New local garden center scheduled for spring opening

·2 min read

A new garden center will be opening soon in the Strathmore area, intending to provide residents a new local option to get expert advice about domestic botany.

Wheatland Trees, operated by Phil Paxton, will be adopting a retail aspect to the business and branching out from exclusively providing a wholesale service.

“Up to this point, we’ve focused all of our time on wholesale. We’re now, due to the traffic that’s been dropping by, that we’d start catering to the retail public,” said Paxton.

“We’re crazy excited about the opportunity. We’ve never really done retail with any focus... We’ve been doing a lot of flowers in the wholesale sector for a long time.”

Wheatland Trees took root in the local region in 2016, but Paxton has been working operating the tree farm for roughly 30 years.

The expansion won’t necessarily be turning over a new leaf, however, as the company will be dedicating much of its focus to flowers and shrubs that can be easily grown and maintained locally, something they had previously also been selling wholesale.

Wheatland Trees, for example, provides flowers wholesale to show home parades in Calgary, and has done so for a long time.

“Everything that we do is absolutely very hardy, but in the annual flower business, it’s seasonal so it starts when the last frost has finished and ends when the first frost starts,” said Paxton.

“It’s not just flowers and perennials, (there is) a lot to do with a growing trend of people to supply their own food. That’s a big part of what we are hoping to be able to advise people on is how they can safely grow their own food.”

Paxton added that Wheatland Trees will also be looking to host workshops aimed at providing patrons with an introduction to local botany, and the general information necessary to keeping domestic plants alive and healthy.

Within the greenhouse, he explained those who are interested will be able to speak to staff one-on-one for some more in-depth information.

“There’s nothing I enjoy more than having somebody coming in and saying, ‘I've got this issue, what would you recommend,’ or even visiting somebody and trying to help them with the problem,” said Paxton.

Wheatland Trees won’t be focusing at all on indoor plants or tropicals for the time being, though Paxton said if there is a significant local demand for it, he is not closed off to the idea.

The retail side of the business will open with a small building for supplies, and a covered greenhouse for customers to browse the selection of plants.

The garden center is scheduled to be open to the public starting on May 14.

John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times

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