The Blog

Spring has Sprung Here at the Nursery

Well, here it is only February and spring has sprung here at the nursery! Every year in late January and early February, we start working hard to bring spring to our customers. Geraniums are being potted. Hanging baskets are being filled and some are growing. Plus, we are starting to get our seeds for spring veggies into some soil. Cool-season vegetables are growing with broccoli, cabbage, collards, and spinach ready in the sales area, along with some perennials. 

Just for You

The team here at the nursery begins to spring into action in the coldest part of the winter. No matter the weather, no matter the temperature, they are all buzzing around like bees in a hive. Some garden centers and nurseries will shut down. However, there is much to be done in the winter months to ready the nursery and greenhouse for spring, so that you can find the best quality plants possible- just for spring, just for you!

In the Potting Shed

In the late winter each year we get in our bare-root trees. Since they won’t survive in the bare root stage long, someone has to get them into pots and get some soil around them so that they can grow. That someone happens to be Lorie. But, she isn’t just our potting guru. She also knows just about everything that is currently in the growing beds down the road. On top of that, she drives the tractor and mixes soil because not all soils are created equal, and she helps with customer service. Busy busy busy. Oh, did I fail to mention she also kicked cancer’s butt? Some of the trees that are potted this year may not be ready till next year. That is why the ordering has to be done so far in advance.

Ordering

Ordering is a job that requires a pro. Our professional orderer (new word)  is one of the originals. None other than our own Ms. Judy. The time that must be spent in deep thought is overwhelming, (to normal people), but she has it down to a science. It may be 2023 but she’s already got her mind on 2024. She also knows pretty much what we have and what we don’t have in the nursery right now. Jobs include coordinating shipments and predicting how many plants are needed based on what was done the year before. Also, guessing how many more to order to allow for the growth of the business, figuring exactly where to put certain varieties of poinsettias and geraniums, and making sure we have just enough without too many leftovers. Add in customer service and signing the checks and most people ran out of time hours ago. Sometimes she posts on social media. Oh, and she also gets in the dirt with the rest of the crew.

Technically Speaking

The technical end of the nursery is the goal of Jennifer’s day-to-day. She is kind of a jack of all trades. She helps with our point of sale and all the details behind the scenes with that. She is one of two watering techs on board. She also takes care of most of our houseplant propagation. All this stuff is daily. She provides customer service, plant advice, and keeps us organized. She helps with potting and cleaning up the nursery. She has organized our nursery sales area this winter to keep like plants together. She created a native shrub area, crape myrtle area, hedge area, flowering evergreen area, fruit tree, shrub, vine area, and rose area.

Water, Water, and more water

On the watering side of things, Tony takes care of this along with Jennifer. When he’s not watering he goes wherever he’s needed to help. The watering is crucial. There is much more to it than just grabbing a hose and spraying. The timers have to be set and for the areas that don’t have timers, the water must be turned on and off by manual timing and shutting it off as needed. Fertilizers have to be mixed and tended to as needed. It is for every single area of the nursery. There isn’t just one main system because all plants are different and don’t require the same water and fertilizer every day.

Did You Say Customer Service?

While everyone who dons Mitchell’s red is responsible for customer service as needed, our QUEEN of customer service is Miss. Linda. Customers seek her out and spend time with her, so that she may guide them in the right direction with their purchases. Linda is a pretty smart cookie. Her knowledge is an asset to the nursery. That is for sure.  However, her role does not stop there. She keeps all of our tags organized. That doesn’t sound like a big thing does it? Well, trust me, it’s a HUGE thing. Many thousands of tags are put into pots every year, and Linda makes it go smoothly.

Help at Every Turn

Lisanne is EVERYWHERE! She helps Lorie with potting. She helps with customer service, filling pots, and potting seasonal annuals, poinsettias, geraniums, pansies, and perennials. She helps with cleaning the nursery and fertilizing the trees and shrubs as needed. She helps with pruning and trimming the nursery stock to keep it all healthy and beautiful. She works fast, buzzing around this hive like a bee on caffeine. Always ready to go wherever she is needed. I guess you could say she is a helper of all things nursery. 

The Information Trail

Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, website, ads, analytics, likes, follows, and blog posts. Photographer, writer, and resident entertainment. That would be Delores (the OTHER Lori). She keeps the behind-the-scenes stuff running smoothly. Ok, well maybe not smoothly but her efforts are genuine. Not only are there social media ads and posts, stories, and reels to keep up with but there are articles for the Yadkin Valley Magazine to do. Then there are the blog posts, website updates, additions, and changes as well. Phones to answer, Questions to find answers for, and some dirty work when needed. (potting that is) And signage, sending and answering emails, and last but not least, you can depend on her for the most stressful and awkward, albeit entertaining, customer service ever!

But Who Keeps the Machine Oiled?

Well, the maintenance and workings of it all fall on the shoulders of Jon and Jay. Jon sees to it that leaks are fixed, fans are running, heat is heating and pumps are pumping. Add in the occasional delivery, and fetching parts and I promise you this man is tired at the end of the day. Did I mention he is also the groundskeeper in the mowing months? His to-do list is perpetual. He’s pretty handy to have around when it’s time to unload trucks too! 

Who is responsible for all this growth?

Why Jay is of course!  Second-generation nursery nurturer. He is in charge of all of the expansion and growth planning. Grading, building, installing, all of that takes a lot of thought and time. I’m not sure where he finds the time but he does, and the planning can be seen. We have come a long way just in 5 years. But if you look back to 1979, oh my, things have REALLY changed since then.

Our Buyer

Jim takes care of most of our tree and shrub buying. Traveling far and wide to bring you the best quality available of the ones that we don’t grow. We bring in the babies and grow them to an even higher quality and level of maturity to lessen the chances of them dying. He is the most excellent ambassador at the nursery with his knowledge and friendly demeanor. All of our nursery regulars love to chat with him and use his knowledge to guide them in their purchases. He’s the man to talk to if you can catch him. I’m sure he has the power to teleport because he has the power to disappear faster than you can say his name.

 

So just because you aren’t ready to start your garden doesn’t mean that it hasn’t started at the nursery. There isn’t much of a break from poinsettias to geraniums. This place is buzzing all the time. Even if you don’t see the action from the road, believe me, it is going on somewhere on the grounds. Unlike some nurseries or garden centers, we never shut down for more than a day or two during the holidays to give everyone time to be with their families and catch their breath for a moment. Then we are all back at it to bring you the plants you love.

Happy Spring! and Happy Gardening!