Archive for April 2009

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hooked on Hanging Baskets

It's all out "craziness" at the greenhouse this week, especially when it comes to Hanging Baskets. You see, our new facility has a brand new automatic Hanging Basket system that lets us grow 3......count them.......3 layers of baskets above the warehouse area. That's a whole lot of baskets and a whole lot of weight.

I'm not sure how heavy these 100,000 square feet of baskets 3 layers deep are but let me tell you, this hanging basket system has been working hard to keep them all up there. As a matter of fact, this past week they have actually started falling down. Imagine a 15 pound fuschia basket falling down from 28 feet. Now imagine that you don't know which basket will be the next to fall........would you dare to work under these baskets?

Well, needless to say, the system was failing so we called out the professionals. Mr Cherry Creek Hanging basket system came out to visit us and help us get it back into working order. We had such an interesting visit. It turns out the Mr Cherry Creek has 23 children.......and yet he is a ball of energy and enthusiasm! I started feeling guilty that we had him travel all the way from Colorado Springs to fix our basket system........leaving his wife and kids behind. I am still waiting for a family portrait because I can hardly believe it until I see it with my own eyes. No wonder he invented a hanging basket system with 3 layers. I bet that's how he used to make the kids sleep when they were young, 3 layers deep!

Anyway, the basket system is working a bit better now after a whole lot of adjustments. Now all we have to do is pick all these fuschia baskets and ship them to market before Mother's Day. Anybody out there looking for a job in a greenhouse? We could use anyone who has hands and feet and is still breathing. That's all it takes to get a job here at our place in May!

I close my Hooked on Friday post with a few pictures that I took from the top of the forklift. I wanted to get a shot of all the carts packed and ready to go to market because you just can't get a good feel for how much plant product it is unless you go up to where the baskets are, 20 feet up. Thanks for the lift there, Jay! Hey, look at all those big wigs standing around discussing important things. We couldn't get it done without them :) Discuss away boys, I know you'll make some really good decisions! Now, don't you think that life just couldn't get any better when spring comes round and we start seeing gorgeous planters like these ones?! It is definately "A BEAUTIFUL LIFE" surrounded by fabulous flowers like this.

Now don't forget to stop on by Hooked on Houses for today's Hooked on Friday posts from all over blog land. Click here to see more


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy

Can you believe the WEATHER we're having these days?! The sun just keeps on shining.....

and the hanging baskets just keep on selling! I know, what would you expect when you price your baskets so LOW, right?! Right! But these are our #2 baskets, the cull from the best of the crop. They aren't premium.......they need a little lovin' care. There's a lot of people out there who want to give some love to a hanging basket in the spring :)

We've been trying to get a good snap shot of my sister-in-law Fifi, who runs the garden center but it's hard to catch her in one place for very long. Fortunately, we finally caught her givin' some love to those #2 hanging baskets the other day so here is a lovely portrait finally.

The retail garden center out front of our greenhouses has been hopping with shoppers these days.

It's no wonder with such amazing pots like these for sale, wouldn't you say?

Love this new display that Fifi set out. She got this sink for free off Craig's list and planted it with this neat looking mix. I would never have thought of going on Craig's list for free stuff to PLANT in! Now there's a really good money saving tip for all you gardener's out there trying to make your flower dollars go a little further this year. Thanks for the tip Fifi!

My little Angel has been working on making us a distinctive logo and brand design and she's got all our empty pots and antique furniture priced with these lovely new price tags.

This old shop is just the perfect place to set out all our new and old pots for sale. Now all we need is some better lighting.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Metamorphosis from Classical to Country

Would you just LOOK at this fabulous looking bunch of kids! Don't they look ANGELIC. They appear so well mannered and cultured, perfect little CLASSICAL musicians, don't you think? Well, all except for my little Danny Boneduce in the middle with his mischievous little smile. I guess he has allready decided at this time that there was NO WAY he was ever going to play the violin, no matter what his mother said.......and so now he plays the cello. Danny always wants to be different!

So, this well mannered group of children can actually put on a good show of being a nice group of CLASSICAL musicians when necessary and this saturday was one of those days. They spent the morning playing with the Abbotsford Men's Choir. This was a special recording session for the choir's next CD and the kids managed to behave themselves quite nicely.

That's Danny Boneduce in the middle, no longer smiling impishly since this was a serious CD recording.

