Local businesses gear up for springtime gardening

by: Rita A. Leonard, Colorful primroses welcome shoppers to Berry Good Produce & Nursery.

February's warmer weather gave a head's-up to the growing season. The appearance of various flowering bulbs, camellias, primroses, and budding trees has been stirring gardeners' itchy fingers. Local outlets such as Kasch's Garden Center and Nursery at 2500 S.E. Tacoma Street, and Berry Good Produce and Nursery at 5523 SE 28th Avenue, have been bringing in spring flowers and bedding plants, while Westmoreland's True Value Hardware at 6505 S.E. Milwaukie Ave. is stocking up on hand and power tools and gardening supplies.

Kasch's reports having available hundreds of rose bushes, shrubs and jewel-like primroses, while Berry Good Produce and Nursery is making space for vegetable starts, bedding plants, and colorful planters. Westmoreland Hardware is stocking up on hand tools such as trowels, hand clippers, and long-handled gardening tools - as well as larger equipment, such as roto-tillers, wheelbarrows, mowers, and spreaders.

Gary Carlson, Sales Associate at the hardware store, says that recent best-sellers there include pole and hand pruners, lawn core aerators, and lots of shovels. 'We stock up en masse this time of year on garden tools and supplies,' he says. 'We have steer manure, peat moss, potting soil, and bark dust here. We've been selling a lot of moss killer, as well as fertilizer with moss control in it. We have lots of garden gloves, bird feeders and bird food, and just got in 60 cases of garden hose.'

Flowerpots, planters, trellises, and a large selection of garden art and accessories can also be found at Westmoreland Hardware. 'We've just begun to display our lawnmowers,' says Carlson. 'Interesting items just in are an Achla Mixing Composter and an environmentally-friendly Raincatcher 4000 that conserves water from your downspout to use later in the garden.'

Both the nurseries and the various local hardware stores cater to the many needs of local gardeners. Even grocery stores carry a number of bedding plants, as will the Westmoreland Farmer's Market, when it reopens. A developing interest in growing things could be attributed to our awareness of global warming, but gardening has always been a favorite activity in this temperate locale. If you're planning to do any gardening this year, invest in your neighborhood businesses, and enjoy.