By Christina VanGinkel
Whenever the outdoor garden displays go up at our local shopping centers, one knows that spring has officially arrived. Long before then though, the garden and outdoor centers inside of the stores are stocked with all the newly arriving stock. This morning I had to run to town for some forgotten printer paper that my youngest son needed in order to finish his homework this afternoon. While I was there, I decided to take a walk to the back of the store where the garden center is usually located, to see if they had begun stocking the shelves and display areas. I was not disappointed.
Before I even reached the back of the store, I came across a huge display that they were just setting up of dedicated to yard and garden furniture. They were busily setting up everything from chaise lounges and swings, to patio sets and hammocks. Mixed amongst all of these pieces were self standing umbrellas, mosquito candles, and barbeque grills of various types, including gas and charcoal, and even a couple that looked more like a complete kitchen center than something you might find in a backyard.
From there, I continued towards the back of the store and was not disappointed back there either. They had a fully stocked area filled with everything from yard decorations (bears seem to be big again this year, which I just happen to love!), including wind chimes, glass viewing balls, walkway lights, and birdhouses, to edging that looked like picket fencing, stepping stones, and even a giant display of new and old styles of garden hoses.
In the summer months, this back area opens to the outside where they have several greenhouses filled with seedlings, and full sized plants. Between the two areas is a somewhat enclosed area that is filled with the overflow of plants from outside and those that might need more specialized attention in our area where even late into summer we have very cold mornings and evenings. This space was already filled with plants, and more yard decorations such as birdbaths. There was also a section geared for outdoor fun for the little ones with an assortment of swimming pools, swing sets, and play sets from Little Tikes and a few other names I did not recognize. On the opposite end of the space, was a display of outdoor heaters and fireplaces, and some unique lighting options for those of us who would like to use our outdoor spaces as long into an evening as is possibly feasible.
Spring is not yet here, but spring fever has defiantly started to settle in with many of us who love the awakening of spring. Of being able to get outside and dig in the dirt, to plant our flowers and vegetables, and to not only relish in the enjoyment of everything as it grows and prospers, but to also take pride in it all s it grows with the aid given by our own two hands. While I could not think of one single item as I browsed the different departments that I absolutely needed for this spring, other than maybe a new pair of gloves, I nonetheless enjoyed browsing all the different displays. For one thing, they essentially told me that I am not the only one more than ready for spring to get her, and for summer to be quickly on its heels.
With the arrival of spring according to my calendar only a bit over a week away, I know that in my neck of the woods, it will realistically still be several more weeks before we get to see the first signs of spring beyond that black numbered date on a wall calendar. Until then, I and everybody else that lives where snow is still the main thing on our weather person's mind, will have to make do with a few visits to stores such as this to remind us that spring is coming, if we can just hang on for a bit longer. We can smell the flowers and remind ourselves that it is coming, and before we know it, we will be needing those mosquito candles and wondering if we should pick up just one more flat of moss roses, as there is a bit of a bare spot way in back by the pansies.