Archive for April 2010

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Who Wants to Live in THE PRAIRIES?!

We were enjoying such GREAT WEATHER in BC and ALBERTA last week. The sun was shining and people were thinking about planting their gardens......

The garden centers were busy.......

Hanging baskets and bedding plants were flying off shelves like they were going out of style!


Old Jack Frost started to blow in one great big blast of winter......
And all my poor garden loving peeps ran for cover.......

What a METAMORPHOSIS. Suddenly we've got nothing to do at Darvonda 'cause all the semi trucks loaded with flowers have been canceled till the weather improves. What's a sales lady like Tamara supposed to do with her time when the weather turns frosty?!

Now that I have a little bit of time to breathe and sit a while, I got to thinking. And I started to wonder "Why do you people LIVE out there in the prairies where you can get SNOW in the end of APRIL?! Don't you realize that you don't have to live under these kinds of weather conditions?!"

"Seriously, people, it's time you all move out to BC where the the grass is ALWAYS greener".

Now don't forget to stop on by Between Naps on the Porch to check out all the other Metamorphosis going on out there in blog land this week. Click here


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Retail Re-opens For Spring

"Your attention please........I have an an announcement to this thing on?"

"Milner Gardens is NOW OPEN!"

Yes, my blogger peeps, the moment you have all been waiting for has arrived. I finally got a chance to go into the Old Milking Parlor/New Retail garden center to take pictures for your viewing pleasure.

My sister-in-law has out-done herself again with eye catching displays around every corner!

It's amazing what she can do with an old door and a lick of paint......

Her antique wagon wheels, fruit crates and a rusty old tub look just amazing together.....

It's time to get on over here 'cause Spring has sprung and we are selling out of everything!
The Wee One dropped in to give her opinion on how things were lookin' as well. She's not easy to please, I can tell you from experience!


"I really like what you've done with the place, Aunty Fifi. My playhouse is looking pretty pimped out!"
Don't you just LOVE that old wash machine she's got planted up?! I think she got it for free on Craig's List.

FRUGAL TIP #24: check Craig's list DAILY for free stuff. You can find some pretty cool items to use as planters that will transform your garden into the talk of the neighborhood.

So, hurry on down to check out what's going on at YOUR LOCAL GARDEN CENTER because they've been working hard these past few months to get their places all gussied up! They are sure to inspire you with wonderful ideas for your yard.....

OR visit us at 6690 - 216 street, Langley BC. We're open from 9 to 5 every day from now till October. If you tell my peeps at the till that you follow my blog, they have a special gift just for you!

Stop on by The Inspired Room for other INSPIRED THINGS too.

THE FOLLOWING SHORT VIDEO COMES DIRECT TO YOU FROM DARVONDA HEAD OFFICE. where everyone has lost their marbles due to an intense shipping season and lack of sleep! (Snapdragon voice over, Grower Girl. Filming, Tamara)


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

It's a Dog's Life!

Spring time is always a CRAZY time around here. You never know what you're going to be doing in the next 24 hours. I just take things minute by minute because that's how life works in the greenhouse at harvest time. We plan all year long for this great big SALES CRUSH. We never know how things will work when we are doing our preliminary leg work, designing our planters and ordering our plants, but we hope that we do a good job and come out relatively unscathed at the end of the season.

That's the plan.........and I LOVE it when a plan comes together.

But this week I was in one of the garden centers, watching 2 ladies loading up their buggy with a whole lot of our Dog planters. I watched them pick out 5....6.....10...... 12 dogs in total and load them into a cart. These ladies were smiling and laughing and having a wonderful time together. I couldn't resist asking them why on earth they would buy so many at once. Were they going to re-sell them? Were they gifts? What would someone do with 12 dog planters?

"Excuse me ladies, if you don't mind my asking, why are you buying so many dog planters?" I ask politely.
"Well" says the one woman "Our dad passed away on Thursday......"

Now I am totally confused and slightly embarrassed for disturbing them. What on earth would the passing of their father have to do with buying dog planters?!

