Rising costs frustrate garden stores | News, Sports, Jobs

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

Like plants and flowers, the cost of gardening increases.

Local garden centers report that wholesale prices have increased by up to 20%.

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

“That’s what the wholesaler tells us,” Russell said.

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

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

At Mile Level Farm Market and Greenhouses, Bedford, owner Janet Weyandt has seen prices for flowers, vegetables and other edible plants rise 20-30% from a year ago.

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

Many other related supplies such as fertilizers, seeds, soil and even containers have increased in price and may be difficult to obtain in stores.

Weyandt said with rising fertilizer prices, costs could continue to rise, which is a concern for professional and home gardeners and those with apple and peach orchards.

Even the cost of grass seeds – if they can be found on store shelves – has skyrocketed because most seeds come from Oregon where abnormally high temperatures last year destroyed supplies, a said Adler.

River rock is still in demand and is among the items Roots in the Cove cannot obtain at this time, Russell said, adding that the same is true for pots and containers.

“I don’t think I will have it until I have it in my hand” he said.

The price of containers is tied to the price of oil used to produce the plastic, according to Weyandt. As the price of oil has gone up, container prices have also gone up.

Supply chain shortages are also evident at Piney Creek Greenhouse in Martinsburg, where owner Vernon Martin is still waiting for last year’s out-of-stock items.

“We’re still getting little bits and pieces of things ordered from last year,” said Martin. “Access to plant material is still a problem, but it is slowly returning to normal.”

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

Due to the pandemic, people have taken to gardening more than ever before, and Russell thinks that’s at least one reason why it’s hard to get certain items.

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

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

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

Russell said his company doesn’t have much trouble getting materials for the type of flowers planted in the ground, but florists are having trouble due to higher costs and what’s available can change quickly.

Russell said he’s lucky his customers have taken quite well to the higher prices for plant materials and other gardening supplies brought on by high demand and low supply.

Roots in the Cove has also raised the salaries of its employees to ensure they stay, he said, and that has also contributed to higher prices.

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

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

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