COVID-19 has trapped us all at home, where we’re staring out our windows with a critical eye on our yards. Flower beds need to be weeded, hedges trimmed and garden features refreshed.
Local nurseries are standing by, ready to help you get growing. They are considered “essential businesses” under Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay-home order because they provide supplies for growing food. Indeed, many people are planting victory gardens — as was popular in the 1940s to aid the World War II effort — to get fresh produce without ever leaving home.
Yard ‘n Garden Land opened in 1965 on the corner of Highway 99 and 99th Street in Hazel Dell before moving to its current location at 1501 N.E. 102nd St. It was started by Roy Sonney of Ridgefield with his sister, LaVada Harris. It’s now owned by Sonney’s son, Mark, who works at the nursery. The nursery was staffing up for the spring rush when the coronavirus hit. Yard ‘n Garden Land is now closed to visitors, although staff are still taking phone orders.
“It was hard to close the doors from a business point of view, but from a health and safety point of view, we had to make that call,” said general manager Todd Flatt. Nevertheless, business has been brisk, considering the circumstances.
“We’re probably at 70 to 80 percent of what our normal staff would be this time of year,” Flatt said. “We had to keep as many cashiers as possible so they could answer the phones. That’s where everything is coming through.”
What are people buying right now?
“People are getting a little anxious to get their vegetables going,” Flatt said. “In a week or two, we’ll be more into vegetable season — tomatoes and peppers and definitely all the cold-season vegetables, lettuce and spinach and kales. We’re starting to get geraniums in and we’ll get a lot of our annuals and perennials in the next couple of weeks.”
The nursery had already been planning to add online ordering to its services, Flatt said. That’s been fast-tracked and should soon be available. In the meantime, to give customers an idea of what’s in stock, the nursery has posted PDF order forms for bulbs, seeds, roses and peonies. More order forms will be posted in the coming days at www.yardngardenland.com.
The phone lines are open at 360-573-7172 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday or 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, or you can email email@example.com. When your order is filled, you’ll be contacted by phone for payment. Then drive to the nursery and pick up your order. Staff will even load it for you — with a forklift, if necessary, for heavy items like trees. The nursery also offers local delivery for bulk purchases like bark dust, rocks, soil and landscaping plants.
“We’ve had to adjust on the fly and sort of reinvent the way we do business now,” Flatt said. “People are excited for spring, and we’re trying to accommodate them as much as we can. We have a lot of customers who are glad that we’re open and doing what we can.”
For those who live in north Clark County, Tsugawa Nursery, started in 1981 by the namesake family, is “still open and operating as usual,” said co-owner and manager Jenny Tsugawa.
“We are definitely practicing our safe spacing, with extra cleaning and bleaching,” Tsugawa said. “If customers don’t feel comfortable coming in, we’re offering curbside carryout. Orders can be taken over the phone and customers can work with a salesperson to ask about selection and availability.”
If you’re not able to drive to the nursery, the nursery will come to you.
“We’re still offering our delivery service, as well,” Tsugawa said. “Our pricing is on our website, depending on the ZIP code of where we’re delivering to.”
Visit www.tsugawanursery.com for complete information, or call 360-225-8750 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday or 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Tsugawa said the nursery is fully prepared for the spring onslaught.
“We have an entire greenhouse filled with vegetable starts, and another greenhouse filled with herbs,” Tsugawa said. “We wanted to stock up for the community, especially those who want to get their vegetable gardens started.”
Shorty’s Garden Center, 10006 Mill Plain Blvd., Vancouver, is closed to walk-in business, but has rolled out an e-commerce option at www.shortysgardencenter.com. Some product images aren’t live yet, but the owner — Dennis’ 7 Dees, which bought the business from a local family in 2016 — believed it was important to get online ordering in place to support stay-at-home customers.
Phone orders are also available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week. For larger or more complicated orders, email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have burning gardening questions, or if you’re a novice gardener learning a new skill while in quarantine, Shorty’s also has a “help and advice” line open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; call 360-892-7880 and ask for Rob.