Cool Spring Weather Frustrates Vermont Plant Growers And Sellers

Jun 5, 2017

You waited all winter to plant those tomatoes, fresh herbs and flowering shrubs. Now, if only the weather would cooperate, right?  

But while you may be tired of all the rain and cold, rest assured many landscapers and gardening stores share your frustration.

Hannah McMillen, a designer at Garden Time, a garden center and nursery in Rutland, says their sales are definitely lower than usual this spring.

“What I’m really seeing a lot of is customers who are hesitant to put things in the ground,” says McMillen, “Because we’re having weather more typical to the Pacific Northwest than here.”

Mother’s Day, one of the busiest days of the year for nurseries and gardening stores, was good, she says: “We were really busy.” 

But she says most of their customers need sun and warm temperatures to get them thinking about their gardens and flower boxes. And there hasn’t been much of that.

McMillen says that’s something that’s impacted the growers they buy from, as well.

“In the greenhouse industry, plants depend on the sun, and we’re not seeing a lot of that," McMillen says. "And so we’ve definitely seen it in our nursery stock in terms of things not being available. Some of it’s coming in a little more yellow, where it’s really indicative of too much water and too little sun."

"What I'm really seeing a lot of is customers who are hesitant to put things in the ground, because we're having weather more typical to the Pacific Northwest than here." — Hannah McMillen, Garden Time

Connie Cavanaugh runs the nursery at Pratico’s Landscaping and Fence Company in Rutland. She says growers they work with all over the country have been hampered by various weather problems. For instance, she says boxwood, flowering hydrangea and crab apple trees have been in short supply.

“I’ve had trouble bringing certain things in that I always have in April or beginning of May,” says Cavanaugh. “You know, people come in looking for things and they’re just becoming available to me or they aren’t available yet. So that has affected us.”

Ironically, Cavanaugh says some bad weather can be good for business. Pratico's installs a lot of fencing, and she says because of last month's windstorm, they’ve been swamped with customers needing repairs.