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Sprouts offer hint of spring

Sprouts offer hint of spring

While Punxsutawney Phil has predicted six more weeks of snow and cold and it sometimes seems like we

While Punxsutawney Phil has predicted six more weeks of snow and cold and it sometimes seems like we will never see green grass or trees with leaves again, signs of spring can be found throughout the Capital Region in greenhouses.

The town of Punxsutawney, Pa., has been Groundhog Day headquarters since 1887. The famed groundhog Punxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow 97 times since then and hasn’t seen it 15 times. Nine years went unrecorded, according to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club.

As the superstition goes, if Phil pops his head out Feb. 2 and sees his shadow, we are in for six more weeks of winter, which is good for those who enjoy the fruits of winter like skiing, ice fishing and skating.

But for those who like the sun, gardening and walking outside without 10 layers of clothing, six more weeks of winter can seem like an eternity.

For those who hate winter, spending some time in a

warm greenhouse amid colorful plants might be a welcome respite.

As Punxsutawney Phil was seeing his shadow Monday, employees at Troy’s Landscape Supply Company in Latham were potting soil to plant the first spring blossoms.

Owner Troy Miller said he starts planting for the spring during the first week of February with pansies, violas and geraniums to “get them nice and big for Mother’s Day.”

The greenhouse at Troy’s gets to be about 90 degrees when the sun is out. Miller said there are often women who visit the store and want only to walk through the greenhouse to feel the warmth and see the green things.

Miller said there are blooming orchids and other house plants along with a tangerine tree with ripe fruit.

“Everyone thinks you’ve been away at some island in the sun,” Miller said. “It’s a great work environment. I couldn’t imaging sitting in an office all day.”

Troy’s also participates in the Capital Region Garden and Flower Show each year at Hudson Valley Community College.

He starts growing tulips, hydrangeas and other potted plants early for the show, which is scheduled for the end of March.

Plants are also starting to bloom in the Schenectady County Horticulture Education Center in Central Park, according to greenhouse resource educator Laura Milak.

The greenhouse is already growing grasses and other early plants for Schenectady County’s Adopt an Island program.

Over 30,000 seeds have been planted at Hillard’s Greenhouse and Produce, a large supplier of seedlings near Albany International Airport.

Kathie Hillard said there are lots of green sprouts in their greenhouses, which are kept between 55 and 65 degrees.

All of those are signs that while we might be facing six more weeks of winter, spring will come again.

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