With Spring weather finally here, and greenthumbs everywhere anxiously waiting to get started on their backyards and flower beds, Altona's Two Sparrows Greenhouse is looking forward to meeting gardening enthusiasts from across the area. The new business is operated by Nicole Wood, and is located at #396 2nd Street NE, in Altona's industrial park.
"Gardening has always been prevalent in southern Manitoba, and going through the pandemic seemed to ignite an interest for many more people, whether it be house plants or growing your own food," explained Wood when asked why she wanted to start a new greenhouse in Altona. "Many gardeners also love to travel to different greenhouses in the region to see what different things are offered. I could see our town is growing, and would easily support a second greenhouse."
Wood grew up on a grain farm, helping her mom in the garden, and at various points throughout her life felt pulled to do something with plants.
"When I first entered the University of Manitoba, I was considering a path of either Horticulture or Architecture," she told us. "I was accepted into the Faculty of Architecture, and thought I would branch into landscape architecture. During one of my summer breaks, I worked at our local greenhouse and loved it. For various reasons, I left Architecture after a year, and moved into the Faculty of Nursing. I have been a nurse at Eastview Place personal care home for the last 15 years. Two years ago, a nurse colleague and I decided to start a number of plants by seed, and had a plant sale on her yard. I re-evaluated my life goals, and last fall entered into Assiniboine Community College, where I joined the Prairie Horticulture Certificate Program. I completed a course in Greenhouse Management and Business Management. Looking back, working at a greenhouse, has always been one of my favourite jobs, and now I get to make it my career!"
And what about the name? Where did it come from?
"I was considering a completely different name when a Bible verse from Matthew 10:29-31 popped into my mind. 'Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows,'" reflected Wood on how she arrived at the name. "I realized God was leading me down this new path, and I could look back and see how He provided in all areas of my life. I wanted the greenhouse name to glorify God’s name, not my own, and so the name Two Sparrows Greenhouse."
With planting season fast approaching, Wood had a few thoughts on the colour and plant trends she's seeing for the 2023 growing season.
"When I was planning my order last fall, the up and coming colours for 2023 were Spanish moss, raspberry blush, terracotta and blue with natural white accents," she noted. "I tried to bring some of those colours in, for example the Salmon Chic geranium. Proven Winners also released their new varieties for 2023. One of my favourites I brought in is the Pink Lemonade Superbells Calibrachoa. Grasses and plants that are more native to our Prairie environment have also become more popular. We will have a variety of salvia and rudbeckia, as well as some perennial tickseed and a variety of perennial grasses."
Two Sparrows Greenhouse has a variety of annuals, perennials and garden vegetable plants available. Next year, Wood says, they are planning to offer house plants, as well as decorative pots and other items that accompany gardening and potting.
And with the first season for the business now underway, the greenhouse opened May 4th, what is she most looking forward to?
"Working in a positive environment with wonderful staff who have the common goal of bringing this greenhouse into fruition," said Wood. "We want everyone who enters Two Sparrows Greenhouse to feel welcome, no matter if they have advanced gardening experience, or are just beginning. I am sure hoping to grow and increase my understanding from the collective knowledge this community has. Let’s face it, there is always more to learn! And maybe we can share and help each other, and have fun while doing it."
And her advice to those putting hands in soil for the first time this year?
"Go for it! Start small. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, we were all beginners at some point."
Two Sparrows Greenhouse is open Monday through Saturday 9:30am to 5:30pm, closed Sundays for family day. An announcement will be coming soon regarding extended hours prior to the busy planting season.
You can find them on Facebook and call them at (431) 342-0020.