Junior, Opera Diva and Mini Me filled in Violin 1 and 2 nicely. By the end of the session they were even approached to play along in an upcoming opera being put on in Vancouver in May! Check out this snippet of amazing music, serious music, CLASSICAL music.......


Now check out this photo for a completely different side of my kids, the more earthy, down home COUNTRY side they like to show off as often as possible.

There's nothing like a good old fashioned hoe' down and to really get the adrenaline pumping!

METAMORPHOSIS is the spice of life in my family! There's just nothing better than playing music that just makes people want to tap their toes and stomp their feet.

Danny Boneduce is just not quite in the swing of things yet.........guess he just LOVES to be different.

Now does this look like a bunch of serious CLASSICAL musician........

Or a bunch of country bumpkins?
Now, today is METAMORPHOSIS MONDAY so don't forget to stop by Between Naps On The Porch to check out all the other changes going on out there in blogland. Just click here


Friday, April 24, 2009

Pizza Should Be Considered A Food Group

It's all out CRAZY BUSY around here these days! We're all running around organizing......Calculating and discussing.......

Making sure that all the garden centers get EXACTLY the right orders at EXACTLY the right time so that no one blows a gasket over a missing pansy or hanging basket......
That means we have begun our PIZZA and SAMOSA diet. Every night we work late, we order in dinner. Since a lot of our ladies are vegetarian, we have only 2 choices of food that we can order........PIZZA and SOMOSAS!

Now, I don't know about you but PIZZA can get a little boring if you eat it every other evening......especially when it has no meat.

Oh well, our diet of PIZZA's and SAMOSA's won't last forever and in the mean time we enjoy a moment of rest from all the heavy work we do.......

And yet somehow........
my jaw never gets too tired to talk and my hands never get too tired to gesticulate!

I do believe the staff gets too tired to listen to me, though :)

Spring is the time when we work so hard we throw our dirty gruby selves into bed the minute we get home, only to roll back out again in the morning and start all over. Ya' gotta love SPRING!

Oh, and we've got a new guy working with us this year. Remember our CHEF from my little angel's wedding in September? We hired him........and now we get fresh baked apple pie added to our PIZZA's and SAMOSA's diet!

Tamara was thinkin' when she hired this guy, that's for sure!

Doesn't the Big Guy look exhausted in this photo? Come on Big Guy, we're not even 1/2 way yet! SMILE. That's fresh apple pie you're eating.


Monday, April 20, 2009

"One Eyed One Horned Flyin' Purple People Eater"

Does anyone remember the song "One eyed, one horned, flyin' purple people eater"? Today we got our new T-shirts with our Milner Gardens logo on them and I just couldn't get the song out of my head for the rest of the day. Is this not just the GREATEST purple shirt you've ever seen?! And look at those purple Senetti's that are selling like hot cakes at our favorite big box stores......they are a perfect match to our t-shirts. I just LOVE purple, don't you?

Junior and I went out into the shipping area and decided we needed to take a real cool picture of us doin' or best gangsta' poses in front of all those beautiful purple flowers. I couldn't figure out why I didn't look quite as cool as my teenage son when I suddenly realized that my "W" symbol looked a little gimpy......Junior set me straight on how to do things properly....... and it doesn't include showing off your double jointed thumbs :) I don't really know what the "W" stands for so I hope it's not something raunchy or disgusting? Mother's of teenage boys probably shouldn't try pose like gangsta's without doing a little bit of research on what the poses might apologies if it's something inappropriate :) I figured it was "W" for WAY TO GO TEAM!'s the rest of the team! WAY TO GO TEAM! We sure kicked butt today, didn't we guys?!


Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Seriously Soapy Spring Season

Another week has come and gone and what a WEEK it was! Spring on the farm can be a very busy and stressfull time. This week we had the fun of dealing with a small pest infestation of the aphid kind at the greenhouse. They are nasty little critters that make a sticky mess of any plants they choose to call home. Unfortunately for us......they had taken up residence in our crop of ornamental grass......don't ask me why. But, our little infestation made a most interesting METAMORPHOSIS occur here in our little town of Milner! We saw a massive transformation in the men of the family, and I can tell you that it was a very good transformation.

