Swinging into spring
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 19, 2023
Hatcher’s Greenhouse opened early for the season
BURLINGTON — Spring is in full swing and Hatcher’s Greenhouse opened early for the season.
Owner Debbie Hatcher said the Burlington business started their season a week earlier than the usual April 15 kickoff and that customers have started buying things for their summer gardens and will soon start picking up bedding plants.
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Hatcher says those should be planted after Mother’s Day.
“You want the soil to stay warm and for them to get full sunshine,” she said.
She said another popular item right is vinca.
“It’s a bedding plant and is deer resistant,” she said.
There is also another popular draw for customers.
“We have the largest selection of beautiful petunias,” she said. “In every color imaginable.”
Hatcher said many customers are coming in for macho ferns, which can reach several feet across.
“They’re huge and can be a monster,” she said.
Hatcher, along with her husband, Jay, has operated the business since 1994.
They were working landscaping and had plans to open a greenhouse, when they found that a closed one, in their location across from Burlington Elementary School, was for sale.
“We just were in the business,” she said. “We would landscape and maintain yards, and this opportunity came up. It had been owned by a Mr. Fitch, but for 10-15 years, it did not exist.”
As a tribute to the previous owner, Hatcher pints out that Fitch’s sweater is still hanging in a backroom, exactly where he left it.
She said they have 15 employees, including two who have been with them for more than 20 years, Karen Baker and Gordon Riley.
Riley, 84, retired for a while, but returned to the greenhouse, where he still works.
Hatcher says she is self-educated in the business, which offers flowers, perennials, vegetables, shrubbery, trees, roses, hard goods and garden statuary.
She said they draw customers from all over the Tri-State, with visitors from Lexington, Louisville, Columbus, Charleston and more. She said they even had one car on their lot with a Hawaii license plate.
“It’s more of a destination and we rely on word of mouth, from friends and family,” she said.
Hatcher’s is open from May through November, from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturdays and Noon-5p.m. on Sundays.
In the fall, they will offer crops for that season, including pumpkins and decorative gourds.
While they are closed to customers during the winter, she said they are still working year round.
“We start the ferns in June, and we’re planting seeding in winter,” she said. “We grow 90 percent of our product.”
Of what she has learned most in their time in operation, Hatcher says it is the interactions with people.
“We take it for granted, because it’s work to us, but we had a lady come in and say, ‘You sell happiness,” Hatcher said. “And, when I look at it, we do — It’s not something you dread, like going to the dentist.”