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SIXTEEN ACRES GARDEN CENTER

4/1/2021 | KEITH O'CONNOR

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There is always something blooming at Sixteen Acres Garden Center in Springfield. “We’re always busy, but we are in our busiest season right now. April, May, and June, those are our busiest months,” said Judy Bordenuk, human resources and financial manager for Sixteen Acres Garden Center.

“People buy for the holidays like Mother’s Day as well as Memorial Day to decorate the graves of loved ones. It’s also the time when home owners are preparing their vegetable gardens, planting annuals and perennials, and enhancing their landscapes. Plenty of house plants are also going out the door right now, and customers are coming in to get information about and to purchase the products they will need to enhance their gardens or improve their lawns,” she added.

But house plants are not just selling right now, they have been “extra” popular since the pandemic began, Bordenuk noted.

“People are bringing house plants back into their homes. They want to surround themselves with something beautiful at a time when they have been feeling down due to the pandemic. And it’s not just inside. The sale of annuals and perennials, and trees and shrubs were all on the upswing in the past year as people sought to freshen up their outdoors as well,” she said.

Unfortunately, it was the pandemic that took the life of the Bordenuk family’s belove father, John, at the age of 85 in April 2020.

John – along with his wife Joan – founded the business in 1962. He attended Stockbridge School of Agriculture and received a degree in Horticulture. They created the Garden Center on ten acres of land in the Sixteen Acres section of Springfield, where John’s parents once farmed the land and had a roadside stand.

Today the Garden Center remains a family business. Judy’s brother Steve Bordenuk is the general manager, and her sister Debra Bordenuk manages the Floral and Gift Shops.

“Our father loved this business and he loved growing plants. His hands were always in the dirt. He instilled a good work ethic in all of his children and was the hardest worker I’ve ever known. He would always come to work without fail, taking care of not only our customers but our employees who are so much a part of our business as well,” Bordenuk said.

“He passed on his passion for plants to all of us who also do our own gardening at home. And we continue his lifelong efforts in caring for each and every one of our customers, trying the best we can, and meeting their needs at a fair price,” she added.

While their full-service Floral Shop - offering custom designs for all occasions including weddings, parties, holiday designs, and sympathy tributes - has been around since the early days, the Center’s Gift Shop becomes a Christmas Shop around the holidays and their Landscape Design Services were introduced at a later date. Even if plants are not your thing, the Gift Shop is just another reasons to stop by Sixteen Acres Garden Center to see what is new. Shoppers will find unique gifts for the gardener in their lives, as well as a large selection of candles, cards and stationery, wall plaques, glass vases, garden flags, statuary, picture frames, baskets and much more. There are also specialty gifts like Woodstock wind chimes and Willow Tree figurines.

“Over the years we have been able to concentrate in certain areas of our business including growing flowering plants that customers anticipate each year such as geraniums, combination hangers, New Guinea impatients, vegetable sets and more. We’ve improved the depth of products that we carry, always growing the best products we possibly can, including unique varieties of plants you can’t buy just anywhere,” Bordenuk said.

It’s the feeling that you get once you step outside of your car that makes Sixteen Acres Garden Center so special.

“You will be surrounded by gorgeous flowers and that can’t help but make you feel good and change your demeanor to something more positive if you are having a bad day. It’s really something quite special to feel…almost spiritual in nature,” Bordenuk said.

Depending on the season, Sixteen Acres Garden Center offers:
· The largest selection of annuals and perennials in western Massachusetts and new and traditionally popular varieties.
· Thousands of zonal geraniums in 25 varieties from 4.5-inch potted plants to 12-inch hangers, offering the most popular, newest, and most unique varieties.
· The largest selection of proven winners including bidens, Bacopa, brachyscome, Calibrachoa also known as Million Bells, fuchsia, Helichrysum, heliotrope, Ipomea, potato vine, lantana, licorice plant, and more.
· Seeds of all kinds.
· Custom container gardens.
· Herb gardens in containers as well as plants in strawberry jars and whisky barrels.
· A wide variety of specimen trees and shrubs, vines, and fruits.
· Container trees, 7 gallon and up, including new and unusual varieties of Japanese maples, and flowering shrubs such as azaleas, rhododendrons, andromeda, and more.
· B&B trees, up to 2.5 - 3.0-inch caliper; evergreen, and deciduous trees.
· Hedges and privacy shrubs such as · Their own blends of grass seed and commercial brands.
· A full line of lawn fertilizers and lime, organic soil amendments for flower and vegetable gardens, such as bumper crop, compost, peat moss, complete planting mix, top soil, dehydrated cow, chicken and sheep manure, peat humus, and more.
· Everything you need to do the job including an assortment of hand tools, long-handle tools, pruners, gloves, and water gardening supplies.
· Extra special touches to make your yard even more beautiful such as gazing globes, sun dials, stepping stones, garden accent stones and boulders, cement statuary, fountains bird baths, urns, trellises, arbors, bistro sets, and outdoor benches.

Bordenuk offered some tips for would-be green thumbs considering their first garden.

“Annuals are always a good choice because they blossom all summer long and offer plenty of color. Marigolds, petunias, and geraniums are fairly easy to take care of and produce an abundance of blooms. If you want something that will come back to life every year, perennials are your choice such as day lilies or coneflowers. Knock Out rose bushes have been developed to be disease resistant and produce beautiful flowers all summer. They are easy to take care of and very durable,” Bordenuk said.

“Lettuce is easy to grow, unless rabbits come to eat it, although we do carry repellents to keep them away. Tomatoes are easy to grow as well, but can be finicky, especially depending on the weather and variety because they like consistent moisture, but not overly so. Also, before beginning your gardening efforts, it’s a good idea to check the pH balance of your soil before planting. Vegetables like between 6 to 6.5 pH levels, so lime may need to be added. Be sure that the soil temperature is warm enough to encourage growth before you plant. And, you should consider possible companion planting in your vegetable garden, such as marigolds, whose scent seems to repel insects,” she added.

The Garden Center gets plenty of questions and horticulturalists on staff are knowledgeable and willingly offer advice about plant care and maintenance and are ready to answer any of your gardening questions.

“There is one question that we get most often, and that is, ‘How much should I water my plants?’ We tell them less is better, you don’t want to overwater and rot the root system. Stick your finger into the soil to see if it’s moist or dry before watering. Plants will wilt if they are underwatered or overwatered – so it’s best to check first,” Bordenuk said.

She noted they have been “blessed” with a staff who has been with them for a long time, some of whom even have degrees from Stockbridge School of Agriculture similar to her father.

“They have a passion for what they do and that translates into a good experience for our customers, and we are very grateful for our dedicated and loyal staff,” Bordenuk said.

Sixteen Acres Garden Center, located at 1359 Wilbraham Road in Springfield
Open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For more information, visit 16acresgardencenter.com or call 413-783-5883

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