May 7, 2014 at 11:51 AM
The return of spring is a good sign for businesses such as Parker Gardens, a fixture on Terrill Road in Scotch Plains for decades.
“With the kind of winter we had, people lost a tremendous amount of azaleas and other shrubs took a beating. The bitter cold and salt from the road can kill broadleaf evergreens, such as rhododendrons,” said Steven Parker, owner of Parker Gardens, whose parents started the business in 1948.
“Snow is not as bad as one might think because it insulates. What is far worse is freezing and thawing, freezing and thawing. The back-and-forth in temperatures really hurts the plants, particularly newer plants that don’t have deep roots,” said Parker, adding that the recent cool temperatures help some flowers stay in bloom a little longer.
Parker’s has also been hurt by a perception that the venerable garden center, which boasts the area’s largest selection of shrubs, perennials & annuals, would be closing. In October, The Alternative Press reported on a presentation made by David Holland and Michael Tobia of Shelter Development LLC to the Scotch Plains Township Council in which they outlined plans for a senior development.
“There’s a lot of confusion concerning our potential sale of part or all of the property. We want people to know that we are open for our 65th year,” Parker said. “The real estate deal is far from definite. Even if something becomes final, it would probably be about three years away.”