It turns out that after the aphids were anihilated by a good dose of some chemical or other, we had to go and wash every pot down with soapy water until there was no sign of their existence left. And guess who got the fun job of washing those pots........the guys. I'm not sure the Big Guy knows what a dish brush is, let alone have ever seen him use one. I can hear him defending himself as he reads this post but trust me when I tell you, he is not terribly acquainted with soap and water.

I can already hear the Big Guy arguing about this post. It would go something like this........

BIG GUY: "I do SO know what a DISH BRUSH is, Tamara! How dare you suggest I never do the dishes!"

TAMARA: "You NEVER do the dishes, Big Guy.......we've had an automatic dishwasher for years!"

Now back to my story, try to imagine 50,000 six inch pots that need to be washed and inspected before being shipped to market.......that sort of job requires a huge effort on our part and, regardless of the Big Guy's inexperience with a dish brush, he and the boys dug right in and cleaned up the mess and here's a video to prove it!


I would never have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes :) It was an amazing METAMORPHOSIS for my Monday morning posting.

Well, make sure you check out all the other metamorphosis going on out there this monday by stopping over at Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday. Just click here


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Milking Parlor Makeover

Is it Monday already?! That means it's Metamorphosis Monday.......and I'm excited to show you the big changes that happened in our old Milking Parlor. This place used to house a whole lot of milk cows but we've given it a lick of paint, broken down a few walls, smoothed out the floors and shoveled a whole lot of manure in the last little while. We're finally ready to open up our new retail greenhouse where you can stop in to get some great deals on some fabulous plants and planters.

Come on in with me and check it out!

Here we have our new front entry that was designed to look rustic, even though it's brand new. Even the sign out front matches the barns now, although it did mean we had to pull down a few rather large old trees out front.

We decided to keep the big side doors as they were so that we can open things up nice and wide, making it hard to resist stopping in.

Last year we built the first plastic hoop house where we managed to sell a wide variety of bedding plants and baskets. This year we decided to add a second hoop house and tear down the old milking parlor for a bit more of an open feel. With the wide open space, we now have room for colorful vignettes that really inspire a person to go out and start planting in their gardens.

Another addition this year are some gorgeous display tables........

Can you believe this used to be a working milking parlor??!! The guys brought in some big machinery and tore out all the old cement, replacing it with a smooth floor, just perfect for selling antiques and such.
I just love that little extra touch of the hay bales........And the wagon wheels leaning against this old barn door........

I just love the way all the colorful displays draw your eyes down the entire greenhouse, drawing you all the way inside.Looks like we've got lots of spring mixed baskets to sell so make sure to stop by soon!

My sister-in-law Fifi got everything all spiffed up for opening day. Here she is, checking if there's a shelf that needs filling or a planter that needs water........Kudo's to you for such a beautiful job on the decorating Fifi! She's was so busy rushing around, we didn't manage to get a nice focused picture or her.......sorry about that.

The Big Guy and I decided to do on of our "walk-arounds" on opening day. What fun to see everything all pulled together so nicely.

We also partnered with our neighbor across the street who sells antiques and collectibles. We're selling some of his pieces on consignment. We have a few different pieces on display that really set a nice ambience.
Just in case you were wondering who took all these lovely photos, here's my official photographer. We keep her really busy these days making signs and marketing for the greenhouse and the retail. Any my grandbaby bump is coming allong quite nicely as well :)

Here's another thing that Fifi put together and I just love the idea. She kept her eyes peeled for free stuff on Craig's list and finally got a few really nifty pieces like this lovely dresser that now doubles as a planter. Then there's this old chest she filled with lovely spring plants for a very unique design.

This new area is filled Terazzo pots and giant ceramic pots that I can't wait to see all planted up......but of course, we sell them empty as well.

Throught the garden center you'll see colorful vignettes that are bright and cheery, sure to inspire the feeling of spring. There's an ORANGE section.......And a YELLOW section.......And of course, my favorite section, a GREEN section......Did I already say that GREEN is my favorite color?I'm so glad that Fifi managed to re-use all my umbrellas from the training video because they really add some pizzaz!

There's nothing like a little splash of color to really remind you that it truly is "A BEAUTIFUL LIFE"! So, hurry on down to your local garden center for a little inspiration. Let your imagination run free!
And don't forget to stop on by Between Naps on the Porch to check out all the other amazing Metamorphosis going on out there in blog land. Just click here