October 7, 2022


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Rising costs frustrate gardening shops | News, Sports, Jobs

Jennifer Weaver of Roaring Spring waters celosia at Roots in the Cove in Roaring Spring. Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski

Like the plants and flowers, the cost of gardening is growing.

Local garden shops report wholesale costs have increased by up to 20%.

Travis Russell, partner of Roots in the Cove, Roaring Spring, attributes the rise in costs to freight and container surcharges.

“That is what the wholesaler is telling us,” Russell said.

Jeff Adler, owner of Adler’s Landscape Nursery in Altoona, said the rise in prices is a combination of gas, labor shortages and labor wage increases.

“Even things like Round-Up have doubled in cost,” Adler said.

At Mile Level Farm Market and Greenhouses, Bedford, owner Janet Weyandt has seen the prices for flowers, vegetables and other edible plants go anywhere from 20% to 30% higher than last year.

“We try to keep the prices down to keep customers happy, but at the same time, we had to raise them a little bit to keep up,” Weyandt said.

Many other related supplies such as fertilizers, seeds, soil and even containers have gone up in price and might be difficult to get in the stores.

Weyandt said with the rising price of fertilizer, costs might continue to go up, which is a concern for professionals and home gardeners and those with apple and peach orchards.

Even the cost of grass seed — if it can be found on store shelves — has skyrocketed because most of the seeds come from Oregon where abnormally high temperatures last year destroyed the supply, Adler said.

River rock is always in demand and it’s among the items Roots in the Cove cannot get in at the moment, Russell said, adding the same is true of pots and containers.

“I don’t believe I’m getting it until I have it in my hand,” he said.

The price of containers is tied to the price of the oil used to produce the plastic, according to Weyandt. As the price of oil has climbed, so too, have container prices.

The supply chain shortages are also evident at Piney Creek Greenhouse in Martinsburg, where owner Vernon Martin is still awaiting back-ordered items from last year

“We are still getting little bits of stuff ordered from last year,” Martin said. “Access to plant material is an issue still, but it is slowly getting back to normal.”

Martin said he doesn’t know what an order will contain until it arrives.

Because of the pandemic, people took to gardening more than ever before, and Russell thinks that is at least one of the reasons why it is difficult to get some items.

“A lot of people did gardening and landscaping projects because they had nothing else to do while they were stuck at home,” Adler said.

Piney Creek saw the demand for plants jump dramatically in 2020, and the demand is just as strong this year.

“I think people just really want green stuff,” Martin said. “People want anything that grows. Edible plants and vegetable plants are always in demand.”

Russell said his business is not having much trouble getting in materials for the type of flowers planted in the ground, but florists are having trouble because of higher costs and what is available can change quickly.

Russell said he’s fortunate that his customers took pretty well to the higher prices for plant materials and other gardening supplies brought on by high demand and low supplies.

Roots in the Cove also raised the wages for its employees to make sure they stayed, he said, and that also contributed to some higher prices.

“As a small business, we appreciate the customers sticking with us and being understanding,” Russell said.

Mirror staff writer Cati Keith can be reached at 814-946-7535.

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