Tail Creek Greenhouse: so worth the visit.

IMG_2919I promised earlier that I would showcase a couple of the local greenhouses and today, I am writing about one I have a special place in my heart for. As always, we are drawn to everything for a reason….doesn’t matter if it’s the friends we choose, the places we shop, the clothes we wear, the place we live, the career we have….everything reflects a part of us. And also says something about who we are.

I work (paid work that is) as a Community Facilitator, which means that I spend my employed time working with various communities, bringing together volunteers, organizations, citizens, non-governmental groups, municipal staff/leaders, and health & wellness staff to seek ways to create communities that are happy, engaged, healthy and a place people want to live! It’s a great job. We are looking at ways to assist in decreasing chronic illness by increasing healthy communities….and I do love what I do. It is a part of me in every way. In fact, I also do this as a community volunteer in my home community, because I want it to be the best!

I also have studied Horticulture, and am a Master Gardener….again, something I love! Love! LOVE! I am happily working in my garden, along with the gardens of many others, to create spaces that are enjoyable, sustainable, edible, etc.

I have a partner who shares many of my passions. He is easy going, but challenges me a lot….which can be a good thing, when I chose to see it that way. He loves our children, and our extended family and he came into our lives later in life. He was one of the best choices I made.

I shop in small, home grown places as much as possible, and I try to support local: IMG_2928retail, farmer, restaurants….I believe in that. I have been a small business owner, competing against big names….tough slugging my friend!

So, it was no surprise to me that shortly after moving to our current home, I worked for a few seasons with Tail Creek Greenhouses. I started out just wanting IMG_2913to work in a gardening environment following our house build, but when I met the owner, I knew she was my kind of person! She is a gentle soul, who is passionate about her work, striving for it to be of the best quality at all times. And, she loves animals, sharing her farm with IMG_2914an array of domestic creatures. I am not sure if I have heard her angry…although I am sure she has been….

The Greenhouse is located in a rural setting, as you have no doubt gathered. It is not huge. The owner seeds many of her own plants, and some she purchased as ‘plugs’ ready for planting. The Proven Winner series have to be grown by certified growers, so these and others she purchases.

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I love her veggie selection, and her herbs! I always stock up on these, needed or not….can you really have too much basil??? Trouble is, I also grow my own from seed, but I make and freeze pesto, tomato sauces and other assorted condiments.

Transplanting table
Transplanting table
Babies ready to hit the sales house
Babies ready to hit the sales house

I also really appreciate the cleanliness and care of her operation. She is very careful with this, and it is evident by the plants and also by taking a walk through.

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The Greenhouse is not yet open, as she does not operate year round. She sells only plants, not giftware or seeds, so operates seasonally from May to July. I popped in to have a visit this week, and she allowed me the opportunity of some photos, so I am sharing with you! I will go back after she is open, of course, but this is a little taste of one of my favorite places to be. IMG_2915 I hope you enjoy! But really, so much better in person!!

One of the joys of spring…….

IMG_2903I am not sure if there is a favorite spring activity…..I really love spring…not so much the accompanying wind, but we take the good with the bad! Today is Saturday, and we are determined to get out there and clean up some of the winter leftovers…and fall left overs….and summer leftovers…..and veggie scraps….

It has been a busy week in this house…..Hubby and I are both part of several Volunteer Boards, and one of them hosts the yearly Volunteer Appreciation event…see earlier post on that…my role is the organizing, poster making, etc, and hubby’s role is going to the local business community to solicit donations for our silent auction. He never fails to impress me with the amount and array of goodies that come our way!

IMG_2897We discovered a ‘find’ earlier this spring, as we were en-route to the grocery market. When I say en-route, it is simply because our little hamlet has a very limited supply of grocery items, therefore, we travel 45 kms to a larger center for most of our shopping needs….but I must set the stage a little for those not familiar with the central Alberta landscape….we chose to make this our home because of the amazing beauty of the area. Rolling hills, farmland, forested areas, small lakes, and vastIMG_2892 blue skies are all a part of our daily lives. I love it. In the 5 years we have been here, I have yet to take the drive from home to any neighboring town, and not be awed by the glorious beauty of nature and this landscape! We have deer aplenty, (not always great for the garden, but that is another post to come!), and enjoy the horses, cattle, bison, and other assorted farm animals we see as we IMG_2890travel…so on this fine shopping day, we topped a hill, and over the edge, noticed a blue sign (part of travel Alberta) for Tranquility Greenhouse. Having never seen the sign, nor visited this greenhouse, we decided to take a tour. As it happens, the Greenhouse has only been in this location for one year, opening last season. Because of the rural setting (and I do mean rural….off the main highway, on gravel by about 5 kms) it is unknown, thus prompting the addition of the blue sign!

