Saturday, April 11, 2009

Dan Schantz Greenhouse

Our home in PA, unlike our DC apartment, has a lot of space for gardening, planting and landscaping, especially for a property on a quarter of an acre in Bethlehem. The previous owners were members of the garden club and had landscaped the entire backyard. We've since put in some grass in the back, but we still have roses, bushes and decorative grasses, planted annuals along the front walkway and planted an herb and vegetable garden in the back.

One of the first places we visited was Dan Schantz Greenhouse on West Union Boulevard in Bethlehem. We'd seen the ads on TV and were endeared by Mr. Schantz's Dutchy accent (we love how he pronounces the word "flowers"). We've since bought gifts, trays of mums, Christmas trees and seeds. The quality of the products and service is fabulous - definitely better than what we've found at Lowe's, which is both closer and often more affordable.

This weekend our mission was to get a few Easter gifts. We strolled past the huge outdoor display (complete with a man dressed in a sorta creepy Easter bunny suit), through the store into the greenhouse area, where hydrangea, lilies, tulips and daffodils crowded every surface. Men, women and families pushed carts through the wide aisles. "Hyacinths have never done anything for me," one gentleman said to his companion. "But lilies... ohhh... these are nice." No doubt, spring is in the air! We picked out two huge potted plants as gifts: total $28.00.

The Dan Schantz Farm is located just down Limeport Pike in Zionsville, PA. On their web site, they recommend waiting until mid May to plant annuals and seeds just in case the Valley gets a late frost. I have always used Mother's Day weekend as my planting time and so far it's worked well. This year I started a few seeds in a tray in by the spare bathroom window - some rosemary, cabbage, mini bell peppers and chives. The bell peppers always take forever to come up, and I'm often chasing the first frost in October, waiting for them to get big enough to pick before the freeze. The cabbage will get big enough to pick before it gets super-hot in July. The annual herbs we put in the garden last year - oregano, thyme, chives and mint - are growing and greening already!

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