This past weekend Lockyer’s Country Gardens celebrated their 100th anniversary of selling vegetables, flowers and more in Prince Edward County.
In Oct. Of 1919 Mr. And Mrs. Sid Lockyer purchased the greenhouses of Mr. Earl Spencer on the Bloomfield Road, one mile west of Picton. After the death of Sid Lockyer in 1948, the family carried on with the business.
In 1970, the greenhouses on the Bloomfield Road business had to be torn down to allow room for the widening of Hwy 33.
“We’ve been doing this since 1919 so things have obviously changed and how we grow has changed,” stated Greg Moore, owner of Lockyer’s. “One of the biggest things I’ve seen is, we use to blend our own soil for potting purposes but now it all comes basically premixed for us and every bag we open up is typically always the same and so I see that as a positive thing.”
Lockyer’s had to adapt and change from the first years of growing tomato plants for the canning factories, as the canning industry fell Lockyer’s continued to grow vegetables in the greenhouse and cut flowers for funeral arrangements and weddings.
Because of the ever increasing number of people coming into the community there’s more market for plant material as far as spring crops, plants, trees and shrubs. Seasonal items such as christmas trees and wreaths are increasing more and more with every season.
“This sort of business is not much different from farming,” stated Greg Moore, owner and operator of Lockyer’s. “It’s seven days a week and because it’s a perishable product that has to be maintained daily, weekly or whatever we stay open every day of the year and don’t close for the winter months, we do our christmas crop and we already started our seed in Dec. for the following spring.”
In the spring back in the day, over 30 people were employed in the transplanting and care of the 2.5 million plants grown. In 1934 after acquiring the family farm, the vegetable business came into its own so that in the 1940s produce was supplied to the two local military bases at Picton Heights and Mountain View.
“Everything here is grown here for the most part,” stated Moore. “Either from a seed or from a cutting, other than the trees and shrubs, their brought in from another grower, but everything else for the most part is done right in house so we have a good control on what it is we’re doing and what varieties we want.”
The store is open year round and at the very tail end of January the business starts sowing vegetable crops from the farm market people.
“It’s terrific Lockyer’s is celebrating 100 years. Funny enough Lockyer’s is one of the first businesses I bought something from in Prince Edward County,” expressed Steve Ferguson, Mayor of Prince Edward County. “I bought a tree here that was for a friend for his 50th birthday and Greg helped me then and greg has helped me innumerable times since and we’ve become friends. Lockyer’s is a terrific local business like this has the ability to survive and thrive in this wonderful municipality.”
Moore commented on now having a giftware section in the business which consists of decorative pottery and containers, garden accent pieces, concrete statuaries and bird baths and more items of that nature and said this never would’ve happened 15 years ago, whereas the market place has changed and you have to grow with the times.
“There is certainly in the industry, like anywhere, more technology and more tools for what we’re doing,” Moore said. “Still we do a lot of hands on, most of the stuff we do is hands on but there’s still some areas where we are a little more with the technology and the times, equipment wise. Another big change is the population, how there’s more interest in gardening and that has a trickle effect down to somebody who is supplying the product such as ourselves.”
The business prides themselves on the high quality, maintenance and grooming that goes into growing plants for their loyal customers and constantly strive to be first with new varieties and types of plants all while providing good customer value.
For more information please visit lockyers.com