Where Have All The Flowers Gone?

Where Have All The Flowers Gone?
I am looking out my window this morning at the start of the super weather bomb. Not sure if it has a name but we sure don’t need it.

Take a deep breath! This too shall pass.



When spring arrives we will be mobilizing the troops and starting up Springvale Nurseries once again!

Same people, same place but a new business model for the coming season.

Over the years our favorite part of our business has been our Big Tree Production. This will be the focus of our attention over the next season and until we find a new buyer for our business.
With about 30,000 trees in production we have something for everyone.


Our window of time to harvest is very short and can’t start until the snow clears and the frost goes out of the ground. Usually this is about the first week of April, less than a week away and we’re into a freakin’ snowstorm!

Spring My A--

Patience…I tell myself! Spring will come and it can come fast and furious leaving little time for our harvest. We will be ready when it comes.

If you are thinking about trees for your home, business or recreational property, here are some ideas!


These are all things we have done and can do so call us for a site visit and our proposal.



  1. Plant one or more specimen and accent trees on your property. Just think what these will be in 20 years! We can plant trees for you from 2” to 10” in diameter. Instant landscaping or slow and steady, your choice.
  2. Looking for that ideal living fence? Over the past year we have planted several really nice boundary hedges. Instant privacy…Awesome! Your choices include various deciduous trees which can be pruned for density and make an awesome boundary hedge. Or…why not go with an evergreen (conifer) hedge of Colorado Select Blue Spruce, or one of the many Cedars we have to offer, including some that are already 10 – 12 feet in height!
  3. We still have a selection of roses in production which can also be an awesome hedge that will keep the neighbors kids out! Or can be planted as specimens. Our “True Bloom Roses’ on their own roots will never revert or root sucker. They stay true to name.
  4. Or how about one of many unique and individual specimens trees in our production? We have many “one of a kind” items that will provide instant impact! You have to see thee to understand what I mean!
  5. Landscapers or developers? Let us subcontract your design, supply and install jobs. That will leave your crews to do other work.
  6. Don’t want custom installation? No problem…we supply! Let us land the trees you want on your jobsite. We are happy to supply and install or just supply!
  7. Bed creation or other landscape plantings? Our staff can create the beds you want, supply and install the plants and do final mulching and cleanup. And, we also can provide seeding and sodding as required.

These are but a few of the possibilities offered for 2014 by Springvale Nurseries. Call us for a free consultation, quote or estimate or we will be delighted to host you for a field tour (once the snow goes!)


Paul H Grimm
PS: We have some other awesome news to share with you coming soon but will save this for another article!





Thanksgiving 2013 – We Are Greatly Blessed!

Thanksgiving is always a time of reflection over the events of the year nearly passed.  We have so much to give thanks for and much to look forward to!

Family!  This is the most Blessed of Blessings.  Today on a beautiful fall day Nancy and I have shared some quiet time enjoying the view from our verandah and I even grabbed a little snooze.   Sweetie (our Westie) trots back and forth keeping an eye on the activities of the chickens that peck about for bugs in the afternoon warmth.  Sometimes we need to take time to see the “Sacred in the Ordinary”.  This was  just one of those days.

And yesterday we shared dinner with most of us who could make it to Sister Ruth Anne and John Greenough and their family.  Most of our extended family got there for the dinner except those who live too far to travel.  Mom and Dad get great joy in having so many of our family around them as we all catch up on each other’s activities and share some great Thanksgiving food.

Several new people have joined our family this past year.  First, niece Alex (Butler) Soares and her husband Elijah brought forth a new little redhead boy, Mason, born in June.    And…Talia Greeough our niece married Alex Pay in august.  And then in Early September, Our Cathy and her husband Dan Oulton celebrated the birth of their new son, Timothy.

These have been great and joyful events for all of us.  And we are thankful to be able to share these times with Mom and Dad.The Old Train Bridge

On Saturday afternoon we went on a hike on what used to be the North Mountain Line Railroad.  I can remember steam trains running on this when I was a kid.  It was used to move apples from the warehouses along the valley to market.  The picture with daughter, Sally and grandson, Ben O’Neill shows the old concrete culvert when we use to fish and swim when we were kids.  This was a trip back memory lane!

