Some eager to grow edibles, others yen to spruce up yards

Laura and Brian Gini loaded tomato, pepper and squash plants into their car Sunday, using the day's sunny weather to start a garden in their back yard.

"We've never had a garden, but his brother- in-law grew vegetables last year and we've seen other people doing it, so we decided to try to grow vegetables to use for cooking," said Laura Gini, after the two finished their shopping spree at Scenic Nursery.

Whether it's planting vegetables for an organic garden or spring cleaning green spaces or landscaping yards of former foreclosed homes, people headed to gardening stores this weekend.

Riverbank's Morris Nursery posted its best day in five or six years Saturday, said owner Ron Hoffman. It probably was the nursery's fourth-best day ever, he said.

"People are trying to fix up their yards, especially since they're doing more staycations now. Some are letting loose with their money a little more now. And gardening is very therapeutic," he said.

He noted that people are snatching up fruit trees, herbs and blueberries. Customers also are looking for drought-tolerant plants. He reminded people to adjust their sprinklers for the spring and summer so they don't over- or under-water.

Larry Crawford was shopping at Scenic Nursery on Sunday, loading his Radio Flyer cart with ferns and hanging plants. The experienced planter said he likes greenery and color in his yard.

"I like the jungle look and shade. It's also nice to see butterflies," he said. "It's always fun getting your hands dirty."

Peak times for nurseries are March, April and May, said April Sutis, general manager of Scenic Nursery. "Spring is our Christmas," she said.

Besides customers who are starting gardens to save on grocery bills, Sutis said the business has seen lots of first-time home buyers picking up trees, shrubs and flowers for the neglected yards of foreclosed houses.

"Many are having to relandscape the yards. They may have basic trees and shrubs, but they want to add to that," Sutis said.

She recommends that those homeowners start with the front yard, "for your neighbors," she said with a chuckle. "It's also the first thing you see when you pull up to your house."

Bee staff writer Michelle Hatfield can be reached at or 578-2339.