Last summer, we chatted with Melody Sharples of Sharples Garden Gallery about life as the owner of a big garden centre. We thought it would be interesting to check back and see how the Christmas and winter seasons are shaping up for her and her family business.
Q. Now that the summer and fall gardening season is over, have things quieted down at the garden centre?
A.. There is always lots of activity in the Garden Centre at this time of the year! We are selling trees and shrubs at 60% off. As long as you can get a shovel in the ground, you can plant.
Right now, we are geared up during the Christmas season. We sell outdoor pre-decorated urn inserts along with fresh greens, boughs and garland for all your outdoor decorating needs. Our beautiful fresh Christmas trees have just arrived. Come grab a hot cider or hot chocolate to warm your soul and your hands. Our staff can help you pick the perfect tree!
Q. Do you have any tips or final thoughts about ensuring we’ve prepared our gardens for the winter ahead?
A. Putting your garden beds to sleep ensures a good healthy garden in the spring free of bugs and disease. First, you must plant all your fall bulbs before the ground is frozen. This will reward you in the early spring with the first signs of crocus peeking through the snow! You must prune or cut back all perennials and shrubs that require being done before winter sets in. Certain plants, trees and shrubs can wait until spring for pruning. Meanwhile, you should clean up any old foliage and debris from the gardens to prevent any disease in the spring. Make sure to water all trees and shrubs for one last watering to ensure they don’t get dehydrated during the winter months. Cover any shrubs that are tender or in a windy spot with burlap. Wrap the trunks of trees with spiral warp to avoid rabbits from nibbling through the winter. Don’t forget to mulch your rose bushes.
Q. What holiday activities are happening at the store?
A. This time of year our retail store is transformed into a Christmas wonderland of 12 beautiful, custom designed trees. Customers now make it a tradition to see our trees as there is nothing quite like it around. We have seminars on all your decorating needs during the weekends. You can even learn to make a bow! Our staff will help you pick that perfect gift for that special someone and can also help you pick the perfect poinsettia from pink, red, jingle bells, burgundy, white, tri-colours and many more colours! We sell all the Christmas traditional flowers even Rosemary if you are into cooking up some lamb! Yummy!
Q. Will you finally get some rest in January and February? Do you start ordering and planning for the spring season in the winter?
A. Come January, I am back at buying for Christmas 2017. Most of the product is purchased in this month as Christmas is so fresh in our minds that we remember all the hot Christmas items including decorating decor and gift ideas. I have already bought for Spring 2017 back in the summer of 2016. I top off with another buying trip for the garden centre for last minute hard goods and garden decor.
In January customers in general start to get cabin fever from the cold winter and they grab a coffee and walk through our sunny tropical greenhouses for just a breath of spring air. We are open 7 days a week year round. Then we are into Valentines which is also purchased in 2016. Just some final touches and add ons and we are ready for the big day. Never a dull moment in this business!
Q.How do you celebrate the holiday season?
A. For the month of December, it’s all about working and celebrating with friends and family. I wish everyone good health and happiness always! I enjoy meeting with customers new and old and attending the social clubs and groups that I belong to and now my many new friends from Widowed Friends of Halton. I am rarely bored! I love New Year’s, to me it’s always meant a new beginning, a fresh start, a time to set goals or keep up with old ones. It also reminds me that Spring is just 10 weeks away!! Yippee! Plus I have been known to enjoy Champagne for some of that good old holiday cheer!!!
Wishing all a very Merry Christmas and a very Happy healthy prosperous New Year from Melody Sharples