May 15, 2008
When the owners of Canadale Nurseries found out their local home show wasn’t running this year, they decided to stage it themselves – at their store in St. Thomas! Pauline Intven-Casier explains that the late spring this year worked in their favour, as the greenhouses weren’t filled yet, and so the space could be used for displays during their first-ever Spring Garden Show, from March 27-30.

Pauline invited several area landscape contractors, as well as some companies selling unique products related to gardening, to create and man display gardens within the store. “We had a tremendous response,” she says. “All the exhibitors were happy to attend, and pleased with the final result.”

Well-known for partnering with community groups, Canadale Nurseries also invited the local cancer society and the St. Thomas hospital auxiliary to sell daffodils and a chili lunch, respectively. Pauline says the event received lots of promotion in the local press, including television coverage, in part because of the community partners.

While early spring is an extremely busy time for any garden centre, staging this event in late March forced Canadale Nurseries to get ready for the season early. Because none of the trees and shrubs were in leaf, they brought in a load of palm trees to add some height and greenery to the display gardens and made use of many early blooming perennials and forced tulips as well.

Several years ago Canadale Nurseries created a seminar room, which was put to good use during the Spring Garden Show. A total of 17 speakers were featured over the weekend and there was “a tremendous response” to the talks on perennials, cooking with herbs, preventing garden injuries, establishing a pond, and more.

The show provided the perfect antidote to a late spring, and was busy from 9 a.m. right through ‘til the final  day.

Caption: Small vignette gardens were created in the store, giving customers an early taste of spring.