If you felt a bit down in the dumps yesterday about our unwelcomed snowfall, I suggest you get into your car and go visit one of your local nurseries. Nothing will cheer you up more than walking into a greenhouse filled with colorful pansies and annual plants beginning to grow and show buds.
Luckily for me, I had the opportunity to do this last Thursday, the day before our hopefully last snow storm of the season. I was invited to a guided tour of the Flower Power Farm located in my hometown of East Windsor, CT. www.flowerpowerfarm.com.
Flower Power Farm opened up in 2009. Some of my gardening friends started to ask me if I’ve been there yet. I did make a few trips there last summer during my hustle and bustle days of the season. I loved how well arranged the rows were set up with neat and clean tables of plants perfectly lined up. Even though I can identify many plants from a mile away, I appreciated the efficiency of their table arrangements with clear lables at the front of every grouping of plant varieties in their greenhouses and hoop houses.
Well, now the movement through this nursery is at warp speed. A cement super highway, as Ben Lupien, the owner of the Flower Power Farm called it, has been poured along the perimeter of his 53 acre grounds. As it takes you past the first set of greenhouses, you arrive upon a huge outdoor open area of tables just waiting to be stocked with plants as soon as Mother Nature allows. Beyond this space are many more newly installed greenhouses. You would not know they were back there when driving by their nursery. They are located on the far end of the property.
As Ben continued to guide me through the area, he rattled off amazing statistics about their new farm. They have expanded the area by 50%, growing in bulk so they can afford to offer good prices to their customers, and all their pots sport their new logo. Every hanging basket has an attached plant tag by color; red tag for full sun and orange for part-sun. And not only that, the tag lists all the plants in the hanging baskets. They are growing thousands of plants. “Hard to believe?” Well, not when you enter the newest growing houses in the back.
As we walked in, I had to gasp a bit. Each was fully loaded with plants in pots just waiting to hit the sales floors. Ben quickly picked up one of the hottest new petunias on the market, a black variety called ‘Black Velvet’. This is the world’s only black petunia and a must have this year. It is early flowering, tightly branched and has a mounding habit. It will be popular, along with Petunia ‘Phantom’ and ‘Pinstripe’ – both also new with back flowers and stripes of color down the petals’ centers (yellow on Phantom and Rose purple on Pinstripe). His instincts are on target. I ordered the same variety this winter for my container offerings.
Suddenly, Ben’s cell phone rings for the fourth time. “Sorry,” he apologized. I replied with, “Not at all – that is a good thing.”
It is apparent Ben is a busy young person with lots of ambition. I thought to myself, “If you are going to dream, you might as well dream big.” And, Ben, along with his wife, Barb, is doing just that. However, this new kid in town isn’t just dreaming. He is going for it.
The personal aspect that makes this new nursery/growing business all the more exciting to me is that Ben selected this area of East Windsor to pursue his dreams and ventures. I grew up right down the road from his business location. It feels good to see a business growing in a product I enjoy so much – plants – right here in my hometown. I was able to share with Ben my history of living on a one-hundred acre farm with a river behind it, and mentioned this land is for sale at the moment.
The Flower Power Farm has expanded its selection of trees and shrubs this year too. They have some fruit trees ready for the grow-your-own people out there, and a great selection of shrubs for the landscape. And they also relocated their entry area with a nice building offering a small selection of products like Osmocote, gardening gloves and watering cans. I took a photo of watering cans in the shape of pigs sporting this year’s hottest new color, honeysuckle pink! Planting containers are displayed near this area, all graced with new paver walkways and small beds showcasing some of their shrub offerings.
It is nice to have local choices for gardening. And I would like to point out that plants are products that we grow right here in the U.S. When we buy from our local nursery owners, we are not only supporting our “local” economy but supporting our country. There aren’t any labels stating plants are ‘made in China’ in this nursery, or any other reputable nearby nursery in our hometowns.
If you are a local to East Windsor, such as me, I encourage you to visit the newly expanded Flower Power Farm – and the other nurseries in our towns. The owners and their staff work hard to bring us the pleasures of colorful plants to add to our gardens and landscapes. And they beautify our towns with their community projects and help their local garden clubs. Don’t miss out on your chance to see their offerings and wake up your spring senses at the same time! Cathy T of Cathy T’s Landscape Designs (www.cathytesta.com).