We're getting close to completely moving the online shop to our new greenhouse. Well, it's not really a new greenhouse, let's just say it's a greenhouse experiencing a rebirth.
For the Tampa area, the 1980s were a cold time. There were numerous years where we had freezing temperatures, and Tampa's power grid could not handle everyone running their heaters at once. That means that there were rolling power outages throughout the city. And they happened at our nursery, too. Without power, our heaters couldn't and that is a big problem for tropical plants. However, if the cold isn't too intense, you can get away with packing the plants into a greenhouse and closing it up early in the day to retain and generate heat.
So, during that cold decade, my father-in-law decided that he would get another greenhouse to protect the plants that were cold-sensitive. But, he's a scrappy guy, so instead of buying a brand new greenhouse, he found a nursery that was closing that had a large greenhouse for sale and he lugged it piece by piece across town and put it all back together where it stands today. For years, it was used as a place to protect tropical plants, as well as a propagation area and holding area for a variety of our landscape plants.
Over the last decade, it fell into disrepair. We didn't have a purpose for it, and at one point we toyed with selling it or taking it down. But now it has found a new life as the online headquarters of The Kerby's Houseplant Shop. New gutters, a new roof, tons of fans (it is hot in a Florida greenhouse) are bringing it back to life. And the plants are loving it. They are getting just the right amount of light and humidity and are really thriving in their new environment. We noticed amazing color jumping out at us from the phillies, hoyas and syngoniums. And even some of our pink princesses that weren't showing much color have thrown out some delightful pink splotches.
Bringing this greenhouse back to life has let us retain a piece of Kerby's history and we are so excited to make the full move into our revitalized space. It's giving people and plants plenty of space to stretch their legs and grow, leaving lots of room for propagation and some experiments. There is a lot of fun with plants in our future!