BEHIND THE SCENES: Getting Ready for Open House
WRITTEN BY LINDA HOPPER
Open House at Natural Plus is always a busy week for us. But behind the scenes, the planning and work to get ready has been going on for months.
Ordering plants for spring usually begins in August the previous year. Throughout the fall and winter, plants and supplies are ordered from about 15 different wholesale suppliers. We typically try to order most of our plants from northern growers.
Over the winter months, updates are constantly being made to orders, prices are determined, inventory is put into the computer, and shipping dates are set. In addition to our regular orders, we are always looking for new plants and products. We also try to keep updated on plant diseases, planting ideas, etc.
In the early spring, planning and staffing is done for exhibits such as the Home Show, NIACC Gardening Seminar, and Green Expo. Open House advertising is completed for TV, radio, and several local newspapers. Online social networking and blogs are done all year long.
We are especially happy when spring finally arrives and our dedicated employees return. All plants typically ship within a short 1-2 week window before open house. In this 2 week time all plants and supplies are received, put in place, tagged, priced and organized. In about 2 weeks the nursery goes from being empty to being filled with bursts of fresh, flowering, hardy plants. We call this 2 week time frame “Go Time!!!”.
Over the years, we have learned to tolerate spring set-backs such as late snows, late frosts, spring storms, etc. as part of the business. After 40 years of business, we are still happy and optimistic that spring has officially arrived for us with Spring Open House.
And in a few short months, we will begin planning for 2019!
Focus on Plants- Spring Flowering Shrubs
Spring flowering shrubs add beauty and fragrance to the yard after the long cold winter. There is nothing better than the smell of lilacs in the spring. Lilacs now come in many sizes and in colors of lavender, purple, pinks, whites, and mixtures of colors.
Previously rhododendrons and azaleas were not hardy here. We now have Zone 4 hardy PJM Rhododendrons that have beautiful lavender blooms over the entire plant in spring. These grow best on an east or north side. New varieties of azaleas are also hardy for our area. Another new spring blooming plant is Exochorda – Lotus Moon (Pearl Bush). They grow 4-5 feet and have beautiful white blooms that resemble pearls. Other spring bloomers include mockoranges, spireas, viburnums, and many more. Take a walk through the nursery in May and you will see lots of options. Our knowledgeable staff can offer advice and answer any questions you may have.