"My dad had dogs all his life. Dalmation dogs. We want to put one dog planter on each table at the funeral in memory of his love for Dalmations. Then we'll give them to our family as gifts when they leave"
These two ladies were smiling and so happy to have found the perfect little tribute to their beloved father in my dog planters. It gave me goosebumps!

So all that work we did in China, checking out the factory..........making sure the painting was going according to plan.......ensuring that the quality was up to our standards..........all that planning had an even more important purpose than I could have imagined.

Now, I'd better get back to work. There hasn't been a crisis for the past 30 minutes so I'm due for a big one soon!

Linking up to:

Fertilizer Friday over at Tootsie Time
Inspired By over at the Inspired Room


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Spring Fever!

Friday was a big time holiday here in Canada. It was a statutory holiday. Nobody was working ANYWHERE, not even Canada Customs (I know that they are closed because I phoned. I have a container stuck at the port and I'm paying $400 per day for extra storage fees. They've all gone home and won't clear my container for pick up till Monday!). EVERYONE had the day off......except us poor suckers at Darvonda. Nope, no holiday for the Greenhouse guys. We had a LOT of work to do before Monday's big opening day at the Garden Centers. So how's a sad bunch like us supposed to celebrate the big EASTER HOLIDAY if we have to work?!

Never fear........LISA is here!

My sister loves me soooooo much that she made a big party for me and my crew at my house. You heard me right! Lisa packed up the contents of her entire kitchen and dragged it over to my place so she could serve us BRUNCH!

She brings tears to my eyes!

She made waffles from scratch with strawberries and whipped cream. She made bacon and eggs. She made egg mcmuffins........

I made coffee!

I'm not sure how to show her how much I love and appreciate her most times. I think I'm going to have to plant her garden this spring.

In the meantime........the work must go on.

We've got 15 acres of greenhouses to empty.......

and not much time to do it in.
We made the rounds on Monday to all the garden centers, just to check on how they looked.

People were excited to get their gardens planted........

and WE were excited to see people reading our signage. It's a lot of work to put signage on hundreds of carts........please read the signs, people!
We were very fortunate to have the sun peak out later in the afternoon........because there's nothing like a bit of sunshine to get people in the gardening mood!
A lot of the garden centers have a small covered area to protect the product from rain.....Rain in these parts is pretty common. We just learn to work around it.
So, I'm gonna be busy for the next 2 months trying to keep up with the watering and fixing and planting at the stores. I'm nervous and excited all at the same time.
Now I'm off to go do some deep breathing exercises and drink a cup of herbal tea to calm my nerves.

And Lisa, if you're reading this, drop by ANY TIME! You and your kitchen are ALWAYS welcome at my place.


Friday, April 2, 2010

Spring Is In The Air

April means SPRING here at the greenhouse.......

and that means CHAOS for all my amazing peeps at Darvonda.

For the next 2 months absolutely EVERYONE is pushed into service to help us get our plants out to thecustomers. The baskets are all hanging......high above the production floor......everything looks colorful and fresh. The Regal Geraniums are in full bloom.....and the Gerberras are colored up, ready to ship to market. Our managers, a great bunch of people...... spend a full year planning for the big spring rush. Timing is critical.

We have to order tags and they must be just right because mistakes can cause a LOT of HEADACHES! Calculations have to made to see if we are making any profit in the end......Containers have to be designed and ordered from far off lands like China, India and Malaysia and stored inside until it's time to sell.....Planting lines need to be organized so we can all use our time in the most efficient and organized fashion.....Soil has to be ordered in BULK because we use a whole LOT of soil in a season.....But the results of all that planning are really quite breathtaking. Aren't these plants just GORGEOUS?! Would you just look at this little Gecko infestation going on out there? I am so excited to get these babies out to the stores and into YOUR garden. My favorite BIG BOX STORE is opening their garden centers in British Columbia on Monday and we are going to have all kinds of goodies there. The Wee One is just as excited about the whole thing 'cause she LOVES all things flowers......just like her Gramma.