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Local Rivertowns nurseries see good sales, thanks to early spring

A sign in Sargent's Nursery's greenhouse reminds customers that even though it may feel spring-like during the day, freezing temperatures are still likely. Many area nurseries say the early spring has customers anxious to get in their gardens, and that has translated into strong early sales.

It may only be the beginning of the growing season, but a few area nursery owners are already reaping the fruits of their labor.

An early spring - especially a very summer-like March - has made consumers eager to get out in the garden and stock up on plants, mulches and fertilizers. And while nursery owners are hesitant to call it a bumper crop, they are saying the warm temps have given them a head start.

"The spring has been just great," said Dave Lewis, co-owner of Sargent's Nursery in Red Wing. "It's been hopping. ... Everybody is so excited to get out in those gardens."

At Sargent's, things like bulk mulches, evergreens, shrubs and grass seed have been some of the top early sellers.

Across town, Hallstrom's Greenhouse and Garden Center also has seen its share of eager gardeners.

"It really got people anxious," Dave Hallstrom said of the weather. "Even though it's way too early, people still want to get out and start working in the dirt."

Hallstrom said the first plants that can safely go in the ground are perennials and pansies. And his nursery has been selling quite a few of those.

"We've seen that activity a lot earlier than normal," he said.

At Nesbitt's Nursery and Orchard in Prescott, Leah Nesbitt said they were able to open their greenhouses this past weekend. That's a full two to three weeks earlier than normal.

"Things are a little bit ahead," she said.

However, it's not just that sales have been early. The nursery owners say they may be making more sales than they would in a typical year.

"Sales have been pretty good so far," Hallstrom said.

Lewis added that the early spring gets people eager to take care of projects that they may have been putting off for some time.

"What we are seeing is that when the weather is nice early, the attitude is 'Let's get out and do this,'" he said.

For Nesbitt's, which has the Oasis Eatery on site, having warm temps drew more people into the restaurant.

"We have had huge sales in the eatery in March. This is way better than ever before. Way," she said. "Warm weather brings people out."

Still, it's not easy for the nursery owners to determine exactly how much more product they've sold than other years. That's because they just don't have data from this early in the growing season to compare it to.

"It's hard to quantify," Lewis said.

However, with a strong and early start, all three nursery owners say they're looking forward to solid sales throughout the summer.

"We're anticipating a good season," Hallstrom said.