Business!  After several years of trying we have finally sold off our container stock and will be closing a chapter in the Springvale book.  Nancy and I are hoping that someone with youth an ambition will arrive on the scene and want to breathe new life into our business.   At this point we confess that our energy to continue is depleted.  Our plans are to discontinue most container product and close down our retail garden center.  Our Sept sales and subsequent auction have cleared out many thousands of plants with only a few left to clear out over the next week or so.

This will allow us to return to the part of the business I love best and back to our ‘Roots” so to speak….growing and installing big trees.  This enterprise has a lot of future promise for the right person.  With a rotation of over 30,000 trees still in production there is no end in sight to the opportunity in this region to grow and install large trees.  The sheer cost of freight alone to import from other regions coupled with the superiority of stock grown for Maritime conditions bodes for the long term future of this business.

Nancy and I are waiting patiently for the right person to show up on the scene and we will provide the opportunity and mentorship for the next few years if desired.  (Or we will walk away without a squeak if this is the wish of a new buyer!)

You, our clients!  As we have eased out of one part of our business we want to spread the word that we have an unbelievable selection and breadth of many species, cultivars and sizes of trees.  There are trees for any budget from 1 meter whips to 10” caliper specimens.

Red Sunset Maples

Red Sunset Maples

I have spent some time over the last few days walking among our trees taking fall inventory and it is amazing to see so many great trees in their resplendent fall color getting ready for their winter nap.

Over the next month or so we still have the opportunity to harvest and plant trees for you so why not give us a call?   There are trees available to meet any budget.  I love to take our clients on tours of our fields.

Thanks for listening and may the joy of the Thanksgiving season warm your heart as the earth begins to put itself to sleep for a few months!

Paul Grimm

“The Time Has Come the Walrus Said….”

“The Time Has Come the Walrus Said….”

Where to Start!

More than 25 years ago we had a dream which was to become Springvale Nurseries.  For many years the business prospered.   It became the launch pad for our children’s careers and provided for the needs of our family.

But let me be the first to admit, the past few years have been tough for many of us in this industry and Springvale is no exception.  Many have closed their doors and/or gone bankrupt…..and this is sad.

I will not engage in a rant about why, but will say we have chosen to fight against the odds. I will also say that we are personally guilty of failing to respond to the signals in the market place.  There were times a few years ago that anyone with half a brain would have folded his tent.

I guess I listened to the wrong half of my brain!

Winston Churchill said “Never, Never, Never Surrender”.  And for better or for worse, this is the mantra we have followed.


”The Time Has Come…..”

So let me be both brief and straight with you, our friends, clients and fellow industry people.

Nancy has been retired for over 10 years since having two heart attacks.  I’d like to do so before I have one!

So here is our plan.

On July 14th, 2013 we will be closing our garden center doors and continuing with our tree business until we can find a buyer.  We cannot really fully retire until we have a succession plan for the company and its assets in place.

There is an opportunity for the right person to pick up where we plan to leave off.  We will help the right buyer get established (or not)…up to you!

As some of you may be aware, this year we along with our Daughter’s business, Bloom Greenhouses, have been planting hundreds of trees around HRM over the past few weeks.  This is one of the potential business models for Springvale and we have thousands of great trees in the ground needing a new owner!

Are you the one?

We welcome inquiries from interested parties and have a number of pretty creative ideas that we do not have the energy or time to develop.

People have asked: “Didn’t you close already?” 

Answer:  “We tried, but couldn’t close with such a large inventory of plants.”

The business needs youth, energy, intelligence and capital.   At this point I feel like I am Old, Tired , Stupid and Poor.  J  (this is supposed to be a joke).

On my birthday I will turn 65.  It’s time…!

So…next few weeks starting immediately Springvale is holding a:

“Grand Semi-Retirement Sale”

From Today to July 14th, last and final day, doors to the garden center close.

We are offering to the public all of our container stock at great discounts from 20% off to 75% off.

We still have roughly seven houses full of Roses, Perennials, Shrubs, Vines, Potted Trees, Standards and Fancies.

Right now the roses are awesome and so are many of the shrubs and perennials.

So please….Springvale is not “going out of business…or closing”….we are switching over to 100% tree production until we find a buyer for the business or its assets.

If you are looking for large trees, supplied and/or installed we got ‘em.

