Friday, July 5, 2013

Chapter 108 Where the Big Ferns Grow

Another exciting experience was when Richard Marcus of Neiman Marcus called. He had heard of our beautiful begonias that were his mother’s favorite. He came out to the nursery, and bought a lot of begonias. When he saw our ferns he was blown away. These were big ferns in 16” baskets lined with sphagnum moss. He asked if we could supply him with 250 of them to decorate the North Park store for Easter.
We knew that would be a challenge but we accepted. We delivered the ferns on schedule just before Easter and they were beautiful. They were in 16” wire baskets, but the ferns themselves were about 4 feet in diameter. They were hung throughout the store in all departments. Many were over clothing and other merchandise. They were up there for some time so I had to figure out a way to water them without any water running out of the bottom of the baskets. I took each basket and lined an additional basket with sphagnum moss and then covered the inner side with a plastic liner. I then pulled the second basket up tight against the real fern basket and attached it with wire clips. We then watered by putting ice cubes in the baskets. As far as I know not a single basket leaked.
We also grew specimen ferns for special occasions such as new restaurant openings. Some of these ferns were so big I could haul only one at a time in a pickup. They would fill the entire bed of a 8’ pickup bed. We grew baskets for the original Kitty Hawk (forerunner of today’s Chili’s) as well as the new Chili’s restaurants. Several high-end restaurants in NorthPark Mall and other locations featured our giant fern baskets. I would sell these super big baskets for about $200.00 each.   
We were fortunate to have a number of feature articles about us in the Dallas newspapers, nursery magazines, and ivestock periodicals with pictures of Charlotte, myself and our various businesses.  We were also proud of the fact that we had customers ordering our ferns from as far away as Hawaii. The Hawaii customer bought starter fern plants to grow out in their own nursery and then sell them to their local customers.
It is hard to tell from this picture but Charlotte had made both our shirts out of material that had prints of ferns all over them.
Photo of fern found here.

Photo of hanging fern found here.





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