Garden Center Closures


The Local company that I bought my soil from, my mulch from has closed and while I am digging, I have yet to find a company even somewhat close to me that has or is planning to open to replace it..  They closed last fall and it was on their website.. 

I have no issue making my own compost and I can get sand delivered, I have lots of extra grown here on the farm but honestly I had planned on jump starting by buying another 20 tons of soil.. not sure that is a choice I get to make this year.. I am pretty sure I can get another 20ish tons of cow manure/wood chips blend delivered to the farm again this year and I will ask for the most aged possable..  its aged enough that its rough soil but not weedy at all. If I mix in a couple shovels of sand into the blend with a hand full of kelp and turn it, it will not look as pretty as the above but it will certainly get the job done.. 

However I am going to have to either rethink the plan to finish out cedar mulching the last of the walking paths in kitchen garden or I am going to have keep calling till I find someone that will deliver a load of natural cedar blend..  I do not need the pretty ones, I am hoping to find the landscaper blend as that will work like a dream and save me a little on cost which will help with the delivery fee.

Last fall on of the biggest locally greenhouse in our area annouced that they were moving from open to the public to being a whole sale only.. this was a planned move as a response to covid, it allows them to move sideways, use their greenhouses in a more effective way, removes curbside pickups and allows them to meet a very active and large local landscapers market..  

While they will be missed in our garden groups and peaple will certainly miss being able to shop at better prices by doing it themselves at least they have not fully closed..


However the other BIG greenhouse/nursery/plant center in the big city (50 min away) that has been around for 60 years and 3 gens just annouced they are retiring, i was listening to the on the radio this morning..  they made the choice based on covid, normally they have 27 staff and last year due to covid, they were in order to meet the legal requirements down to 7 staff and they said they were working up to 18 hours a day (so assume all family) and that they promised themselves they would never do another Covid season with curbside pickups. 

Clearly they meant it as they annouced their closure, they are done..  They are not the only ones.. I have watched so many other ones sell out early and or off very limited sales and I have seen three places that just did a one year pause.. sold out.. come back next year.. 

The one thing that i was not expecting was the comments from a couple different folks that were interviewed as they offered two other interesting points.. 

a) that all the local big box stores that were allowed to stay open, now have smaller plant sale sections and that peaple tend to pick up a few packs (even at higher prices and lower quality) while getting their groceries..

b)  That in the time of lock down less want to drive to the garden centers and that without the take your time look at everything and buy extras that just the order means many less sales (this one I can understand, how many times do I go for X and come out with Y Z and B lol)

c) Peaple are home and so they are buying seeds and starting their own plants..  I was a bit surprised by this one to be honest.. but three of the places closing all touched on it, they said.. with peaple working from home, having more time and with the online sales from company’s with seeds, that they were losing a huge amount of their sales to peaple starting and growing their own plants.


Now that one got me lifting a eyebrow because most peaple do not want to start their own, most struggle to grow them, the garden groups are filled with leggy, floppy, issue ridden starts.. no I am sorry to say that the main reason you are seeing peaple buying seeds and starting their own is not because of time or being home, or covid.. 

Its PRICE..  I know its hard to hear it when you are the one paying though the nose.. the seeds cost more, the pots cost more, the soil costs so much more and then staff, greenhouse, trucking and so on.. I get it! I totally get it. I do.. 

BUT last year a 6 pack cell of regular tomato’s last year was 5.99 .. I have no idea what they will be this spring but i can tell you that I know hundreds of peaple that are starting at home this year that normally go and buy.. 

So I will own up that I am also starting at home this year..  for the past couple years I have ordered my tomato’s, peppers and last year eggplants from a outstanding local grower.. and i love his plants!  They are amazing.. 

However with the cost output for my new indoor greenhouse (I have extra growing space for really early starts, I have extended my 3 season greenhouse) but the biggest issue this year is cost savings.. 


While I fully respect his price increase per plant and the pot price per plant (and I have always gotten a amazing discount due to bulk buying) the truth is what i can save by starting my own is kinda of crazy..  I am saving about $300.. 

That is a huge savings, it pretty much can pay for a different garden project this year, so be it.. I can only hope that they will be lots of folks that do not want start there so he will have no issues filling up his space and selling out again. 

So are you seeing your garden centers close? Are you seeing them move from public to wholesale? Are you seeing a increase on your area’s garden groups moving over to starting their own this year? Have you seen a increase in the big box stores bringing in the garden sections? Where the garden centers open in your area last year?

