Calgary garden centres are ramping up for this year’s gardening season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This year Calgarians will have more time to spend in their garden,” said Colin Hayle’s with Golden Acre Home and Garden. “So we expect an uptick in gardening needs.”
Hayle said that Golden Acre has been selling plants online for the past several years but now, because people are self-isolating, the garden centre is going to be dedicating more resources to it.
“Customers may choose to have their items delivered or we are excited to offer store pick-up next week,” Hayle said.
“Golden Acre understands the inherit need for people to grow their own food and enjoy plants.”
Golden Acre said people are still allowed inside the garden centre but must practice social distancing and added there is a comprehensive cleaning schedule in place.
The centre is also following the lead of some department and grocery stores and providing dedicated hours to some community members.
“Starting Monday, March 30 we are reserving the first hour of operation, 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. for seniors and those with disabilities.”
Plantation Garden Centre is also preparing for an influx of green thumbs due to the novel coronavirus.
“We have quickly moved to a phone-in order system and we are currently working on an online system for curbside pickup or delivery,” Colin Atter with Plantation Garden said.
“More than ever in history, we will have been cooped up and wanting to spend time in the backyard.”
Atter said since Calgarians have begun to self-isolate there’s been an increased demand for house plants and seeds.
“Seeds are selling out because people are wanting to take control of their food supply,” he said. “Many vegetables need to be sown indoors right now and transplanted outside mid-May.”
“We think it is an essential service and are going to make plans to increase our vegetable areas of the store.”
Currently, customers are allowed to come to the garden centre but are also asked to keep a healthy distance from one another.
“Business is unfortunately not as usual,” Atter said. “We have erred on the side of caution and are limiting our store to two people at a time.”
In Calgary’s southwest, Spruce it Up Garden Centre is also providing an array of options to get plants and gardening supplies to its customers.
“We are offering online and phone-in sales on our website as well as curbside,” said Meryl Coombs, the president of Spruce it Up. “Delivery is free with any order over $20 or more.“
“We are quite busy right now with phone-in orders and online sales and it will pick up as the weather gets better.”
Coombs said currently only 10 people are allowed in the garden centre at a time to provide enough room for social distancing.
“Our message to Calgarians is to stay safe and if you’re sick, stay at home.”
Spruce it Up said it’s expecting to hire more staff in a couple of weeks once the weather breaks.
Meanwhile, for gardeners itching to get outside, experts said they’ll have to be patient for a little while longer.
“In the next couple weeks, people can start doing a bit of cleanup and pruning dead, damaged or diseased branches on trees and shrubs,” Coombs said.
“Look at starting seeds that you want to grow inside now.”