With warm, sunny weather, an endless array of plants, flowers and vivid hanging baskets, Fern’s Greenhouse, “April’s End Celebration,” was like walking into springtime in full flourish.
Essentially a May Day event celebrated on April 30 because May 1 fell on a Monday, it was very much a family oriented occasion with crafts, petting zoo and games, with the owners and staff dressed up in full plumage as peacocks, dragons and other exotic creatures.
While it was a family event, there were also many experienced, discerning gardeners browsing the greenhouse aisles looking to get a start on their gardens.
Fern’s Greenhouse is now under new ownership but the 60,000 square foot landmark 14 km north of Girouxville on Highway 744 is still very much a family business.
In January 2017, Allison and Layne Gardner with Ian and Eleanor Gardner bought Fern’s and added a Peace River store to the operation.
Ian and Eleanor run the store, on 102st in Peace River and Allison and Layne run the Jean Cote greenhouse, with Allison assuming fulltime duty as Layne still works fulltime as a realtor.
“I have always had a passion for gardening and did some volunteering in the greenhouse at Fairview Collage,” says Allison who is also a registered massage therapist but with her new commitments doesn’t have time to practice at present.
Established in 1987, by Fern and Huguette Turcotte, Fern’s Greenhouse like many other ventures started out as a relatively small business and over time developed into a 60,000 square foot enterprise serving all of the Peace Region.
Fern’s daughter Lynn and Lynn’s husband bought the greenhouse in 2007 and ran the business until the Gardners assumed ownership in January.
While she may add a few features, Allison says she doesn’t plan and serious meddling meddle with tradition.
”Fern’s has been here for thirty years so I don’t want to rock the boat or anything,” says Allison. “But we are looking to inspire some of the younger people to start gardening,” she says.
The weekend following the “April’s End” event Fern’s Greenhouse held an open house at their store in Peace River on Saturday and an open house at the nursery in Jean Cote on Sunday.
Other events to look out for are Mother’s Day classes, crafting days and gardening sessions for beginners to be held most likely at the Peace River location.
A tree information session held last year is something that Allison says she would like to revamp and get going again this year with an arborist on hand to provide guidance for those looking to plant trees.
“And there’s the ‘plant and sip’ Mondays when people can bring in their planters and we help them find different plants, suitable for the sun or shade we assist them with what they are looking for exactly.”
If the fun, enthusiastic atmosphere and great turnout for the April’s End event is any indication the Gardeners’ first season as owners of Fern’s Greenhouse will be a busy and exciting beginning to their new venture.