South Peace News
Apart from large sporting events and rock festivals, longstanding local traditions also suffered the affects of the Corona virus lockdown and social-distancing protocols, and this was evident at Fern’s Greenhouse, annual Mother’s Day event.
While the greenhouse was busy with couples and families shopping for the gardening season, there was not the usual parade of mother and daughter groups, as a great many mothers are at a vulnerable age if they contract the virus.
Of course, gardening was still on everyone’s mind in the Peace Region.
Owner, Allison Gardner, says that rather than risk shopping among a large crowd on Mother’s Day, a substantial number of people from around the region, visited the greenhouse to shop during the week leading up to Mother’s Day and she greatly appreciates that people in the area still choose to shop locally.
Another COVID-19 related issue is that Fern’s has about half the seasonal staff it normally hires at this time of year.
“Part of it is that I didn’t hire people because I didn’t know if we were going to be able to open,” says Allison Gardner. “And I had some staff bow out when we opened to the public because they didn’t want to be around that many people.”
For those who did venture out to Fern’s on Mother’s Day, the 60,000 square foot greenhouse easily accommodated the social-distancing rules.
With separate enter/ exit doors, one-way aisles and Plexiglas guard at the cash out, it was easy to keep the social- distancing rules and still relax browsing through the broad spectrum of colour and varieties of plants and flowers along the greenhouse aisles.
Huguette and Fern Turcotte established Fern’s Greenhouse in 1987, and the business remained in the Turcotte family until Allison and Layne Gardner bought the greenhouse in January 2017.
The Gardner’s then added a store in Peace River, which is run by business co-owners and family members, Ian and Eleanor Gardner.
Fern’s Greenhouse began operation in March, opened to the public on April 24, and closes for the season usually at the beginning of July.
As might be expected, the annual events that take place at Fern’s, such as Children’s Day in May, are cancelled for this season.
Fern’s Greenhouse is located close to Jean Cote on Highway 744, 14 km north of Girouxville and 43 km south of Peace River.