Local garden center manager says business is booming

Western Mass News, September 14, 2020. ,

SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) — Now that school is starting and many students are at least starting the year remotely, parents are looking for creative learning spaces.

But many parents are also looking for the same as they continue to work from home.

With that said, many garden centers said they are swamped with “do-it-yourself” home landscapers, so much so, materials are starting to get scarce.

“More people are shopping,” said Andy Grondalski, nursery manager at 16 Acres Garden Center. “There’s more people out, people are spending what they allocated for vacations on their yards.”

Grondalski said they are swamped with DIY fall landscapers.

“It was a very hot and humid summer, so people laid low and tried to stay cool, but now that the weather is turning, more people are buying plants and working on their lawns and really sprucing their houses up,” he said.

The driving force, he said, is many customers are looking to extend their work and learning spaces outside for as long as possible.

“A lot of people definitely wanted to make it more comfortable because they are working from home and they’re trying to be outside more and have their kids more outside,” he said. “So yes, they’re definitely souping up their patios more and trying to make them look nice to enjoy them more.”

Especially, he said, for kids.

“You want the kids to learn and I think it’s more comfortable outside or that they need to take a break from sitting at a table or desk so they can go outside certainly,” he said.

He had insight into what’s hot right now for fall.

“Everything,” he said. “Trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, people want color.”

But finding it, he said, can be difficult with supplies becoming harder and harder to get.

“There are a lot of growers that are digging into what they had planned for next year, so yes, there is going to be some shortage in plant material possible,” he said. “If you’re looking for plant material and you find it and you really want it, I suggest you buy it.”

Fueling the fall frenzy to get things in the ground, fall is a great time to plant.

“Fall is an excellent time to plant because your temps at night are cooler and the moisture stays in the ground and you get a lot of root growth out of your plant material this time of year,” he said.

Grondalski said the fall planting season can actually go on for months, not that many people would want to study or work outside in the winter, but he said as long as you can get a shovel in the ground, you can plant something in the ground.