PEI

Fall flower bulb business booming as people stay close to home

Sales of fall bulbs have been brisk on Prince Edward Island as people look forward to a more colourful spring.

P.E.I. garden suppliers say the demand has been 'overwhelming'

Canadians are flocking to plant more spring-flowering bulbs in their gardens this fall, and the Veseys Seeds website is showing the results. (Veseys Seeds)

Sales of fall bulbs have been brisk on Prince Edward Island as people look forward to a more colourful spring.

In fact, Veseys Seeds in York has seen a 200-per-cent increase in the sale of flower bulbs. 

If you go onto the Veseys site and search for mail-order fall planting bulbs, you see collections of daffodils, tulips, irises, lilies and crocuses among those labelled "sold out." (There's still a good variety of bulbs available at the Veseys store on P.E.I., though.)

"We've been pleasantly surprised and somewhat overwhelmed by the demand for fall planting bulbs right across Canada," said John Barrett, director of sales, marketing and development at Veseys Seeds.

"We have had to add staff, we had to start earlier and there's not a square inch of space in our bulb production facility at the airport. It's just been — everybody's flat out."

Barrett said that luckily, the company was able to get deliveries from suppliers despite the COVID-19 pandemic that has caused issues in some industries. 

Asked what he thought the reason was for the increase in demand, he answered with a laugh: "Whatever it is, we like it."

Then he speculated that people seemed keen on "adding colour to their yard" during a time when it has been hard to go anywhere because of the coronavirus situation. "Fall bulbs are a really hope-filled type of product."

'Back to basics'

Over at VanKampen's Greenhouses in Charlottetown, operations manager Peter Meijer said fall bulbs are not a large category for them. But they ordered in extra this year, anticipating an increase in demand.

He said sales are up, with some customers planting fall bulbs for the first time. 

"That kind of goes to that mindset of 'When there is adversity, we get back to basics.' Canada's number one hobby right now is gardening."

Meijer said he has heard estimates that Canada has four million more gardeners this year than it had in 2019. 

"You know, that connection with your yard, your piece of property when you can't go other places, making your space nice."

You can plant fall bulbs in your garden up until the ground freezes.

More from CBC P.E.I. 

With files from Angela Walker, CBC News

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