The “Row” Sale

Fall is blazing out in all its glory. The days are getting shorter.  We’ll get our first frost this week and the rains will return sometime soon.  This is the last fair weather to finish our gardening projects.  I enjoyed a wonderful day in my garden on Saturday.  If I’m lucky, I may get another half day to complete my projects.  At the nursery we are in transition.  We are consolidating plants, moving them into our hoop houses and getting ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Back in the late 1970’s, after a particularly sharp drop in temperature in November, we began moving our plants into plastic houses for winter protection.  This had the added benefit that it provided undercover shopping.  Of course, it still requires an umbrella to get from your car to the shopping area.  Fall is a great time to plant trees and shrubs.  In fact, the promotion back then was “Fall is for planting.”  So, we promoted that and encouraged customers to shop by offering some specials.  Last week, I was looking through a notebook of Garland Nursery fall advertisement clippings and ran across some from 1988 and 1989.  There it was in print, “Fall is for planting” and one square in the ad mentioned rows of sale plants.  Back then I think the least expensive row was $1.

Fast forward to 2011 and our sale is now known as “The row sale”.  Honestly, I not sure how many of you actually call it “the row sale”.  Garland Nursery owners and staff have a propensity for applying odd, if arcanely appropriate, nicknames to buildings, carts and animals.  That’s why when you come to pick up a concrete item you’ve ordered, you’ll hear us asking someone bring it up from the new hardgoods hoop house.  Hoop house=plastic covered structure for storing plants and materials.  The hardgoods portion is because what is stored in there is not plant material but rather what we call “hardgoods”.  This particular structure is new because there actually is an old one, too.  In the 70’s we had a “taco shed” that was a lean-to at the end of the barn. In the 80’s our check-out area was referred to as the mosh-pit, because it was in the center of it all and crazy.  I digress.  Back to “The row sale”.  Rows of sale plants became known, to us at least, as “The row sale”.  This is an opportunity for us to put on sale plants that we have too many of, don’t have the room to or don’t want to overwinter, and some that aren’t shaped quite as nicely as we’d like.  Our customers benefit from this because, for the most part, we are selling them at below our cost.

In the past decade, “The row sale” has become a much anticipated event.  We get hundreds of calls about what date and time it starts.  We tried leaving our gate closed until a few minutes before our open time, but there’s not much room between gates and highway, so in the past few years, we’ve actually roped off the inner entrance so that everyone starts shopping at the same time.  It reminds me of Target on Black Friday, except we don’t open until 9 am and noone camps out overnight.  I’m not sure I would declare it fun, but it does give us a much needed andrenaline rush that we haven’t experienced since May.  Why am I sharing all this?  Well, because this Friday is the Row Sale.  So get on your running shoes (I’ve just broken in a new pair), watch the weather so you dress appropriately (I choose layers), and hopefully we’ll see you then.

If you’re not a sale shopper (I will admit to having a rabid phobia of Black Friday and Christmas Eve shopping), we’ll still be open on Monday, October 31st.  We’ll be busy turning the garden store upside down.  Christmas starts going up in November.  We’ll have plenty of plants for winter color, both indoors and out.  November’s a great time to plant bulbs, and we still have plenty of Tulips, Daffodils, Crocus and Hyacinths.  The Christmas blooming Amaryllis bulbs have arrived and you can start those for Christmas bloom.  We’ll still have free coffee and tea.  Also, we’ve planned some fun events for November and December.  Click here to go to our website and check them out.  Hope to see you soon.

About Brenda Powell

I'm one of the owners of a family-owned retail nursery. I have a degree in horticulture from Oregon State University. I love to garden and read. My technically savvy but horticulturally challenged husband, Mitch, spends most of his time as slave labor in the garden. Thank goodness he adores me! My goal in this blog is to share my enjoyment of gardening, my love of nature, and my addiction to books. Did I mention I like to cook, too?
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