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CAN: Niagara flower growers blooming with optimism into 2021 growing season

Growing flowers may not seem like tough business, but as many aspiring pandemic green thumbs can now likely attest, there’s more involved than simply adding a little water and sunlight.

As the coronavirus began stifling businesses back in March last year, Arie Koole, owner of Creekside Greenhouses in Jordan Station, recalled it being a time of “real panic.”

Right when sales of lilies and hydrangeas would be driven by Easter, orders wilted – and so too did the flowers, with nowhere to go. “We dumped a lot of flowers,” Koole said recently.

It was enough to scare the family-run operation, which specializes in potted, hanging plants, into planting less without knowing what loomed over the horizon.

But when they reopened their doors in early May, business boomed with steady lineups for over a month. “It was crazy, it was absolutely crazy,” he said over a recent phone call. “We had our best season ever; we blew it out of the water. Once we realized that we could be open, we just kept planting and planting and growing whatever we could get our hands on,” he said.

Though he noticed a decrease in poinsettias sales, coinciding with a lack of businesses decorating for the holidays, overall, sales were up across the board.

As for what the coming growing season holds, Paul quipped that his “crystal ball” is a little cloudy right now, but added that “if people continue to homestead, we’re pretty much going to be on par for what we did last year.”

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