Friday, March 13, 2009

Spring is (Literally) Just Around the Corner

I couldn’t fight it anymore. I saw the lights on late at night. I knew what they were doing in there. I’ve driven by the signs, fighting the urge to turn in. On quiet days I could hear them call me by name. And once the weather broke a little last week, I was overcome with desire. My willpower caved, my resistance forgotten and I just had to go.

And so began my visits to the nurseries. They surround The Artist’s Inn in Terre Hill, and range from small mom-and-pop greenhouses that are only open until they sell out their inventory, to large wholesalers like Frysville Farms that grow 500,000 mums in the fall and just as many poinsettias at Christmas time. One thing all the greenhouse owners have in common – they are passionate about their love of growing plants and very knowledgeable about what they do.
Oh what a treat it was. As you walk through the door, you’re greeted by green, green, green in every direction. It’s the promise of Spring and all the hope it brings. You can feel the mist and rise in humidity as it falls from the overhead sprinklers (and straightens your hair), smell the herbs as you explore new varieties, and almost hear those happy little leaves growing as they gobble up the nutrients in the soil.

It is a bit of a tease, as it’s really too early to plant anything. But oh, the dreams these trips feed. Your mind races as it tries to visually place flowers in just the right conditions in your gardens. I usually explore Lancaster County greenhouses with my two innkeeping buddies, Ruth from Flowers and Thyme, and Carl from Harvest Moon. Together we have found many treasures for our yards, taking notes about new varieties, adjusting our lists of what we want more than need, pulling our wagons through the perennial beds, up the gravel lots to the annuals, oohing and ahhing our way through and cramming our cars full of newfound plants like excited kids on a scavenger hunt.

Some of the greenhouses have come to know us (is that why they call for more help as we head for the check-out?) – we certainly do not go unnoticed at many. Between the three of us, we can usually talk about our past success (or not) with most plants, discussing the benefits, the drawbacks, the pests and the blooming cycle. Of course, my specialty seems to be finding plants that take over your garden, encroach on your neighbors and seed half the town….but that’s a blog for another day. We clog the aisles, get caught in the rain, pull carts through the mud, and wolf down lunch along the way, all the while answering our cell phones and taking reservations.

Ah, but those trips are a few more weeks away, and we still have a little time yet to prepare for our annual trek around the county. So make your lists and plan now to take advantage of the best selections that our local nurseries offer. Weaverland Auction, just a mile from the inn, will soon be opening, offering wholesale prices and breathtaking displays if you can buy in bulk.

Black Creek is now open year round and we had a nice conversation with the owner about what is new on the herb scene. Actually, we were working on research for our Herb Tour on May 9, but that is another blog for another day. They always have a great display. That is where these pictures are from – I love the brave little flower blooming its heart out - do you see it? It’s certainly bigger than the leaves and stem that support it.
Your list of local greenhouses that surround the inn, complete with directions, is waiting. And if you listen closely, you can hear those plants calling you. They know your name. We hope to see you soon. In the garden! After all, Spring is just around the corner.


Unknown said...

With the crocuses poking through the cold soil, I'm beginning to experience Spring fever too. Yup, we're garden friends/lovers - we have a green-hearted connection!! One mentions a plant & we know which one they are talking about, we trade advice, and swap plants. And we enjoy seeing each others work-in-progress gardens. Soon time to make our list of places to visit this Spring!! Loved your advance checking out of some of the places. Ruth at Flowers & Thyme B&B

Unknown said...

Hey! Don't forget me on those herb-hunting trips!

Anonymous said...

we're looking forward to spring here FINALLY so we can get our greenhouse planted innside montana :)