Woohoo! We did it! The open house was a success. We should note, however, that when one tries something entirely new, one goes into it with no certain expectations. This leads us to define a little further what we mean by success. First though we want to thank all of you who came, for doing so; and those of you who couldn’t come, for at least being interested enough to offer well-wishes and support. Hey if no one had showed up, we wouldn’t call it a success!
First let’s get a few “what didn’t work” notes out of the way. The weather might have been better. It poured rain Friday morning fortunately letting up just about the time we opened, but it was still a drizzle-fest much of the day and the sun never showed. (We should mention that we have had about four times our normal July precipitation this year in Sequim! It’s been weird.) Finally late Saturday afternoon the sun showed up, which of course would have been the best time to take some pictures, had I not been too busy to remember to do so. Then Sunday was back to morning drizzle but the afternoon was dry and cloudy.
Another major issue was traffic, since it was Lavender Festival weekend in Sequim. This turned out to be a worse problem than I expected. We used to live in Poulsbo and would come up for the Lavender Festival so we knew that traffic was often heavy at certain times on that weekend. Apparently things have gotten much worse. We heard that the police were stopping everyone at Sunshine Lavender Farm causing a miles-long slow backup. We also had a report of super-long waits to get on the ferry. To those of you who offered feedback about how bad things were, and when not to travel, we thank you; as we will be able to make some better specific travel recommendations for next year. (BTW, if you have more feedback, post it here – it’s valuable!) We do think it is important to be open that weekend to try to tempt people who are in town for the lavender mayhem. We also apologize; since, though some of these traffic issues are obviously beyond our control, our warning posted on the “open house” bit of our web page was certainly not dire enough.
So, all that stuff out of the way, it was just a real treat for us to see so many people here at once who were here and looking around the greenhouses, excited to shop for plants! We had a good mix of people from locals who saw the sign or knew us from the Sequim Garden Show, to people who heard about us at Hortlandia, to a couple of garden clubs and other random friends. Mark and Lila of Fairmeadow Nursery showed up on Sunday which was really a nice surprise. We easily sold enough plants to make our efforts all seem worthwhile, and partially fund some fall projects such as a new propagation house and display beds.
Just for fun we will share with you that our preparations for this event were down to the wire. With so much else to stay on top of it seemed to take forever to finish building greenhouse #3. Finally we got that done about two weeks before the open house: then there was the task of getting greenhouse #2 set in order, which had formerly been jam-packed with stock to the point where it was impossible to step anywhere without crushing a plant. This turned out to be a huge job with a few loose ends to still tie up. We also moved our entire “forest” of empty pots that had been right in the middle of the nursery behind greenhouse #1 and out of sight. So if the Friday morning crowd caught us slightly less completely prepared than we might have been, we hope they will pardon us: I was up very late Thursday night painting the nursery signs, moving plants, and trying to complete set-up! (Who said nothing good ever happens after midnight? Ha ha.)
If you missed the open house, despair not. For now that we know we can do it, we have decided to do another one! It will be September 1 – 3. I will post more about this later, but in general, we think that settling into a routine of 2 – 3 (4?) open house events per year would be a nice goal to shoot for. This one is specifically scheduled to accommodate Labor day traffic, which isn’t nearly as bad as lavender traffic, though ferry waiting can be an issue at certain times. Just remember that if our open house dates don’t work for you, you are always very welcome to schedule an appointment!
As I said, I didn’t manage to get a lot of photos with people in them, or with the sun shining, but here goes:
“Table” loaded with exciting Grevilleas and spikey things (that’s the scientific name)
This should tempt you to go in, right??
Inside newly completed greenhouse #3
Display of larger manzanitas… I figure if these don’t sell this fall, they’ll be more irresistible the bigger they get.
Here’s where we pretended to do some cashiering when it wasn’t drizzling too hard.
This Protea grandiceps decided to bloom just in time for the open house!
Here I am showing Mark some of my exciting Arctostaphylos and Penstemon collections from last fall (remember those?)
OK, so this is cheating. A couple days after the open house, a bunch of people who regretted missing it showed up and bought stuff. It was great since everything was still set up!