“Is there dirt on my face? There usually is,” said Dallas Ford, the new manager of Spicer’s Nursery, after I’d snapped her picture for the paper. Ford clearly gets right into her work, literally, and has been behind the latest changes to the local plant market.
Surrounded by vibrant green growing plants, sparrows swooping overhead and the lush smell of fresh cedar chips, Spicer’s Nursery does seem like Eden, especially to Ford who is a natural-born gardener.
Taking the big step to move across the country was the best decision Ford believes she’s ever made. The 24-year-old Guelph, Ontario native struck out west and moved to Nakusp last May, and has enjoyed every minute of it.
“We didn’t unpack for two months,” said Ford, “because getting the garden in was top priority.” Her gardening bug began with her grandparents who always had a garden. Now, Ford also cans and freezes as much local fruit and veggies as she can each season.
Last year she worked in the fields with Janet Spicer and loved it. Digging potatoes, cleaning carrots, weeding in the rain – Ford was absolutely overjoyed to be digging in the dirt and poking between the plants.
This year, she has taken on the management of Spicer Nursery and changed it up. An expanded tree section now takes up the area out behind nursery, giving people more room to walk around and look at the trees. Ford is very proud of how their trees are a good size and well-pruned. Most trees you buy from big nurseries are chopped back mercilessly, and take a long time to fruit, she said, “but these trees will be bearing fruit next year.”
Aside from a brand new carpet of cedar wood chips, other additions are new signs for everything, which, due to low staffing, really helps visitors out. On the other hand, the adventurous and unfussy gardener can take a chance on “mystery plants” whose colour won’t be known until the flowers reveal themselves.
The nursery now has a planting station, too, where visitors can design their own gift planters, or plant some pots with their kids. Ford is excited about children getting their hands dirty and learning to love plants just as much as she does.