frost. Starting some seeds indoors are beneficial for plant varieties that require a long germination and days to maturity; like with some perennials. Select your choices by matching up seed types by germination times and seed types. To a gardener enthusiast or one just beginning, perusing through seed racks may be like a kid in a candy shop. So many choices.

It is fun for kids, novice as well as the experienced gardener to grow your own. The satisfaction of knowing how plants grow, as well as growing your own is rewarding. Planning for herbs, vegetables, annual flowers and even perennials is an experience. The satisfaction of eating your own grown food is the ultimate. As once a young tot told to me: "THIS is what a real carrot tastes like?"

Next, using the correct growing medium such as soil-less mixes which are light and hold the correct moisture for seed germination is also beneficial. Garden centres carry supplies and soils for the home gardener to begin their own seeding programs; everything from seeds, soils, trays, and clear domes which act like a mini greenhouse.

So now, in January, we see garden magazines lined up front at the grocery store tills revealing glorious gardens. Quickly we see a glimpse of garden trends and the reference of warmer months ahead. I, like others are not resistant to wanting to absorb myself into these visionary gardens. The evidence is in the stack of garden catalogues and magazines stacked on my side table. Oh, the planning begins!

St. Mary’s Nursery & Garden Centre is open year round, with the exception of Sundays till spring begins. St. Mary’s Nursery & Garden Centre is you growing garden tradition.

www.stmarysnurseryandgardencentre.ca/

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