Rainy day at the nursery.

It’s a rainy day and I don’t think a lot is going to happen at the nursery. We might get a few folks looking at Living Christmas Trees or checking out gifts and gift cards. Today is Christmas at Coloma, an annual celebration that involves people in period dress, lot’s of vendors, and usually thousands of people. Today with the rain it will be more subdued, yet it sure beats sitting at home. I took this picture of the old Emanuel Church from my truck. It’s from 1850 something and is still used. It is very popular with the wedding crowd. This is the town Christmas tree and a group of vendors trying to stay dry.

This time of the year the rain is expected and welcome. Ideally it would be nice to have the weekends dry so people could shop but I am running about 50% when it comes to my wishes being granted. It’s the rain in spring that’s a killer. We have been getting way more rain than we need in April and May. During drought years that rain is a blessing, but when we have been running above average for rain the last two years that spring rain is depressing. We received over 70 inches of rain, twice normal for the year.

This is a time when it’s important to stay positive in mind. It’s so easy to get in a funk when it rains and there is virtually no income. The last two years with slow springs means there is less money stored up to carry you through the winter. It would be easy to just write the year off and sit till spring. Can’t do that though as now is the time to prepare and see if the route you have plotted for the business is the right course.

One area we are going to pursue is sales over the internet. We just started with our Metal Art that we have been selling at our garden centers for years. Made locally in the foothills they rust with age and have been a steady seller for us over the years. We thought we would start with a few unique items to us and see what happens.

If you Google “Metal Garden Art”, a million different web sites come up and it can be quit a feat to sort through all them. We are going to work on the assumption that people are visiting our website for a whole different reason. Maybe it’s to get info, or e-mail a question, or find out directions to the store. While you’re at the web site you notice that we have interesting things available that you might not even have thought of. Kind of like visiting the nursery and spotting something you want.

We are under no illusions about what the potential of internet sales will be for us. We hope its a little extra income but I don’t expect to check my e-mail and see a hundred orders for the day. Maybe someday, but we will be patient. When we got our first order it was exciting!

Over the next few days we will be deciding on what the topic will be and dates we will hold our workshops. We already know that we will do two on pruning fruit trees and shrubs, one on starting vegetable and flower seed indoors, how to vegetable garden in containers or raised beds, water gardening in containers, cactus and succulents in containers, drip irrigation, make a living wreath for the holidays, kids class on making stepping stones, make a hyper-tufa pot, and make a hanging moss basket. We want to do more with kids so we are thinking about what we can do with them. We also want more hands on and less lecture.

Feel free to send any ideas you have my way. We come up with the ideas for some of our classes from customers. We are even invisioning a workshop on using herbs in cooking and having the B.B.Q. fired up to try out the suggestions. Combining food and gardening is always fun.