Tammy Diacont at Wildwood Nursery says it’s been busier than usual for this time of year and the garden center is anticipating some changes, including taking pre-orders for pickup.
“We prepare months in advance, getting plants and plugs and planting stuff up. That’s all still going on; we can’t let them die,” she said. “If anything, we have extra people here because of the schools being shut down. We have some teenagers here helping, and we usually wouldn’t have that help yet.”
Diacont said that the nursery staff has also increased the amount of sanitation they are doing, down to wiping each pen a customer might use, but she feels pretty good about the nursery environment being out in the open.
“The only thing that we might change is our anniversary sale coming up in April. That’s a big to-do,” Diacont said. “Our whole parking lot is packed, and we have lines going out the doors. We offer our one-gallon azaleas for $2, and we usually sell up to a thousand in a day. That’s a lot of people.”
Diacont said the nursery might take preorders and schedule pickup times to try to keep the crowd down, but the sale is in two weeks, and anything can change between then and now.
In it’s regular day to day operations, Wildwood Nursery staff will take orders by phone if a customer called and said they don’t want to come out. Deliveries are possible, but limited.
“Our vehicles through the week are out doing jobs,” she said. “It depends where the customers are and what they need. If we can, we try to make deliveries work.”
Diacont said that last Saturday and through the week, the nursery has been busy.
“People keep calling to see if we’re open, and we haven’t had any big crowds of people, but most of the customers are like, ‘If I’m home, I’m going to work in my yard,’” Diacont said. “Now’s the time to plant, and now’s the time to do. Some of our customers said they are getting away from the city. Some of them are just getting away from their college-aged kids.”
The nursery staff has even gone as far as to get some hot weather plants, like tomatoes, peppers, and other vegetables onto the retail floor earlier than normal. According to Diacont, those items wouldn’t normally come out for another few weeks.
Diacont doesn’t think the nursery will have to shut down, and after looking at some of the garden center magazines, she said that nurseries are considered essential businesses because they sell vegetable plants, seeds, and supplies people need to grow their own food.
While other industries are laying off employees, Wildwood Nursery is looking to hire a couple more part-time employees. The stipulations are that they have to be available on weekends and able to lift some of the heavier items.
“Right now it’s business as usual. We haven’t cut our hours back at all,” said Diacont. The nursery is open seven days a week.
This year is Wildwood Nursery’s 27th year of operation. According to Diacont, she and her husband, Mike, came down to the lake to visit friends and decided the area needed a garden center.
“There was nothing else like it in the area,” Diacont said. “That’s what Mike grew up doing in Richmond, so we decided to bring it here.”
Diacont said that she hopes it doesn’t come to a shut down, and until something happens otherwise, the garden center will remain open.
Wildwood Nursery is at 847 Lizard Creek Road, Henrico, N.C. and can be reached by phone at 252-586-3685.