Buy one, Buy 10, or Buy them all!

Let’s talk!   Email me at paulg@springvalnurseries.com and I’ll be in touch with you PDQ!

Paul Grimm, Nancy Grimm


The Only Constant is Change!

One thing we have learned in life and business is to expect change. And though some change is good it also can test our strength and resolve!

At Springvale over the past few years we have seen profound changes in the market place for plants in the region.   Like it or not, the chain stores have taken over much of the business that use to belong to smaller, family owned and operated businesses who were all locally based.

Some of these have made the necessary changes in their ‘business model” to survive while other have simply folded tent and given up the business.   In my opinion this is sad because these smaller local businesses have been the fabric of our communities and are now being replaced by yet another Wal-Mart, Superstore or Canadian Tire.

It is a free market and they have the right to exist, just as we do, but the sad part is the absolute loss of the locals and the knowledge and expertise they provided.

We at Springvale are changing too because these businesses were our customers and many of them no longer exist.

Here is what to expect from us this coming season and hopefully for many years to come!

  1. Large Tree Production:  We will continue to specialize in large tree production and installation.  Our large trees range from 2” caliper to 12” caliper and from 10 ft. to 30 ft. in some cases.   With over 30,000 trees in production we are able to supply nearly any tree planting job in the region.  We do not always have every species and cultivar but always have something that will make a very good substitute.
  2. Native Plants of the Region: We are increasing our focus on native plants that have local origin.  These are ‘True Natives”   Not “so called” natives imported from Ontario or worse, Oregon.  We start our plants from local seed sources, cuttings and tissue culture and are building our specialized ability to address site restoration projects using native plants and well as the growing retail and commercial demand for native plants.
  3. Container Production:  We still supply a limited line of Hardy shrubs and roses grown from our own seedling and Tissue culture processes as well as a variety of native container plants and some non-natives but still produced here on our farms.  They are available for wholesale supply to the industry and can be purchased at our retail garden center.  Our hope was to close this at the end of last season but we still have a large quantity of plants remaining and therefore we are pleased to announce that our Garden Center is now open for the season or as long as our product lasts.

These are all positive changes for our company’s future and we embrace them with passion.

With them comes unwanted change and we regret to announce that we are losing some of our good long term people who are moving on to other things.

Cindy Garnet-Rawding has been our General Manager for many years and is a great employee and an outstanding human being.  Much to our disappointment Cindy has decided to pursue other activities.

As noted in the most recent post to our website, we have secured the services of Shawn Muzzerall who has big (Little) shoes to fill 🙂 but will tackle the task with a great deal of energy and brings some great skills to the table!

Greg Cox has been our field manager and one of our longest serving employees but has been forced to retire due to an injury.  He will be missed.

Johanne Perrault has been our Receptionist/Secretary for several years and due to family issues will no longer be working at our office.  Filling the role of secretary receptionist at the office is Donna Lightfoot who has worked for many years in production and retail.

Susan Dingle will be no longer with us in the garden center.  Due to the downsizing of this operation.   We know that our customers will miss Susan a lot and we wish her well.

These have been super people and will be missed a great deal in our business.

Please stay tuned, we are looking forward to a busy year!


HRM Plans to Increase Its Tree Purchasing and Installation

HRM Plans to Increase Its Tree Purchasing and Installation

In a recent news article in the Herald it was announced the HRM is going to be increasing its tree purchasing and installation as part of its “HRM – Urban Forest Master Plan”.  This is good news for Springvale Nurseries and other local growers!  See an excerpt from the article below:

“There are about 160,000 trees lining the serviced streets of Halifax Regional Municipality. But there are 90,000 more spots where trees once were or could be.

And the city is losing trees to illness and old age faster than it’s planting new ones.

A group of HRM staff and Dalhousie researchers are imagining a Halifax with a lot more leafy cover than it has now, and their years of research have finally grown into a concrete plan that they are nearly ready to submit to regional council.

“If you start to add up all of the benefits you get from each tree you have in the city, you’d be astonished. You’d wonder why we wouldn’t have more trees,” said Peter Duinker, a Dalhousie forestry professor who’s leading the school’s work on HRM’s Urban Forest Master Plan.

“Every tree, as long as it’s not in a really bad location, like its roots are clogging up some pipes every tree is providing such an amazing array of benefits,” he said.