Do you think more peaple are starting from seed because they are home and have more time? or do you think cost is a huge factor?


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12 Responses to Garden Center Closures

  1. valbjerke says:

    We have a huge family run greenhouse a few miles from here – they’re going strong and are extremely busy every year. I think their prices are reasonable….
    However – I think Covid/stay home has changed a lot of things – I get asked a lot, where I buy my seeds. Last year we lent out our rotortiller to people who’ve never had a garden, but now wanted to start one. 🤷‍♀️
    I plant everything but herbs from seed – just my preference really, but I think most people around here do both starts and seed.
    It’s unfortunate you’re having trouble finding decent dirt. Around here you can get it from almost anywhere – mind you, sometimes it’s a bit weedy. And it is expensive.

    • I am so glad your big greenhouse is going strong.. I know I have been asked about seed alot as well, last year was crazy trying to help everyone.. I hope they will keep going this year. Good for you on starting everything, I have to admit that I am surprised on the dirt as well but I think its because the city is all into raised beds and it takes a lot of soil to fill them.. they are willing to pay more per ton..

  2. Silver says:

    Here in the UK garden centres were designated as essential businesses from the beginning, and so remained open throughout all the lockdowns.
    People did go and buy stuff to grow at home, and to improve their gardens. I am guilty of that myself though I ordered stuff over the phone and then had it delivered to my curb – if I am going to spend a lot of time in the garden, I may as well make it look inviting ^_^

    • That’s wonderful to hear that they were made essential businesses.. wonderful! Don’t feel guilty at all.. I agree with you totally, if you are going to spend that kind of time at home in the garden of course you want it to look nice.. part of the reason that I am adding in so many more flowers this year.. yes I want them for the bees, butterflies and seeds in winter, and for collection for sale.. but at the same time, I just want the pretty.. I want to sit with a cuppa and have flowers from spring though fall 🙂

  3. So many of the smaller businesses have been blocked because of Covid ‘restrictions’ and not only Garden Centres:/ Why, if there are square footage restrictions in a smaller store, can customers not be allowed to shop where they wish, where it’s actually safer (and support those who need it most!)?

    • yes there is lots of peaple that have said this, but it does not appear to be the case..

      • I’m sorry, but I’m missing your meaning Val. What is it that “does not appear to be the case”?

      • I mean that the goverments are not going to use logic and allow them to be based on space and that they are not going to allow the small ones to be open.

      • Ah, so you’re saying that they’re purposely forcing small businesses into bankruptcy (while Big Boxes flourish… :/)

      • hmm, I think that will be the end result to a point yes.. but its not that simple.. in some cases, point in fact to date.. many LARGE big box stores and big chains are closing as well.. Company’s that have chains that are shutting down hundreds of stores across canada, n.a or even the world.. so no, its to simple to say they are only pushing small vs big.. and in that way the small local business’s have a leg up over them.. in many cases alot of the small business’s that are truly needed are in fact having their best years to date.. those working in the home care business are booked for months, landscapers say that last year was one of the best ever, farmers that have sold out in farm gate sales, rescue that have no animals left to adopt, pet stores are making money hand over fist, vet that can’t keep up and so on.. or look at the money flowing in regards to a insane housing prices.. if the cost of a house is up 100,000 that means when sold more money in many pockets..

        but yes, mixed sale places are doing well.. the local stores that sell a mix like the canadian tire or the giant tiger rocking it.. but the just shoes placec.. struggling.. flower shop.. struggling.. hair cutting.. struggling.. gym struggling.. i think its more about “specilzation” and needs vs wants that is splitting the area more so. and or stores that need “impulse” buys or keeping up with the jones.. that is suffering.. places that just sell a suit.. they are going to suffer.. but a mixed store that also sells jeans/shirts going strong.. hope that makes sense.

      • Are your Canadian tire stores open in the Ottawa area? Ours is order online/ curb-side pickup only. No one actually in the store to take orders, only to pick stock – and even that’s an assumption on my part because I’ve not witnessed a single car in their lot since the ‘stay-at-home’ order was put in place. Giant Tiger is a different story altogether as they, along with any store that sells groceries, are allowed business as usual (Covid-style of course)

      • Car shop open and the rest is order and curbside but they are open which is really all we need.. but yes covid style for them all..

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