Seeds have sprouted in Bonnie’s Greenhouse off Red Schoolhouse Road in Osceola Mills.
It’s the time of year that April Albright, no matter how busy she gets, enjoys most. It means spring is just a few weeks away.
Albright took over the 21-year-old family business four years ago, after her mother Bonnie Harding died.
“She gardened with her grandparents, and I gardened with her, so I think, generation to generation, we’ve passed (the love of gardening) down,” Albright said.
Albright didn’t immediately enjoy gardening. After all, she said, what child likes weeding?
She has grown to love the art of planting a seed and growing it into a beautiful flower, a juicy tomato, a ... straw ...
“One-hundred percent, I have a lot of pride in this place,” Albright said. “It’s rewarding, very rewarding.”
Q: This has got to be one of the most exciting times of the year for you with spring just around the corner, right?
A: I’m loving it. We have green in the greenhouse, and I love seeing that, but it’s not green outside yet. I keep looking outside, and there’s still nothing but snow out there. Spring is coming, though.
Q: Some people might have just started thinking about their gardens, but I imagine you’ve been hard at work in the greenhouse. How much work do you put in throughout the winter months for growing plants?
A: We started in February, but you can’t get into the ground until May. You can still get frost in June, which will kill any gardening plants, so you’ve got to protect them. But I start in February what you’ll see in May with seeds in the greenhouse. It’s A-to-Z vegetables, A-to-Z flowers, all different types. I try to hit a lot of different things coming, too. I have trees coming in, shrubs coming in, baskets, ferns. It’s a garden center.
Q: When does business typically begin to pick up?
A: Memorial Day is the gardening time of the year. People are buying and getting all their stuff around Memorial Day, but as soon as the robins come and the snow melts, some people are calling. They’re anxious to get in their gardens, buy some dirt and start their own seeds. I have a lot of clients that like to do that on their own. ... People get excited, just like I am, for spring and flowers.
Q: What are the differences between growing plants in a greenhouse compared to outside?
A: I have an upper hand, because I have protection from animals, the cold, bugs. Right now, nothing will grow exposed to this snow, but what do in the greenhouse is I have heat on at night, so it just continues to grow.
In your house you can do that, but I also have a lot more light, unless you have a sun room. That’s where you grow lots of stuff, or you can do it in a little greenhouse.
Q: What advice could you give to folks that might have to battle pests and disease?
A: Try to be as organic as possible. If you’re eating it or giving it, you don’t want to use pesticides. There’s so many remedies. Online you can get them. But you don’t want to use pesticides that could be harmful to us.
Q: Once all the snow is gone, what might be some good seeds for people to plant outside this month?
A: You can (plant seeds) in your house or outside (in a container) during the day and (bring them) inside at night. You’ve got to protect them from freezing at 32, and right now we’re on that edge. You can keep them outside in May, but you’ve got to watch for frost and what your weatherman says. If there’s a frost, you’ll want to cover sheets on shrubs. If you don’t, you’ll lose all your work.
Q: Are there some types of plants that are better off to plant when it is still cold?
A: In the cold you could do hardy vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, onions. You can start that in the cold, but they need protection. You can do anything in May and June, but watch your weatherman. I would never advise planting in April. The safest time to plant is the end of May and early June.
Q: What is your favorite flower and why?
A: I like dahlias. They’re very, very pretty. They remind me of my mother. She liked them and always grew them.