Gardeners are preparing for the second spring during COVID-19. Business is already picking up at some Greater Victoria nurseries, including Elk Lake Garden Centre. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Gardeners are preparing for the second spring during COVID-19. Business is already picking up at some Greater Victoria nurseries, including Elk Lake Garden Centre. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Greater Victoria garden centres preparing for busy season

Businesses stocking up for second gardening season during COVID-19 pandemic

Nurseries and garden centres across Greater Victoria are gearing up for a busy spring season.

Just 20 minutes after opening Friday morning, Elk Lake Garden Centre had several cars pulling up to the lot. It’s still early in the season but with COVID-19 protocols still in place, owner John Derrick wouldn’t be surprised if the nursery is soon as busy as it was last spring, when some customers waited up to an hour and a half just to get inside.

“Since last year, everybody’s staying home so everybody’s working in the garden,” he said. “So yes, all the garden centres are busy.”

After the pandemic started, British Columbia – along with several other provinces – designated garden centres as an essential service. But that designation came with restrictions such as capacity limits, which see line-ups form faster than in pre-pandemic years.

READ ALSO: Garden-sharing map connects Victoria landowners and gardeners

“From mid-April to mid-June, we expect anywhere from 550 to 750 customers a day, that’s just our standard,” Derrick said. “What we can process is about 350 to 400 (people). So that should tell you that the line-ups are going to be pretty big.”

Down the road at Wildwood Garden Centre, sales are also picking up. The nursery and outdoor living centre is selling huge numbers of fruit trees, bulbs and seeds of all kinds.

Owner Gord Nickel said this March has already been busier than last. But April of last year – a few weeks after the pandemic was declared – was when sales really went crazy.

“We are a little bit busier this year than last time,” Nickel said. “It will be interesting to see where the season takes us.”

Nickel said the store is preparing for the number of anticipated sales this spring. The nursery’s online store remains popular.

“Last year we weren’t prepared for the increase in demand,” he said. “We’ve certainly ordered way more than we did last year.”

READ ALSO: ‘I just want to survive:’ Greenhouses struggling with economic reality of COVID-19


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: nina.grossman@blackpress.ca. Follow us on Instagram.
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

garden lifegardeningGreater Victoria

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is helping Saanich police locate a suspect who allegedly stole an iPhone from a building in the 3100-block of Foul Bay Road on April 7. (Image via the Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers)
Saanich police seek suspect in cell phone theft

White iPhone XR reported stolen from building on Foul Bay Road April 7

This map shows the pharmacies in Greater Victoria offering the AstraZeneca vaccine for people born in 1981 and earlier. As the map shows, no pharmacies on the Saanich Peninsula are offering the vaccine. (B.C. Government map)
No pharmacies on Saanich Peninsula offering AstraZeneca vaccine

People born in 1981 and earlier eligible for AstraZeneca vaccines

Victoria police are looking for a 38-year-old man after he allegedly assaulted and choked a missing 15-year-old victim in Beacon Hill Park Tuesday night. (Black Press Media file photo)
15-year-old choked in Beacon Hill tent, Victoria police assaulted while intervening

Police searching for 38-year-old suspect, two officers injured in altercation with park residents

West Shore RCMP responded to 164 calls for service the last weekend, including numerous violent assaults. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore RCMP responds to 164 calls for service over weekend

Calls included numerous bear spray assaults and domestic violence incidents

A total of 10 flight exposures have affected the Victoria International Airport in April so far, making it the highest monthly total since the start of the pandemic. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria hits record-breaking number of monthly COVID-19 flight exposures

As of April 21, 10 flight exposures reported for the month

A large crowd protested against COVID-19 measures at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Snapchat)
VIDEO: Large, police-patrolled crowds gather at Vancouver beach for COVID protests

Vancouver police said they patrolled the area and monitored all gatherings

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Have rising prices caused you to give up hope of buying a home?

Do you have a spare 50 grand or so kicking around (have… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of April 20

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

FILE – The Instagram app is shown on an iPhone in Toronto on Monday, March 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Judge acquits B.C. teen boy ‘set up’ on sex assault charge based on Instagram messages

The girl and her friends did not have ‘good intentions’ towards the accused, judge says

Kai Palkeinen recently helped a car stuck on the riverbed near the Big Eddy Bridge. While the car could not be saved, some of the driver’s belongings were. It’s common for vehicles to get stuck in the area due to significantly changing river levels from Revelstoke Dam. (Photo by Kai Palkeinen)
“I just sank a car’: Revelstoke resident tries to save vehicle from the Columbia River

Although it’s not permitted, the riverbed near the city is popular for off roading

Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, walks down the street with an acquaintance after leaving B.C. Supreme Court during a lunch break at her extradition hearing, in Vancouver, B.C., Thursday, April 1, 2021. A judge is scheduled to release her decision today on a request to delay the final leg of hearings in Meng Wanzhou’s extradition case. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rich Lam
B.C. judge grants Meng Wanzhou’s request to delay extradition hearings

Lawyers for Canada’s attorney general had argued there is no justification to delay proceedings in the case

B.C. Premier John Horgan announces travel restrictions between the province’s regional health authorities at the legislature, April 19, 2021. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sees 862 more COVID-19 cases Wednesday, seven deaths

Recreational travel restrictions set to begin Friday

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson is photographed following her budget speech in the legislative assembly at the provincial legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. budget lacks innovative drive, vision during uncertain times, say experts

Finance Minister Selina Robinson’s budget sets out to spend $8.7 billion over three years on infrastructure

Using panels kept cold by water circulating within them, B.C. researchers compared thermal comfort in 60 of the world’s most populous cities, including Toronto. (Lea Ruefenacht)
B.C. researchers use air conditioning to combat spread of COVID particles

Dr. Adam Rysanek and his team have proven a new worthwhile system – a mixture of cooling panels and natural ventilation

Most Read