Getting Ready for a Great Spring!

Ok, I don’t want to gloat here, because I hate gloaters as much as anybody, but we’ve had a run of very beautiful weather for the last week or 10 days along the northern gulf coast. I’ve noticed as I’ve watched the news that those of you who live a good ways inland are still in the midst of winter, and I really hate it for you. 

The Japanese Magnolias are absolutely stunning down here at the moment. Normally this is about as good an indicator of an imminent bark-busting freeze as anything I can think of, but I think they’re going to get away with it this year. We’re supposed to get some ugly weather mid-week and then some colder weather by Friday, but even then I think we’re headed for lows in the mid-30s at night. That’ll actually do us some good because I don’t want everything to begin to grow and bloom too early. Last year there were a whole bunch of azaleas in the Mobile area that bloomed so early on the nursery they were rendered temporarily unsellable. We sure don’t need that again.  

Last Wednesday while I was eating lunch I saw on the weather report that it was 22 degrees in St. Louis at noon. I realize that St. Louis is not all that close to the Gulf of Mexico, but it ain’t at the North Pole either. All I can say to you good people is hang on, spring will make it there eventually. Or you could move down this way and save yourself a whole lot of misery, at least until July.

I said in my last commentary that I thought the show in Mobile was going to be a good one, and it was. We had very good traffic at the booth pretty much all day Thursday, the first day of the show. Friday was a little slower – it almost always is, but even then it was better than it had been in several years. I think things are going to be better for most of us than they have been for the last 4 or 5 years. I guess we’ll see. As the old saying goes, time will tell, but it FEELS like things are on the upswing. 

I don’t know if you were ever involved or not, or if you even remember it, but way back in the days before we had the Gulf States show in Mobile there were two shows in its place; the Mississippi-Louisiana show, which rotated between Jackson and Baton Rouge, and the Alabama show, which alternated between Mobile and Birmingham. The having two shows part was bad enough, but the real 40-yard penalty was that they were held on Saturdays and Sundays. I can remember actually watching the Super Bowl on a TV some clever soul had set up in his booth. Everybody in the trade show hall, all 12 of us, were huddled around watching the game. Needless to say, commerce was at a very slow pace by the end of the show.

I, for one, am glad we don’t do weekend trade shows anymore. Working a booth at an event like that is harder than it would seem even in the best of circumstances, but to have to do so while the Super Bowl is being played would be drudgery indeed. The nursery business is a lot of work, although it’s not nearly as physical as it was 50 years ago. My granddaddy, given the state of the industry in his day, would undoubtedly consider me a softie, or worse. And I would have a difficult time in defending the charge. But I am mighty glad we can stay in business and not spend Super Bowl Sunday in a nearly deserted convention center somewhere.

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