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Between the Rows: Franklin County a perfect place to shop for gardeners

  • Cyclamen is just one example of the many potted plants offered at the Greenfield Farmers Cooperative Exchange that would make excellent holiday gifts. For the Recorder/Pat Leuchtman

  • Multiple companies offer versatile sprinklers and hoses that can be set up to cover a half-circle, a long rectangle or just about any other configuration your garden might need. For the Recorder/Pat Leuchtman

  • Shelburne Farm & Garden has practical plant stands of different heights, including a stand with arms for four small plants. For the Recorder/Pat Leuchtman

  • LEUCHTMAN



For the Recorder
Monday, December 10, 2018

We’ve shopped on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, but if you are like me, you may not have finished your holiday shopping. Fortunately, there are many places where we can buy everything a gardener, novice or expert, might need in our own neighborhood.

I began shopping at the Greenfield Farmers Cooperative Exchange on High Street. I didn’t even have to go inside to see wonderful greenery waiting to be hung on welcoming doors. Swags and wreaths made of a variety of greens with berries and ribbons range in price starting at $7.

Inside the building are tools, gloves, boots and fertilizers. I looked at hoses and saw there seems to be revolutionary new hose designs. The soaker hoses are made of sturdier materials than the ones I used years ago, hoses that deteriorated in a year or two. A couple of years ago, I saw that Dramm made sprinklers that could be set up to cover a half-circle, a long rectangle or just about any other configuration your garden might need. Now, other companies are also making these versatile sprinklers. Costs range from about $20 to $60.

The co-op is a veritable emporium of everything a gardener might need, from brightly colored ceramic vases on a single base that allow for an impromptu bouquet, elegant white pots for houseplants, or, if you wish, brilliantly colored pots in shades of orange, green and blue. Pots range in price from $7 to $20. Of course, there is also a full range of houseplants that make wonderful holiday gifts, as well as amaryllis sets for $10. And there is more to see ...

I made a stop at The Outlet Store, a men’s shop on Chapman Street. Skip White welcomed me but reminded me it wasn’t gardening season. Even so, he showed me beige Carhartt pants that gardeners have been buying because it’s easier to find ticks on the pale fabric. He also showed me classic blue chambray shirts, to save you from sunburn when you are in the garden all day, and Dri-Release T-shirts that provide the wicking that many of us welcome.

White even showed me a few hats he brought up from the basement ranging from a classic straw hat, to a hat with a flap to protect necks from sunburn, and a lightweight floppy hat that would be comfortable and protective. All these items range in price from $20 to $40. And there is more to see ...

Then I started up Route 2 and stopped at the Hilltown Growers Supply in Shelburne. In the spring, I met Co-Owner Wilder Sparks when I bought a new plant light set up so I could start lots of zinnias. Wilder has equipment and supplies including fertilizers that go well beyond what is necessary for growing cannabis. On this trip, I was amazed by the Dutch bucket system he had set up. This is a hydroponic system that Wilder is experimenting with and his chosen crop is peppers. And there is more to see ...

Shelburne Farm & Garden also has lots of wreaths and swags, both plain and fancy, with different greens and berries. The store also has practical plant stands of different heights, including a stand with arms for four small plants. Prices range from $25 to $60. Most of the lightweight gardening gloves were put away, but the pale Mud suede gauntlets ($29) would be a wonderful gift for the gardener who has thorny plants like roses.

Shelburne Farm & Garden is famous for its love of birds, its supply of bird seed and some unusual bird feeders. Nicole Crossman showed me some plexiglass bird feeders with suction cups that allow you to attach the feeder to your window, providing a close-up view of the birds and making it easy to identify them. And there is more to see ...

Then I was off to OESCO Inc. in Conway, which has just about every garden tool you will ever have to use. I’ve always found it difficult to buy garden tools as a gift for a friend because I never know for sure what they already own. I was talking to Jemma Vanderheld and asked if there was any tool that people had to replace often. She thought long and hard before replying, “A lot of people have to replace their pruners because they lose them.” That statement hit home; I have a set of pruning shears with ragged grips after they spent the winter in the grass and were then run over by the lawn mower in the spring.

I asked if there was any tool that people tended not to buy even though it was useful. Vanderheld didn’t hesitate this time.

“Sharpeners. People bring their tools for sharpening to us because they think they are not capable of sharpening. But all our sharpeners list a website where you can get a sharpening lesson,” she said. “And they can watch it as many times as they want.” Sharpeners with different sizes and grits range in price from $8 to $50.

Vanderheld also mentioned that gardeners can have the springs and “bumpers” on their pruning shears replaced.

OESCO Inc. now carries a large range of cookbooks and garden books, for children and on special topics like vineyards, mushrooms and hops.

Surely you don’t believe I came home empty handed from my explorations. I bought a beautiful cast iron apple corer/peeler. I am happy!

Pat Leuchtman has been writing and gardening since 1980. Readers can leave comments at her website: commonweeder.com.