From the looks of this title, you may be wondering if it’s a misprint or if December’s article somehow crept its way into the wrong issue. By now, even the discounted holiday decoration aisles have all been put away, right?
It’s not a mistake. For many of us in the nursery business, March is harvest time. Or, as we say at our early spring staff safety meetings: “Get ready, Christmas is here!”
Of course, any new team members are a bit confused and probably making a quick glance at the calendar, but sooner rather than later they begin to understand. Hopefully, they don’t look at my calendar. I’ve chicken scratched “Christmas” on March 1 for years.
As growers, we spend months on end getting all of our plants ready for market — planning, planting, pruning and grinding away, day in and day out. Retailers engage in a similar amount of planning, purchasing and projects, so everything is ready for customers to come pouring into the parking lot when the sun starts to shine.
It’s honestly pretty grueling work. It’s easy to lose sight of why we do it all when we’re in the middle of an unpleasant task, like applying pesticides at 1:30 a.m. on a warm August night, or repainting the customer bathrooms on a wet and cold January day.
But then, one day we get up to a distinctive noise that isn’t exactly sleigh bells or reindeer hooves on the roof, but it’s equally magical. It’s the sound of semi-trucks roaring into our docks and driveways. We are somewhat abruptly reminded of why we’ve been doing what we’ve been doing all year long. Christmas is here!
As an industry, we spend a lot of time producing plant material — often years. When it’s time, we carefully select the orders, pack the plants and trees neatly into trailers and ship them to destinations near and far. The plants are then unloaded and matched up with the perfect customer. It’s a monumental effort that everyone in our industry takes part in each season.
We quickly become absorbed in the fervor of the “holiday” itself, scrambling for more supplies, more labels, more trucks and more labor. More, more and more. It’s good fun work and there’s so much urgency that the days quickly fly by.
Should we run out of plants or supplies, it’s time to check OAN Nursery Guide and www.nurseryguide.com for countless listings of the usual and the obscure. The book and website are an indispensible resource for the buyer and the seller. So sellers, be sure to get your plants listed. And buyers? Keep your Nursery Guide handy.
And grab your coffee, your raingear, and maybe hum an out-of-season tune, because our industry is going to be busier than the North Pole for the next few months.
Cheers to a great shipping season!