Are you aware of the fact that BC gets a fair amount of rain. As a matter of fact, BC gets a whole lot of rain, especially down here in the Fraser Valley. Those rotten rain clouds gather our there over the Pacific Ocean and dump their load all over us so as to get over the Rocky Mountains and out into sunny Alberta. It can get down right depressing sometimes.
Lately, we've been getting a lot of rain and it's making things difficult around here. Can you imagine being out in the pouring rain the whole day picking garden mums that need to go to market? When it's good, sunny weather out, these pots weigh about 10 pounds. After 3 straight days of heavy rain they probably weigh more like 25 pounds each. It's a real hard work out to pack those carts.
Today was a big shipping day for us. I'm not sure how many carts were packed up but it looked like an awful lot to me.
On a different note, the Big Guy is really getting into the wedding planning lately. He got this great idea that we should build a canal from here to the greenhouse, kind of in the "Phantom of the Opera" theme. We've gotten a great deal on a used Gondola off Ebay and we've hired an Italian Gondolier for the night. He's going to ferry the guests from our place to the greenhouse while singing "O Solo Mio" to set the mood.......
Just kidding! But it was a good idea, don't you think?
Actually, this was a driveway the Big Guy was working on before all the rain started. Doesn't it look like a canal, though? He assures me that it will eventually be my access to work. I think he's trying to make sure I can get in to the office as easily as possible.....I won't be able to make any more excuses why I'm not there.
OK, you've seen the pictures, you've marvelled at the numbers. But I bet you're wondering, how do we get so many mums to grow all the same? How do we make sure that each one is identical to the other? Would you believe me if I told you "we're the only ones who can do it"? How about "It's a gift"? "Our growers are the best in North America"?
OK, OK, I'll tell you the truth, we do have some duds in the bunch. Not every plant, no matter how you baby them, turns out the same. Every year we have what we call a whole posse of #2's.
A #1 is a plant that fits all the criteria of being just right. The blooms aren't open too far, the plant is a nice round ball, the plant body is nice and big, everything is as it should be.
A #2 just isn't good enough to make it to market. These plants might be lopsided, too far in to bloom to send to the store, or just plain SMALL.
So, what do we do with a #2? Well, the easiest is to just chuck them in the garbage but, it costs us the same amount to grow a #1 and a #2. It is so painful to throw that plant in the garbage. Every year our new employees have to be trained to throw out the #2's. They are horrified that they have to dispose of a perfectly healthy plant, just because it doesn't fit the normal criteria. "Can I take it home? I'll baby it back to health" they say. We always let them because we know that, before long, they too will come to the sad realization that you can't take ALL the #2's home. There's just too many of them.
Well, with the recent purchase of the new property, we have a new outlet for getting rid of our #2's. We sell them out of this fabulous old barn at the front of our yard.It so happens that we are positioned on a fairly busy road. At the end of our road is a main traffic through way and.......a train. Every day at about 3 in the afternoon, just when all the mom's are picking up their kids from the local schools in our area, a train comes by and holds up traffic. Cars start to line up along the front of our place, waiting for the train gates to open and traffic to start moving. It's a retailers dream.......a captive audience.
So, we are happy to take advantage of all those idling cars with potential customers sitting patiently waiting for the train......and the price is right!
Our buildings used to be old cow barns. We cleaned them up, painted and built a little shelter over the top to keep off the rain. It's really quite a pretty barn with a real heritage look.
At this moment, because it's still summer holidays, the kids man the tills during the day. Talk about a fabulous learning experience for them. Poor Mini Me is as mathematically and gadgetly challenged as I am. The till holds great secrets for her, a giant calculator requiring skills just slightly above her current capacity. I'm with her on not really feeling comfortable around things with buttons and blinking lights. They never really work that well when I'm around.
When the till breaks down, we have to call in the Opera Diva. Her brain is just like a mini calculator. She understands things like radius and circumference, pie and pie squared. I was always under the impression that pie is something you eat on Sunday with a generous dollop of whipped cream. I never did get any of that math stuff in High school so she comes in handy when trying to figure out things that require a mathematical mind.
Here's a few pictures I took this morning at my local hardware store which doesn't buy their mums from us. I think they should change suppliers :)?
I got a call the other day.....it was the school......would I consider having the class barbecue again this year?......how could I say "no"?.......all those disappointed teenagers with nowhere to go......I agreed to it immediately.
After I hung up, Opera Diva tells me that this class, her class, is the biggest in the school right now. There will be over 70 kids in grade 11 coming for the big shindig. And, of course, it's to be held on the first Friday after school starts. Add that to our Fundraiser dinner and Wedding, all to be held in the next 30 days. I think I need to call in for back up.
