ROCKINGHAM — Cause and effect.
David’s Produce in Ellerbe closed its doors in February after 33 years providing fruits, vegetables and plants. Nora Hudson, a former employee there, intends to fill in the dirt left behind.
Hudson, along with her husband Mike, recently opened up her own greenhouse on Lee Thee Church Road, called Petal Pushers Greenhouse, and has taken the knowledge she gathered in Ellerbe and is putting it to good use.
“I worked up at David’s Produce with David and Jackie for 19 years, and so when they closed, I’d already had a part-time job subbing at the post office at Mount Gilead, but I needed to do something a little more,” said Hudson. “I had a lot of people saying, ‘Where we gonna get our flowers from?’ so I told Mike about a week before Easter I thought I might want a greenhouse. He got busy, and we got it built, and I’ve been open about three weeks.”
Mike Hudson, who served his husbandly duties, built the greenhouse in a week, working on it after getting home from his job in the evenings.
“The hardest thing was putting the plastic on,” he said.
Nora Hudson said dealing with plants and vegetables is something she’s always liked to do and thought sewing some vegetable plants and a few flower seeds would be a good place to start.
“What I originally wanted to do was, if somebody needed something for a birthday or anniversary or retirement gift, they can call me and say, ‘I need a potted flower,’ and I can mix it up and make them something.”
Nora Hudson has already put together a lot of mixed containers and delivered some to Fidelity Bank for teller’s appreciation with burlap bows on them.
“It made a nice little gift,” she said. “So I just wanted people to know I can do that.”
The Petal Pushers Greenhouse is stocked full of annuals, Nora Hudson said, to go along with a few perennials, herbs and vegetable plants.
“You’ll have your annuals all summer, but they won’t come back, but you’ll have your container all season,” she said. “Most people will start getting their beds ready or their porches decorated about first to mid-May. I always like to wait until after April 15 to plant anything. That’s just an old saying.”
Mike Hudson said the advantages of growing inside a greenhouse as opposed to outside in a garden is having a more controlled environment. The greenhouse effect holds the heat of the bay in in the early part of spring, and during cooler nights the greenhouse helps keep the plants warmer, as well as keeping wind away.
“Now some people, they do their vegetables from seed out in their garden, but this way you have to start earlier,” said Nora Hudson. “You also take the risk when you’re doing your seeding, if it starts coming up, and we have a cold spell, you have to replant. A lot of this stuff, you could sew the seeds but it would take a long time whereas we can get it started for you. We’ll give you a head start. It comes up so much quicker in this greenhouse.”
Nora Hudson said she recently bought another greenhouse during an auction held at the former David’s Produce and plans next year to fill the second one with vegetables and keep the original for just flowers. But an expansion is not something that’s currently on the horizon for her new endeavor.
“I don’t wanna get too busy because I like my part-time job, and I’m sort of on-call with it,” she said. “But then I have my momma and Mike and my sisters to help fill in here. I just never know when I’m working. I don’t wanna get too busy. I don’t want it to be such a fast pace. This right here is my own pace.”
The Petal Pushers Greenhouse is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and can be contacted through its Facebook page.
Reach reporter Matt Harrelson at 910-817-2674 and follow him on Twitter @mattyharrelson.