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Yard and garden centers having easier time with 2nd springtime in pandemic

Last spring most garden centers were only doing phone-in orders and curbside pickup. This year, eager gardeners are donning their masks and shopping in person.

HAZEL DELL, Wash. — There is sunshine, and lots of it this week. You can already see spring's effect: the green grass, the daffodils. And, for many, there is gardening to be done.

Angie Webster is happy to see customers coming in where she works, at Yard ‘N Garden Land in Clark County.

“People are out and about, they're shopping, they're in their yards. They're buying shrubs and trees and plants and flowers and pots, they're buying it all,” said Webster.

This spring is different than last year when the yard and garden center was closed to customers. Only phone in orders and curbside service were available last April. Now they're open to all the wonderful browsing.

Diana Piel has been preparing her gardens.

“Yesterday I went and rototilled and brought in some new soil and so I’m planting a lot of flowers," said Piel. On Monday she was shopping for plants. “I've had my vaccine, which I suggest everybody get it, and that makes me feel a little bit better about being out."

We're not out of the woods. But there's a different attitude in the air. And it's good for business.

“Oh, I think it feels good for us too,” said store manager Tim Shull. “Just having everybody back out here, the weather's been, of course, perfect. It's fun to see a lot of old customers and there's a lot of new people; I think gardening has really taken a good growth the last couple seasons.”

Shull said the business was requiring masks, wiping down carts and monitoring capacity.

Nurseries, including Yard ‘N Garden Land, do have tomato and other vegetable starts in. But it's important to remember that despite how nice the weather is now, it's still early spring.

“It's a little cold at nighttime so we have our protect from frost signs out and we really try to stick to that because you never know what can happen to them,” said Webster.  

It is hard to be patient, with a pandemic, and with planting the garden. But patience can pay off.

“You know it feels so, so good and we feel so upbeat because, number one: we've had both our shots and we're just happy that people are wearing their masks and allowing us to be out here to do all this,” said customer Lea Ann Stewart, who added, “Try me in August and I'll be even better.”