I'd better call in the Big Guns for this one. This is my sister who is, as she likes to constantly remind me, "twice the woman" I am. Now, you can't ask for a better sister than her, especially when it comes to organizing a barbecue. No one has ever, ever left one of her parties hungry. And she makes it look as easy as a walk in the park. Ask my other sister Rosa over at http://rose-gardendiary.blogspot.com/, right Rosa?
I'm a little concerned about what to do if it rains.......this is my back yard right now.
I am so excited, my son Junior and I took time out of the busy mum season to go shopping together for a new suit. Lately, Junior has been dressing a little too casual for church, in my opinion and I finally convinced him that this was a good time to go to the mall because of the summer suit sales that are on right now.
It worked, to my complete amazement. I think it may also have had something to do with the fact that I offered to pay for half.....
Just for the record, I'm a firm believer in attending church in a full suit and tie. The Big Guy always dresses up for Sunday. Look at him all gussied up and ready for the one hour morning sermon.......see that big book under his arm? He told his 92 year old grandmother that it was his new bible and he was going to take it into church on Sunday morning. She firmly told him that was just a little over the top! He had to assure her that it was only the old Websters Dictionary he was returning to his Mom and Dad. She was so worried he was going to look foolish in church, poor little thing. She may be almost blind from her cataracts but she sure knows what going on!
Danny Boneduce also wears a suit on Sunday and he's reasonably willing to do it. I think he figures he looks pretty hot, kinda like P. Diddy, when he gets all dressed up. I can't think of any other reason why he puts his suit and tie on every Sunday morning without a fuss.
Anyway, I was so excited about this suit that Junior got. He looks so handsome, don't you think? He was feeling pretty confident when he put the whole outfit on. He figured he could sell at least a million dollars dressed like this. Watch out Safeway, here comes Junior!
Hey look, there's me, Junior and the Big Guy looking very sophisticated in our Hugo Boss outfits. How did they get that picture of us?
I have to make a confession though, I've been hiding things on Junior lately. He takes a shower 2, maybe 3 times a day, using a fresh towel every time. One week it got so bad that I had 25 towels to wash (and the Big Guy and I reuse our towels)! So, I decided to give each of the kids a 1 towel per week limit. "Hang it up to dry" I said "Save the planet and reuse your towel". Junior protested loudly so.......I had to hide the extra towels. Wanna see where I hid them? I've got this great Armoire in my bedroom that's just a perfect spot. Does this remind you of that fabulous stack of fabric that we saw on the tour of Suzy's blog over at Georgia peachez, http://georgiapeachez.typepad.com/?Too bad I can't make anything quite as nice out of my towels.
I'm afraid he may have caught on to my hiding spot though.......the door was left open yesteday and a towel was missing!
Yesterday was so much fun, peeking into so many creative spaces, I was overwhelmed by all the creative women out there in blog land! Just in case you don't know, Brenda over at http://thebrendablog.typepad.com/ is having a "Where Bloggers Create" tour that you should really check out! So many good ideas......so little time to implement!
Well, I thought that perhaps some visitors might be interested in finding out a little bit more about the greenhouse industry and what sort of creating goes on before your bedding plants even hit the garden center shelf. First of all, you might be surprised to find out that our industry is very heavily "Guy" oriented. When you go to the horticulture shows in Europe......it's all men manning the booths. Not too bad for me, that's for sure! Imagine dinner with this exciting crowd of industry specialists, and me the only woman :)
Perhaps you've heard of the California Pack Trials held every year in the spring. It's a big tour that attracts all sorts of growers from greenhouses all over North America to come out and check what's new in the market. Every year there are new breeds and colors to choose from which can make things a bit difficult.
Should we pick this......or how about that.....?
You can really see that there are a few too many men running our industry when you get a look at all the marketing that's out there at the shows. Take this poster, for example, meant to sell new geranium varieties........probably wasn't a woman who designed this ad. Probably wasn't a gardener, for that matter. I'm not sure these girls have a clue what a geranium is!
Now, if you saw this set of posters in your local garden centre, would you be excited to buy?
“she Looks . . . she Shops . . . she Buys . . . ” and: " . . . he Pays”. First of all, do these people look like they've ever seen the business end of a shovel? I know that it's often the guy who pulls out his wallet when we get to the till but come on! This is just silly.
Anyway, I love going to the shows. We always try to get out and see the local garden centres, stay in interesting Bed and Breakfasts and generally just try to fill our senses with color, shapes and textures. It's all just wonderfully inspiring!
And if you ever see me dressed in high heels, leather jacket and heavy make up, crawling around in my garden like this lovely lady......well......you'll know I've gone over to the other side!