New owners, new plans

Published on Thu, Jun 13, 2002
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New owners, new plans

The new owners of the nursery on Lincoln Road have plans to offer more than bedding plants and potting soil.

“Our goal is to have something to offer customers year-round rather than just focus on the growing season,” said Kathy Norman, who bought the business with her husband Bob in early May. Norman and her daughter Kim Berger will run the newly renamed Birch Bay Garden Center.

Berger said they have spent their first few weeks in business tidying up the nursery, building inventory and working on adding a hydroponics section. “We’ll sell complete hydroponic units people can put in their closet or garage and all the supplies you would need,” Berger said. They are now building a room for their own hydroponics systems.

“Once we have that we’ll be able to sell starts and also grow our own veggies,” Berger said, adding they were considering a weekend farmers’ market at the garden center to sell their own wares and those of other local producers. “You know in January when you’d love to see a blooming flower?” asked Norman. “Well, now you can.” She added that having a hydroponic system can guarantee consumers pure organic produce grown easily at home. “In four weeks we’ve seen tomatoes up to the top of a unit and already producing,” Berger said.

Berger is also looking for ways to beef up the nursery inventory. “I’m always trying to look for new and unusual things with our suppliers,” she said. “If someone wants something special I’ll special order it and get it for them.”

A perusal of the nursery shelves turns up unusual plants, like the herb rue and a double black poppy, but also some remarkably stout and healthy standbys. The tomato plants have two inch stems and luxuriant foliage that smells of summer. “We go and hand pick each plant,” Berger said.

According to Norman, the business is a perfect match for her daughter’s skills. “She’s always been digging in the dirt, learning about plants, making things grow,” she said.