It is quaint and beautiful all at once. We were early, so the outdoor products were not yet set up, but as you enter, you are greeted by an amazing little gift shop, full IMG_2906of country chic items. The owner sells milk paint, which I love, and has not a large store, but a worthwhile addition to her Greenhouse. I browsed through, and purchased a few items, including these glass door knobs that I re-purposed for a jewellery rack…..and painted with Milk Paint!

Hubby chatted with the owner, as hubby does, and gathered all kinds of info! Where they are from, how long they lived IMG_2899here, how many kids they have, what animals are on the farm, if they would like to donate to our Volunteer Event….you see where this is going….he is amazing in his ability to do this!! Armed with a new local business to visit and the promise of a donation, we carried on our way.

2 weeks later, hubby returned to Tranquility Greenhouse, with my camera, and IMG_2893snapped some pics of their establishment. I love the use of re-purposing old furniture and wash tubs for planters! Her gift is her uniqueness of planters, and arrangements, and it is worth a visit. She is not a seed starting Greenhouse, as some others, although she does start some of her own product. Having worked for another greenhouse,  I IMG_2896see the differences, and it is the differences that I love. Each greenhouse offers something unique to the whole.

On that note, I am not ‘advertising’ for these places, but recommending them if you are nearby. I plan to post later about 2 other local greenhouses I love as well…..these places are therapeutic to the soul, even if one does not plan to purchase….just find your local greenhouse or flower market and hang out for an hour or 2. I guarantee you will feel refreshed and revived!!IMG_2900IMG_2895

Happy Easter!

Tomorrow is Good Friday…..yay for long weekends, and yay for Easter celebrations! Unfortunately, we will be holding the Easter egg hunt indoors, unless the sun really produces some heat in the next 2 days. We have been enjoying balmy spring weather and the melting of snow, but, true to form, yesterday hit us with a nasty, nasty storm. No surprise, really. I say it over and over, you can’t live in Canada and not experience weather changes within 30 minutes, from warm highs, to bitter cold! Although yesterday was not bitter cold, we did experience a wind warning day, with several accidents caused by high, high winds. And we did get a light dusting of snow again, but…..it’s spring!

Today is much, much more pleasant, so I will tread outdoors to retrieve my planting trays and soil, and set up a small grow spot for some new arrivals. I admittedly do not start a large amount of seedlings indoors, in part because a) I am a perennial girl, and b) it is too much work! I love love love love all the work involved in gardening outdoors, and will work from sun up to sun down in the garden, but, sadly, the same cannot be said for my indoor gardening efforts. Is that a bad thing? I don’t think so, and I whole heartedly applaud those who create amazing growing stations with amazing little seedlings coming forward to greet them…..it’s just not my thing.

I spent 3 seasons working for a friend at a local greenhouse, and enjoyed it immensely, because it was not in my house!!  She starts almost all of her bedding plants from seed, and has an amazing way with annuals. Her work starts very early in the year, in the seed house, where she alone begins preparations for planting. By March, she employs a small staff to assist with transplanting and other assorted duties. Opening day is usually Mothers Day weekend, or a few days prior, so a lot of work happens to get the babies settled in and ready. I was quite amazed and in awe with the green house process….my area of expertise is in design, perennial & woody landscaping, and construction. To be a part of each stage in the greenhouse gardening process is truly amazing, and a great learning experience…..and a good way to start the summer tan!

Although I no longer work there, I love to visit and make regular trips. I promise to devote a few days of writing about and photographing some amazing local greenhouses. These days, my life is filled with my other career, which is community development. I love that part of my life too (although I must say that work can get in the way of writing!) and because our work is devoted to building healthy, supportive environments, I often get to cross over into gardening! It’s a good thing for me…..and for the communities that I am privileged to work in.

But, here today, my mind wanders to ……lettuce …..potatoes …..lilies ….daffodils

My Easter cactus!
My Easter cactus!

…..I’m ready!!! If only Mother Nature were!