The Canadian Normal

When the economy in Canada went into lock-down in mid-March, we adjusted the planning. Almost nothing was sold during the first 4 weeks. Because Bromelias receive a flowering treatment and have a long shelf life, we were able to push sales back a bit and move a batch 3 months into the future.

We still had to throw out plants. But with this change in our planning, we were able to save time. We were also cautious about the number of plants to be treated for the future. These measures worked out well in the first instance; we had to throw away less and after 4 weeks we shipped again up to 85%. The garden centers were also allowed to open the week before Mother’s Day, and sales really got going again.

At the moment we notice that several greenhouses have followed the same reasoning; Many growers have taken a batch out of their production to limit the damage. As a result, there is currently less product on the market than in other years. The demand is good for the product that is available. If we could have known that in advance …

Just like in the Netherlands, it now becomes clear where the dangers for the next Corona outbreak are; People who live closely together in apartment buildings, or migrant labour complexes. There have been 3 outbreaks here at horticultural companies (greenhouse vegetables, potted plants and asparagus farm) that work with foreign employees.

The impact of the Corona measures also has far-reaching consequences here. The measures here are comparable to the Netherlands. We are about 10 days behind in the process. Last Friday the patios were allowed to open again with us, but no people in the restaurants. Shopping malls may open again, but people need to keep their distance. In the Netherlands 1.5 meters, in Canada the distance varies from 1.5 meters and 6 feet (1.80 m) to 2 meters. Every company takes measures that suit them. The differences are huge.

For example, I went to our bank last week to pick up a bank draft (check for insured payment). I arranged this at our bank in 20 minutes. The recipient did not want to receive a paper check. That’s why I had to turn that check in to the receiving party’s bank. I then stood outside in the sun at 30°C for 30 minutes before I could go in. I could then wait inside for another 15 minutes before I could be assisted.

Someone had passed out in line the day before, but no water could be distributed because this is not the policy of that bank. But with 3 billion profit per quarter, this bank has no problem. People at other companies are also waiting in lines outside.

The Provincial Parks have been open again since the long weekend of May 18. People are allowed to camp again, but not yet cross the border to the USA (unless by boat). My favorite outing will remain my weekly trip to the supermarket for the time being. I can just shop there. After 4 p.m. there is no line up, but you should wash your hands before entering, take a disinfected shopping cart and preferably wear a mask.

However, one thing has not changed. That is nature’s urge to do its thing. Everything is green again. Trees and plants bloom. Another pair of swallows have built a nest on the porch. Yesterday the eggs hatched and the parents are flying back and forth with tasty snacks for the chicks. At least that’s normal.

Angelle van Kleef

Potted plant grower Ontario, Canada

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