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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Busy Winter season for Fort Thomas Florist

Mitch Messmer, Ronnie, and Eric work on getting cuttings ready for Spring. Photo from Fort Thomas Florist and Greenhouses Facebook.
If April showers bring May flowers, how does Fort Thomas Florist supply annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees through the whole year? Despite the frigid winter weather, February and March are two of the Florists busiest months, say Mike Brooks, who works in the greenhouses.

The family-owned-and-operated business has provided the community with flowers and plants since George and Leona Messmer started it in the early 1930s. Brooks said that he often gets asked what the Florist does in the winter.

“There is an urgency almost daily to get as much as you can done,” he said. “Spring is coming.”

Brooks works alongside Tom, Bob, and John Messmer in the greenhouse where they have been preparing bulbs and cuttings for Spring since before Christmas. They started working on the cuttings, which are tips of plants from which new plants grow. The tips are shipped in from all over the world. They are also receiving plugs of plants as Spring gets closer, which are already-rooted plants or seeds.

“It’s all about timing, you kind of have to play with them,” Brooks said.
All of the work that goes into the cuttings and plugs is completed in the greenhouse, which can get up to 90 degrees on a sunny day, Brooks said.

Inside the greenhouses is a warm 85 degrees. Photo from Fort Thomas Florist and Greenhouses Facebook.
Getting the work done is a family affair. Judy Messmer does the bookkeeping for the Florist and is married to John.

“There’s probably not a one of our children that hasn't come here and worked for a summer job or holiday job,” she said. “They’ve all been pulled into the greenhouse one way or another because this was where Grandma and Grandpa were and where our family was.”

Judy said that even for the employees who are not related by marriage or blood are still part of the Fort Thomas Florist family.

The family feel is unique to Fort Thomas Florist, as is the fact that they are open year-round. Some garden centers stop growing in the winter, but Fort Thomas Florist utilizes the greenhouse space to continue to produce their own plants, as well as sell to other garden centers.

“On Monday and Tuesday, we got probably 40,000 plugs. Next Monday and Tuesday we’ll have another 40,000.”

While the world waits for April showers to get their blooms in May, Fort Thomas Florist and Greenhouses is working hard to have them ready year round.

Fort Thomas Florist will be starting their "Yard of the Month" series. Winners receive a gift certificate to Fort Thomas Florist. Nominations can be sent to their Facebook page or by stopping in to say hello.

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