It’s calm before the storm here at the moment, in anticipation of the busy spring season. Winter is slowly fading away, the last bits of snow melting, the days are longer than the nights again and the sun is getting stronger. Last week I noticed the birds had returned to our house. After the long, quiet winter months, it’s great to hear them twittering in the mornings; a sign that spring is on its way.
This morning, we attended a breakfast meeting for ALUS participants. About 50 people showed up and we were informed about the maintenance of the prairie, savannas and wetlands. It was scheduled for 7.30 to 10.30 a.m., a bit unusual for us growers, who would normally be working at that time. But since things are quiet anyway and we’ve been committed to this nature conservation project for the past 10 years, we felt it was okay to take the morning off for it.
After all, these kinds of meetings are also an opportunity to learn something new. This time, we learned about the control of Phragmites, a type of reed that came to Canada from Europe, and is considered an invasive plant here. As it’s a threat for native plants, it’s actively destroyed.
At Colourful Gardens, spring is the big sale season for hibiscus. The month of May has been our busiest time of year since 1989. Bromeliad sales go up during that month, too. Our assumption has always been that we should try and sell when demand is high. So, we make sure we’ve got more plants ready during those months than during the rest of the year.
That does require some extra organisational efforts. It also requires an effort from the side of the propagation material suppliers, as they’ll need to supply the right varieties at the right time. And it can be challenging to manage our available space. In order to be able to supply at the right time, we must accept mostly empty greenhouses at other times.
Our confidence in the market is strong. There’s currently a shift in the floricultural sector, because of ageing growers and the production of cannabis. The sales forecast for the upcoming season is positive. We’re planning fewer slow periods and the greenhouse is filled with a higher number of plants.
Our two children, Mats and Estelle, are joining us in the business this year to get some work experience. An exciting time for all four of us. We’ll have to do plenty of talking about everyone’s ideas, expectations and plans. The business plan will guide us during those conversations. There’s going to be change. We’re ready!
Angelle van Kleef,
Grower of potted plants, Ontario, Canada