Saskatchewan greenhouses feel the growing pains of Spring

Saskatchewan greenhouses are feeling the chill of an unseasonalbly cool start to the growing season.

A cool May has halted many green thumbs.

Plenty of plants and not many customers thanks to below average temperatures this Spring. (Britainy Robinson)

Mounds of colour and rows of foliage ready to go but few people.

It's the unwelcome site at many greenhouses in Saskatchewan these days.

At Floral Acres Greenhouse, seeding started in January and plants were ready to go by Mother's Day.
Despite the wide variety, customers are browsing, not buying.

According to the Canada Nursery and Landscape Association, we spend $14 billion dollars every year on beautifying our yards. That's money that should be coming in by now.

But overnight temperatures in May have been below freezing. Our average for this time of year is four degrees.

"Cooler weather has definitely put a damper on sales and kept people from buying this year," said Spencer Mah, who speaks for the greenhouse, "Normally it's quite busy. The long weekend is when everybody would normally be ready for planting."

When it comes to planting, customers have their own rules.

Deb Bachman picked up a few plants today and is sticking to a family rule, "My grandma always said don't plant anything until after the long weekend." Bachman laughed,  "After that, you can go at it!"

It's not just about reduced sales either. Many greenhouses in this province also grow plants for larger retailers and grocery stores. The cool weather means many of their orders have been cancelled or put on hold. That means a pile-up of plants for the growers.

You can only maintain plants for so long," explained Mah. " At a certain point, plants become pretty tall and it's less appealing to consumers. When you're not selling things, you have to start throwing them out."

Still some brave gardeners say a little frost and some manual labour won't hold them back. 
Tammy Bessant is not waiting to buy plants. She says she'll haul them in and out of the garage if she has to. (Britainy Robinson)

"I'm not willing to haul them in and out but I have to." Tammy Bessant said. "We don't have a choice. It you want to enjoy the flowers and the garden and your yard, it's the sacrifice you have to make."

Growers say the next few weeks could make or break them. The May long weekend is a time when gardeners really dig in and Mah is hoping for crowds to make up for lost sales.