They shade cars, sidewalks and houses, lowering energy costs. Their canopies hold a considerable amount of water during rainstorms, allowing it to evaporate without hitting the ground and relieving pressure on the sewage treatment system.

Trees are a surefire hit on front lawns and raise property values — and tax revenues — just with their picturesque existence, said Duinker.

Knowing that, his team has documented certain parts of the municipality that are without their fair share of trees.”  (To read the entire article please click here!)

Springvale Nurseries hopes and intends to be a significant player in the production and supply of locally grown trees for HRM.  As one of the closest major nurseries to the municipality it only makes economic and environmental sense that trees grown from native sources and produced here in the Valley will be best suited to planting in Halifax, an hour away. In addition to Springvale there are also a number of other local growers who can both benefit from and contribute to this expansion in the urban forests of HRM.
In recent discussions with senior staff of HRM it appears that the next step and hopefully not a roadblock in implementing the Urban Forests Master Plan is approval by HRM council.  Only then can funding and implementation of the plan commence.

Our intentions are to work closely with the folks in HRM to make this a reality.  All of Nova Scotia will benefit from the planting of trees produced in this region.  It helps to ensure that local tax dollars stay here and supports local jobs and home grown  industry as well.

Paul H Grimm,


So What’s With the Closing Out Sale?…Haven’t We Done This Already?

So What’s With the Closing Out Sale?…Haven’t We Done This Already?

Two years ago we held a “Going Out of Business Sale” for Springvale Garden Center


Springvale True Bloom 8-Pac Roses

Springvale True Bloom 8-Pac Roses

then….we didn’t close our garden center!?!


Some folks said it was just a publicity stunt.

I can assure you, nothing was further from the truth.  We had run out of cash, the lifeblood of all businesses.  At that time, your huge patronage of this sale saved our corporate ass.  And….combined with a couple other opportunities that came our way that year, we were able to continue with our business in its present form.

Unfortunately for us it has become abundantly clear to us that our present business model is not working.

The time has come for us to make some serious changes to Springvale Nurseries “Business Model” in order for it to continue into the future as a perpetual company.

The changing marketplace no longer has a place for us in what we have traditionally done as a business.  Some things are working for Springvale and some are not.  Have we made some tactical and strategic errors?



We need to do more of what is working and stop doing what is not working! It’s not rocket science. There are some outstanding opportunities for the Springvale of the future; particularly in the development of our tissue culture rose product and our large tree business, and a few other ideas that show promise.

What is not working for us is our ‘traditional” container production operation and our retail store.  Unfortunately both of these enterprises require consistently about ten times the annual sales volume to be profitable.  And….they consume huge amounts of cash in production inputs and labor.

SIDEBAR:  Not sure if this matters to you but I believe in explaining the reasons why we do the things we do!  That way you will better understand our moves.    

We know how to produce these plants and do it well however, the market that was once our mainstay has simply disappeared.  Many, many small garden centers have closed and the market is now dominated by the ‘Big Box Stores” who purchase goods from outside of the region and rarely patronize local vendors and growers.

This is sad, but the “Buy Local” fad is not what it seems.  What it really means is “Buy Local” if it is cheaper than the chains, and for the independent grower this is not possible in our climate.  The other sad part is that in many cases the consumer is being ripped off by purchasing plants grown in much milder climates than ours and these do not perform well in our region.

A shrub whose origin is California is not going to grow in Nova Scotia in most cases.  My opinion….but I have seen this consistently.

So in order to facilitate the move to our new business model we have to sell a huge quantity of our container grown plants.

This is where you come in! (Yes…Please come in! And…bring all your friends!)

Please come and buy our plants!  We need to clean house.  The product is great and it is hardy for the region and our prices are dirt cheap for the duration of this sale.  All container stock is being sold at 25%, 50%, or 75% off.


The biggest we have ever held.  The purpose of the sale is to generate cash and reduce inventory to a minimum.  Cash is required to move to the next phases of our development.



“So…are we trying to sell a business that no longer works to someone stupider than us?” 

Hell no….there is an outstanding opportunity for a new owner to develop our proprietary tissue culture rose business into a huge and viable enterprise.  We have the facilities, the right climate, and the scientific developments to help a new owner succeed in this venture.

