RIPON — Every year at Christmas, a rainbow appears at Park Greenhouse in Ripon.
It’s a spectacle with its own shades of colors and not the usual ROYGBIV – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet – that arc over the sky during a celestial convergence of clouds, sun and rain. At the West Ripon Road retail and wholesale nursery, the hues are purple, orange, polka-dotted pink, candy-cane delicate pink, plus pale yellow and pastel blue.
The rainbow of colors come from the host of special poinsettias whose untraditional looks stand out like an orange in an apple tree among the sea of red which is your basic and familiar Christmas decorative plant. The painted poinsettias, as the retail nursery staff simply calls them, are all dusted with glitters that look like tiny stars on both leaves and bracts as well as in the plant’s tiny flowers.
About a thousand of these painted poinsettias – the paint used is actually a dye, explained Park’s retail store manager Christopher Cover – were shipped and distributed to various stores up and down the state including the Raley’s grocery chain.
The bad news is that at the Ripon nursery, these are practically all sold out. The good news, especially for last-minute shoppers, is that these poinsettias and just about every Christmas item on display are now being offered at half their original price. Shoppers have until 2 p.m. on Saturday, Christmas Eve, to take advantage of this special offer. After that, Park Greenhouse, which is both a wholesale and retail plant outlet, will not be open again until January 6, 2012. That’s when they will have all the winter plants like bare-root fruit trees and roses, pansies, and primroses among many others.
Park Greenhouse is a fourgeneration family business which Floyd Cover opened in 1955 as a retail garden center called Orchard Park Nursery. The store stayed open through 1979. In 1962, the Covers opened a florist shop which was managed by Floyd’s wife, Glenna.
Through the years, the Covers’ business branched out to meet the needs of area farmers and started selling bare-root almonds and walnuts. The wholesale houseplant business was started in 1974 on a small scale. This was before the building boom in Ripon when there was no big demand for house plants. The retail part of the business declined and eventually closed for a while.
The nursery’s retail store as it stands today began in 2000 when the family started selling their “excess blooming plants on the roadside” to area residents. With the growth of the population and the building of new homes in Ripon, the then small scale retail flourished. And the rest is history.
Park Greenhouse’s regular business hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. It’s closed on Sundays. The nursery is located at 12813 West Ripon Road. The retail store can be reached at (209) 599-3410, and the office at (209) 599-7545.