August 15, 2014
By Dave Braun
LO President

Dave Braun This spring, on Wed., May 28, at 9:53 p.m., I responded to a customer’s email inquiry from my desk at the office. Instead of receiving his expected reply, it simply read, “Have you had the talk with your fiancée?”  

The ‘talk’ in question centred around what could be otherwise known as ‘the nurseryman’s talk.’  That’s the one where you deliver the cold reality to your significant other about the seemingly insane hours people in our industry endure.

In my case, long before my fiancée Ashley and I were engaged, my actions spoke much louder than words. We met April 4, 2012, right in the heart of springtime insanity. Ashley certainly had a first-hand view of the hours it takes to work in this industry.

I’m actually not sure how I managed to even make a date. Ashley was living in downtown Toronto. Even when considering that big city folks find dining around 9 p.m. completely reasonable, I was consistently late for a number of our dinner dates. Just newly dating, Ashley may not have understood the full extent of what it means to be a significant other in the springtime (and why I found it so difficult to make a 9 p.m. deadline), but she was certainly understanding.

“Our loved ones know that missing time with us during the busy season simply comes with the territory.”

Our wedding is now just around the corner (August 16), and Ashley is three springs into life as a nurseryman’s better half. We both know that spring is crazy, and this too shall pass. Instead of bemoaning the long hours that I’m kept from home, Ashley embraced dinners just before midnight, puts out my Cheerios for the early mornings and makes the most of the little us-time available.

I believe that most of us can get through just about anything if we know there’s light at the end of the tunnel; for our industry, light is at the end of the spring.

Not only do I know how blessed I am, I’ve also witnessed spouses encouraging their hard-working partners through the grind of the spring. Many a time I have enjoyed a delicious home-baked treat delivered to the nursery by loving spouses who wanted to ensure their husband, who probably hadn’t eaten since dawn, had something to eat.

Our loved ones know that missing time with us during the busy season simply comes with the territory. They well-know how precious any free time is during the non-winter months. It takes a special spouse to understand that just when the the sun begins to shine, we seem to disappear.

As sure as I am that I appreciate the love and support I get at home, I’m also sure that every year there’s a spring, and we’ll all be working as intensely as we always have been. While future nurserymen may have the ability to clone themselves and divide their time, the least we can do today is take a moment to give a heartfelt “Thank you!” to those who give us the strength and the drive to continue to do what we do; midnight dinners and all.
Dave Braun may be reached at