Durham Region green thumbs gear up for May long weekend planting

The May long weekend is typically the time green thumbs start planting, and despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this year is no different.

The exceptionally seasonal weather over the past couple of days led to lineups at green houses across the region, with public safety capacity limits in place.

“I took the day off to come here but I didn’t get here soon enough,” said avid gardener Julie Brady who had to wait about half an hour at Vandermeer Nursery in south Ajax.

The third time was the charm for Darlene Ireland, after the long lines scared her off twice Tuesday, she woke up early and made the drive back down from Port Perry.

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“We’re all stuck at home, so we’re trying to make our backyards our oasis. It gives us something to do. It’s good for the mental health to be in the dirt gardening — kind of takes you out of the stress we’re all in right now with the pandemic,” said Ireland.

She came for vegetables and didn’t leave empty handed, her cart was right full.

“Just annuals for my planters, my hanging baskets and maybe some perennials for my other gardens,” said Ireland.

Chris and Karen Wood are on vacation. They’re also loading up for some long weekend planting.

“After Thursday I’m not going anywhere but the backyard,” Chris Wood said.

“Perennials, some colourful annuals and we sort of have a plan in our mind, we’re just going around to see which things look nice,” said Karen Duncan Wood.

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This is one of the busiest weeks for Vandermeer Nursery and this year could be record-breaking, as more than 2,000 people are going through the garden centre on average each day. Management expects the volume of shoppers to continue past the long weekend.

“We are limiting capacity more significantly than we’re required to just to make sure its as safe as possible,” said Saskia Kersten, Vandermeer Nursery’s retail manager.

Kersten says people are buying everything, making it difficult to keep up with products.

“The trees and shrubs are shipped in from local Ontario nurseries but the rest of it’s grown here. The benefit to that is we’re stocking constantly, so there’s carts and carts coming in daily for at least five out of six departments.”

With the long weekend looming, there are sure to be more long lineups sprouting up daily.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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