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Flower buyers head to greenhouses

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Mother’s Day was the perfect time to head to north country greenhouses to see what is available for this year’s gardens and to buy something colorful for mom.

“Whatever she wants, she can have,” Michael W. LaRue, Syracuse, said of his mother, Paula G. Landingham, Ogdensburg, while perusing the 17 greenhouses at Miller’s on Wood Road in Lisbon.

Holding up the plant in his hand, Mr. LaRue acknowledged the shopping was not all for his mother.

“This is the world’s hottest pepper,” he said. “This is for me.”

Johanna L. LeBlanc, Rensselaer Falls, also came to do Mother’s Day shopping, but for herself.

“My mother lives in Alaska,” she said. “Usually we come here and pick up some things for Mother’s Day. This year, we’re looking for lilacs. My husband is buying one and I’m buying myself one, too. Usually, it’s roses. I always say, ‘Don’t buy me something that’s going to die.’”

Jean E. LaJoy, Ogdensburg, came with two other generations: her daughter Angela K. and granddaughter Sydney K.

“It’s Mother’s Day and they have to give us something for Mother’s Day,” she said.

Despite the chill in the air Sunday, sales have been brisk so far this season because the weather generally has been pleasant, owner Munson J. Miller said.

“Right now for Mother’s Day, it’s the hanging baskets,” he said. “Gift certificates are big, too.”

Not everyone was shopping for Mother’s Day.

Phyllis M. Gilbert, DeKalb Junction, spent the day seeing what greenhouses had to offer her other than the petunias, marigolds, zinnias and tomatoes she started herself under lights.

“We’re just browsing to see what catches my eye,” she said. “We’re out wandering.”

At Basta’s Flower Shop on Main Street in Ogdensburg, which has seven greenhouses along with cut flowers, owner Joseph M. Basta also declared sales so far a success because of recent mild weather.

“Everyone is so tempted. It’s been great. We already have a couple of things that are sold out,” he said. “The trend is a little bit of everything.”

North country greenhouses are a gardener’s best friend, Mr. Basta said.

“I just think that going to greenhouses, you’ll see Northern New York varieties grown for this area,” he said. “Whether it’s flowers or vegetables, we test out our plants.”

Customers also are snapping up the offerings at Larry’s Greenhouse on Old State Road in the town of Lisbon.

“We’ve been exceptionally busy,” owner Lawrence J. Hurst said. “All our big baskets are gone. The hanging baskets are flying out of here.”

Mr. Hurst, who has already retired once from Community Bank, said he is thinking of stepping away from his second career as a greenhouse grower.

“I’d like to retire and I’d like to get my relatives to take over,” he said.

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