In fact, I am willing to remain part of this during its development period.  The will be an “Exit Date” for us but a new owner will gain the benefit of our 25 years of experience and have full access to our research and proprietary protocols for the development of the rose products.  And…a market of 200,000,000 people within 2 days transport of Berwick! 


This has the potential to be a multimillion $ business based on local markets and export markets as well.

I look forward to talking to you about it if you have the interest.   Please don’t waste my time if you do not have the interest or the means.  We are looking for serious buyers or investors only.

I fully believe that there is also the opportunity to rebuild the garden center concept on a slightly different model as well.  The challenge is getting the traffic and differentiating from the chain stores.  I’d love to discuss this with you!

In the mean time, come and take advantage of the incredible values that are being offered at the garden center!  Right now!  And tell all your friends as well!

Paul H Grimm,

Commander in chief!

PS:  Springvale fully intends to stay in business for the long term growing trees and roses and a few other items as well!

“When All Is Said and Done” – “The Truth Shall Set You Free”

“When All Is Said and Done” –

“The Truth Shall Set You Free”

Paul and Nancy Grimm - Owners of Springvle Nurseries

Nancy and Paul Grimm

At least I hope so!

So what is the truth I am referring to?

The truth is…the time has come for us (Nancy and Me) to reduce our load and live a less strenuous life.

I always loved “The Beatles” and particularly “When I’m Sixty-Four”.  For one thing, this song works for a Barbershop  Quartet and that is one of my passions.

Well guess what!….Next week “I is 64”!

It always seemed a long way off…but now it is here.

So in honor of my impending birthday and this great song, and our 25th Anniversary….

Announcing…(drum roll please)….

Springvale Nurseries is For Sale

It’s time!

I am losing my steam and therefore it is time for new owners with youth and ambition.

Nancy would appreciate more time to do things with me and with our Kids and Grandkids (and less of me tied in knots over business) and I’d like to do more singing and go fishin’ with my grandkids.

So here is the deal.

A friend of mine once said, matter of factly;

“When All is Said and done,

There’s nothing left to Say,

And Nothing Left to Do”

That’s kinda what I call a “BFO” (A Blinding Flash of the Obvious)!

Another way of saying this is:

“When You’ve Done All You Can, There is Nothing More You Can do”.

And the truth is, I have done all I can, I take pride in the fact that I always have.   And now I have to face the fact that I can no longer do this.  Therefore….

We are seriously looking for a buyer and here is what we are offering for sale.

  1.        Springvale Nurseries Headquarters Location – 4796 Highway 221, Berwick.  This is a prime piece of valley real estate with the nursery container yard, the warehouse and offices, the shipping area and about 50 acres of excellent valley land with orchard, pond and a brook running through it.  Bottom line, it is an awesome property and ready for a new owner.  There is enough land to expand the container production, retail area, etc, etc, etc.  (And a beautiful spot to build a house!)
  2.        All of our container stock plus the back-up propagation for the next crop. 
  3.        Springvale “True Bloom Roses”.  We have developed a tissue culture operation to produce roses on their own roots and a new product line which could be an international success with the right market development, managed by someone with some working capital and a lot of ambition who wants to take over the world.  (That used to be me….but now it’s time for a new horse in the race)
  4.        Production equipment, cold storages and basically everything you need to get going. 
  5.        And… we have an awesome staff who has learned their trade at Springvale. 


And there is more including some new and outstanding opportunities.   Come talk to me!

We have developed a new and exciting business opportunity that I am not able to pursue alone.  It needs someone with both capital and ambition.  And I am available as a mentor.

No “tire kickers” please, we are looking for serious inquiries.  If you have the means and the motivation, this is one outstanding opportunity.  I haven’t got the time or patience for anyone without a sincere interest. This is a million $ plus opportunity for the right person.

Me?…I’d like for a few years to continue where I started, growing trees for the landscape market.  Sooner or later I will need to sell this too but for now, we still need an income and I still want to do this.

But for now…we must either sell this “package” to the right person or we must close and just stop.  Because….I can’t do this anymore, at least not alone!

Are you the one?

Call me!

Paul H Grimm,

PS:  In the meantime, we are offering to our public one helluva a sale.  All container stock at Springvale Garden Center is 25%, 50% and 75% off.