A sunny season for many stores

September 25, 2012
Written by Myron Love
This past spring was one of the best seasons in several years for plant sales. Greenhouse growers and retailers in almost every region are beaming.  

p30_4884-Shelmerdine-smiles  
PHOTO COURTESY SHELMERDINE GARDEN CENTRE

 
Kim Thistle of The Greenhouse and Garden Store in Little Rapids, Newfoundland, was so busy she didn’t have much time to talk. “We are going flat out,” she said.

“Sales were brisk,” said Darlene den Haan (Den Haan’s Garden World and Greenhouses in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley). “Sales were wonderful in May and pretty good in June.” 

Judy Clark (East End Garden Centre in Toronto) noted that people usually don’t start buying plants until the first week in May. However, this year was an exception – they started coming in March.

Dianne Cram, manager of Shelmerdine Garden Centre in Winnipeg, also reported an early start to the season and a significant increase in sales.

Nick Zannis (Golden Acre Garden Centre in Calgary), Gino Sardelli (Pepiniere, Piazza and Gentile in Montreal), Mary Reid (Green Thumb Garden Centre in Nepean, Ontario) and Shawna Bell (Jeffries Nurseries in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba) all reported that spring sales were well up over last year.

The weather wasn’t always co-operative.

“Towards the end of April and the beginning of May, we had our best sales figures ever,” said Tell Segler, (The Greenery Garden Centre in Kelowna, British Columbia). “Then it got cool and rainy – which is unusual for Kelowna in June. Our sales tanked some. Our sales were still up about 10 per cent over last year.”

p30_4884-Spring-display  
Strong sales led to many smiles this year, especially early in the season.
PHOTO COURTESY HOLE’S GREENHOUSES AND GARDEN CENTRE


 
Late spring rain played the spoiler for Cory Parke Greenhouse in Saskatoon, too. “We were doing great up until the end of May,” Doug Henderson explained. “It rained on and off throughout June, though. In the end, our sales were about the same as last year.”

The situation was a little different for Hole’s Greenhouses and Gardens in St. Albert, just outside Edmonton. Last spring, Hole’s was just moving into its new facility. That had some effect on sales.

“Our spring sales this year were quite good,” said Jim Hole. “The weather co-operated. Our busiest weekend was the Mother’s Day weekend.”

Consumers were buying fewer packs and more finished material this past spring. “We sold a lot more tropical plants such as bougainvillea, mandevilla and banana plants,” said Hole. “People seemed to be trying to give their yards a more artistic look.”

Segler reported that sweet potato vines, Wave petunias and mixed hanging baskets were most popular.

Wave petunias were also in demand at Shelmerdines in Winnipeg, noted Cram, and different types of grasses were also big sellers.

Sardelli said their biggest sellers were cedars and boxwoods.

Henderson said his customers were buying a lot of potato vines, Creeping Jenny and various basket stuffers.


Myron Love is a freelance writer in Manitoba.

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