This spring has been reminding me of a poorly cracked egg. I just want that quick sunny side up I was expecting, but instead there has been a slow leaking of the season, slipping through the cracks a little at a time, revealing itself in a muddled and unhurried fashion. For an area that is usually spoiled with sunshine, we have been dodging rainstorms left and right and wondering why the thermometer is abnormally uncooperative. Maybe that’s why a recent trip down to the Van Wingerden Greenhouses in Sunnyside was that much more enjoyable. So many flowers growing and blooming seemed delightfully rebellious.
Right about now everyone is starting to think about getting their yards, pots and planter boxes growing for the year. Heading to a nursery of choice, there are a boatload of beautiful, healthy plants, usually in bloom, to choose from. It’s folks like the Van Wingerdens that were thinking ahead, to make those options possible for us. Back a few months ago, when the average person was shoveling the snow from their driveway or loading ski gear into the car, the inner machinations behind the glass walls of the greenhouse started turning. Thousands of seeds were planted by hand in small planting grids and nurtured with water and light to get them to sprout. An extraordinary machine pulled those sprouts out of the grid and placed them in a flat from where they have been growing since about mid-February. Right now, they are blooming up and shipping out.
As I pull up to the greenhouse, the place is abuzz. Plants are being loaded onto carts and rolled out of the greenhouse for shipping. Meeting up with Danessa Van Wingerden, she gives me the nickel tour of their two acres of indoor growing space. It’s packed. Hanging baskets line the ceiling, the flats carpet the ground. It’s such a lovely sight.
Of course, the bloom is spectacular. Seeing so much live color just feels right. It’s like a momentary assurance of all that is good in the world. The unbloomed green is wonderful as well—so alive and fresh and growing. Most of what they sell will end up in the nursery section at Fred Meyers stores everywhere.
About 11 years ago, Danessa started a small business of her own selling directly to the public in Zillah at a small seasonal outlet called Buds & Blossoms. She takes me back to a smaller side greenhouse where she is hoarding product largely in pots where she has already completed a variety of mixed plantings. She says everything is so tiny when she plants it, it’s a surprise to see how it all comes together when mature and blooming. They look fantastic, and evoke the feeling of backyard barbeques and warm nights. She is planning on opening this weekend.
Clearly, the emotional response this experience elicited in me is proof of one thing: I’m ready for the season change to be a bit more decisive. I want that cleanly cracked egg sunny side up. Now please.
Maybe I should just buy some flowers and get my grow on.