Thursday, August 28, 2008

What to do with a Number Two?

OK, you've seen the pictures, you've marvelled at the numbers. But I bet you're wondering, how do we get so many mums to grow all the same? How do we make sure that each one is identical to the other? Would you believe me if I told you "we're the only ones who can do it"? How about "It's a gift"? "Our growers are the best in North America"?

OK, OK, I'll tell you the truth, we do have some duds in the bunch. Not every plant, no matter how you baby them, turns out the same. Every year we have what we call a whole posse of #2's.
A #1 is a plant that fits all the criteria of being just right. The blooms aren't open too far, the plant is a nice round ball, the plant body is nice and big, everything is as it should be.
A #2 just isn't good enough to make it to market. These plants might be lopsided, too far in to bloom to send to the store, or just plain SMALL.

So, what do we do with a #2? Well, the easiest is to just chuck them in the garbage but, it costs us the same amount to grow a #1 and a #2. It is so painful to throw that plant in the garbage. Every year our new employees have to be trained to throw out the #2's. They are horrified that they have to dispose of a perfectly healthy plant, just because it doesn't fit the normal criteria. "Can I take it home? I'll baby it back to health" they say. We always let them because we know that, before long, they too will come to the sad realization that you can't take ALL the #2's home. There's just too many of them.

Well, with the recent purchase of the new property, we have a new outlet for getting rid of our #2's. We sell them out of this fabulous old barn at the front of our yard.It so happens that we are positioned on a fairly busy road. At the end of our road is a main traffic through way and.......a train. Every day at about 3 in the afternoon, just when all the mom's are picking up their kids from the local schools in our area, a train comes by and holds up traffic. Cars start to line up along the front of our place, waiting for the train gates to open and traffic to start moving. It's a retailers dream.......a captive audience.

So, we are happy to take advantage of all those idling cars with potential customers sitting patiently waiting for the train......and the price is right!
Our buildings used to be old cow barns. We cleaned them up, painted and built a little shelter over the top to keep off the rain. It's really quite a pretty barn with a real heritage look.

At this moment, because it's still summer holidays, the kids man the tills during the day. Talk about a fabulous learning experience for them. Poor Mini Me is as mathematically and gadgetly challenged as I am. The till holds great secrets for her, a giant calculator requiring skills just slightly above her current capacity. I'm with her on not really feeling comfortable around things with buttons and blinking lights. They never really work that well when I'm around.

When the till breaks down, we have to call in the Opera Diva. Her brain is just like a mini calculator. She understands things like radius and circumference, pie and pie squared. I was always under the impression that pie is something you eat on Sunday with a generous dollop of whipped cream. I never did get any of that math stuff in High school so she comes in handy when trying to figure out things that require a mathematical mind.

Here's a few pictures I took this morning at my local hardware store which doesn't buy their mums from us. I think they should change suppliers :)?


4 Responses to “What to do with a Number Two?”

marina said...

Why should you be so far away?
I looove flowers and your mums are perfect (even the "poor" ones)!!!
I like that you don't just grow up flowers, you respect them too!

Nola @ AlamoNorth said...

I am so glad that you don't throw them out anymore; I think they are all beautiful. Everything in life is not perfect, but it can still be beautiful. I wish you were closer, I'd go home with a trunkfull!

Dragonstar said...

Just wanted to say I came here from Havering On, and I agree with him that you have a great place here. I'll be mean and say that I'm glad you're not closer to me - I can't resist buying flowers and other plants, so I'd spend all my money with nowhere to put things when I'd bought them!

Kathi~Lavender, Lace and Thyme said...

Your Mums are beautiful! Are you strictly in Canada? I know sometimes coming over the border is difficult, I would love to buy from you if you supply in MN. I went to your website and it's beautiful. Please let me know.

Kathi :)

I can't believe it's time for mums :)