Pete Carson and his grandfather have been providing plants to Muskogee residents for 75 years. When featured as a guest speaker at a recent Muskogee Garden Club reunion, he was called a “must-see” in the Muskogee Garden community.
Even though Carson said his grandfather “only grew vegetables,” his speech revealed his appreciation for the foundation his grandfather created for Carson’s nursery business.
Now, years later, after his grandfather’s death, Carson describes his job as a seven-day-a-week job.
âMy daughter, who turned 13 on September 5, recently asked me, ‘Why are you doing what you are doing?’ “
To Garden Club members, it was obvious that Carson enjoys what he does. He knows exactly when, what and where to plant each new season and laughed.
âPlants never know what day it is,â he said.
Carson’s timeline for when to start growing plants is accurate.
âWe are currently at the end of the growing season,â he said. âBut for the past two weeks, I’ve been planting poinsettias at 100 degrees. I start to think about poinsettias in January. Some cuttings come from Central America. Others are arriving from across the country by Federal Express. ”
He deals with the largest seed companies in the country, including Ball and Burpee.
âI have to be careful with the environment to keep to the schedule,â he said.
The surprise snow from last winter had the potential to wreak havoc on her spring flower planting schedule. However, it does have greenhouses with protective heating and cooling systems that outwit the unpredictable vagaries of nature.
âIn gardening, there is no room or margin for error,â Carson said.
Carson will begin planting his crop of spring flowers in January. âGrowth is a matter of being able to adapt to the environment which I cannot control,â he noted. “I’m a cranky gardener and always watch the end date.”
This is when the Carson Greenhouse Market area teems with rows of varied flowers and greenery. In bloom, the greenhouses are a parade of technicolor plants to visit.
And what does Carson do to rest and relax when all the plants are in bloom and buyers are selecting plants for their spring and summer gardens? Carson laughed.
“By June 1, I want to be on the golf course!” “
Micki J. Shelton is a native of Muskogee and a master gardener.