I am sitting in my 1967 greyhound bus converted into a camper. It’s toasty in here although the high temperature for today has already been reached by ten o’clock this morning and the wind will get up to 20 MPH. The camper is my office and lunch spot when I’m working on campus at Garden Works. I can refrigerate or heat up a lunch and catch a quick nap in this bus, great hiding spot. When I’m landscaping someone’s yard I make a good sandwich and catch my quick nap under a tree, works either way. I was thinking this weekend about the things we have coming our way in this new year.
At Garden Works we have so many exciting things but our big change for this year is that we are opening up the front acre near Highway 51 to bring in 5 times as many pots as we have ever done at one time. Buying big like this allows us to have more selection and allows for better pricing. That area up near the highway was our bedding plant sales area for decades. When we moved the bedding plant area towards the back we watched our sales climb since our customers could shop the whole place better and see everything. Customers began remembering all the things they needed from our garden center. Soils, fertilizers, houseplants and all the gifts and yard decor were getting looked over the way it was set up before. I loved that area for displaying our homegrown plants, there is a covered walkway, lots of posts to hang our giant baskets on and all the space we could dream of. We will still display pots in the same area we’ve been doing it from near the chicken pen but this new area will allow us to bring in some great specimen trees and other props to give the place a feel that can offer some inspiration to you. This will be the largest pot inventory that we’ve ever seen! We will have so many fountains available I’ve lost count. We will have the fountains generally running in one area that is covered but they also will be scattered out all over the place.
While this is going on we will be making renovations to the main building, we are going with a totally new look and color that will look great thanks to Mimi’s uncanny ability to see something that is not there. We plan to be here a while so we want to freshen up the look. Max and his fiancé are planning to take over the place in the next few years so we want it to look as good as we can for them to have a shot at such a fun work life.
We are going to set up this new pottery area in a way that the customer will still enter through the main entrance and from there they will make their way towards that end of the property. The area will be visible from the highway, causing more accidents, and very visible from the parking lot of our business. There will be a see-through fence there so the pots can be seen and we hope to get your motors running so you’ll want to come on in for a closer look. The pots mostly originate in Vietnam and are floated to the port of New Orleans. From there they are put onto trucks, delivered here where the door to the 40 foot container is opened for the first time since leaving Vietnam. Like I said, 2 have arrived and 5 more containers are floating our way. We hope the shipping containers can avoid all the crazy stuff happening on the seas, wars and weather have slowed us down before so we have learned to be patient. We can’t be too patient because when the truck and container arrives an enormous amount of work begins. Each container has 30 to 40 pallets double stacked of pots in them. We use pallet jacks, chains, and a forklift to get them off the truck.
From that point we can begin to break down the stacks of breakable pots and begin to pair likes with likes so we can price the individual pots. Mimi will come around then and start waving her magic wand. She has the vision in her head and somewhat on paper, knowing that any preconceived notions can change with a snap. She lets us know which pots she wants where and we help her set them up just the way she sees it. It’s really amazing to watch the process from beginning to end. It’s going to be great to see shoppers coming from all over the state to find their dream pots and back yard patio scenes. Then we will help them with our best advice as to which soil and which plants will do best for them. We have a service that we deliver, set up and plant the pots up. We come back seasonally to change the plants out when the time comes. We will introduce you to that team when you are ready. We have been offering the delivery and planting service for some time now but I think that team is about to grow.
In the meantime we will be putting most of our landscape plants into places that they will be protected from the winter temperatures coming our way. The greenhouses are covered and the heaters are lit and we are beginning to plant your spring goodies now. Our famous giant geraniums are already planted and growing so they will big and lush by sometime in march or April. It’s nice to be this busy this time of year and the new stuff coming has us very excited, we want you to see it! I am hoping that you are getting through these winter months happily and are able to get yourself and your garden ready slowly but surely so it doesn’t hit you all at one time. Come by and visit if you get bored with these cold months, we’d love to take you on a tour sometime!