A dif­fer­ent type of gar­den cen­tre

Cape Breton Post - - SALTWIRE HOMES - Car­son Arthur

It’s of­fi­cially time to let the cat out of the bag. I have had so many read­ers ask me about my gar­den cen­tre that I feel like I need to ex­plain what I’m cre­at­ing in Prince Ed­ward County, Ont.

I am a huge fan of all of the gar­den cen­tres across the coun­try. Peo­ple who work with plants and help us make things beau­ti­ful in our out­door spa­ces are top notch as far as I’m con­cerned. That said, I have a bit of a se­cret crush on the gar­den cen­tres that you find in Europe. My favourites are the stores that are purely ded­i­cated to the hobby and the love of gar­den­ing. This is the di­rec­tion I wanted to take my own space. I want a store that I am ex­cited to come into ev­ery morn­ing and I stay late be­cause I love be­ing there. I am tak­ing my lit­tle gar­den cen­tre in a dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion than what is al­ready out there.

If you haven’t been to Prince Ed­ward County yet, it is quickly be­com­ing well known for the wines and the farm-to-ta­ble cul­ture that the up­scale restau­rants pro­vide. In 2017, more than one mil­lion tourists came to the county look­ing for a ru­ral ex­pe­ri­ence. I am build­ing on this mo­men­tum with the prod­ucts and the plants I am car­ry­ing in my space.

A few years ago, I in­vested in an heir­loom seed com­pany with the thoughts that I would one day fig­ure out a way to sell rare veg­etable plants and herbs to home and condo owners look­ing for healthy ways to add flavour to their di­ets. On one of my re­cent me­dia tours, I found a self-wa­ter­ing planter that lets me do just that. So in­stead of hostas, box­woods and the tra­di­tional gar­den cen­tre plants, I am pro­vid­ing gar­dens-to-go, with things like 1,000-year-old pink peas from Egypt and basil from Tan­za­nia. Vis­i­tors can pick what plants they’d like in their planters and we will pot them up while they wait.

In ad­di­tion to plants, I wanted to sell tools. Now, I have gone through a lot of gar­den­ing tools in my time, and I’ve got­ten to the stage where I am start­ing to pay more for tools that I think will last longer. I have gone through so many pairs of pruners that I wanted some­thing that would last. With that in mind, I went on a global hunt for tools that are built to en­dure and I found some that I want to share with my cus­tomers. I am bring­ing in pruners from Ja­pan. The Ja­panese have taken blades to a dif­fer­ent level with their love of gar­den­ing, bon­sai and pre­ci­sion prun­ing. From the Nether­lands, I have unique weed­ers, shov­els and im­ple­ments that have a dif­fer­ent de­sign than what were are used to in Canada. I also found a smith lo­cally who hand forges shov­els, hoes and rakes.

I ad­di­tion to plants and tools, I am car­ry­ing books, planters and more than 450 va­ri­eties of seeds from across the coun­try. I want to have a lit­tle des­ti­na­tion space that gar­den­ers come to just be­cause they love to gar­den and want to treat them­selves to some­thing spe­cial.

Hope­fully in 2019, you’ll come and say hello, too.

Out­door de­sign and lifestyle ex­pert Car­son Arthur has be­come the voice of en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly land­scape de­sign and loves to help peo­ple max­i­mize their out­door spa­ces.

JOHNNY C.Y. LAM

Car­son’s new gar­den cen­tre hopes to be a main­stay for gar­den­ers to visit and get sup­plies from, but can also be used as a multi-use fa­cil­ity like host­ing a wed­ding.

JOHNNY C.Y. LAM

Car­son is cre­at­ing a space that gar­den­ers come to just be­cause they love to gar­den and want to treat them­selves to some­thing spe­cial.

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