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Customers at outdoor living show have obvious spring fever (+video, gallery)

Spring has sprung At The Outdoor Living & Landscape Show

Garden displays, yard accoutrements, plants anticipate season at Century II. (Video by Annie Calovich)
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Garden displays, yard accoutrements, plants anticipate season at Century II. (Video by Annie Calovich)

Did you notice it’s been pretty warm out?

Oh yeah, you did. And so did the area’s greenhouses and landscapers, who have been getting lots of phone calls from you.

Greenhouses in the Wichita area are rushing to get plants out early, starting with flowers such as pansies and violas, and early vegetables such as lettuce, broccoli and kale.

Hong Landscape & Nursery has gotten more than twice the calls it usually does in early March, said Dale Hong, one of the owners, sitting by the company’s elaborate display on Saturday at the Outdoor Living & Landscape Show.

He said he expects his plant sales to be about two weeks ahead of a normal year.

“When the temperatures are usually in the 40s and 50s, and this year are in the 60s and 70s, it makes a big difference,” he said.

Garden displays, yard accoutrements, plants anticipate season at Century II. (Video by Annie Calovich)

The mood was pretty obvious at the Outdoor Living & Landscape Show on Saturday morning. The show at Century II’s Expo Hall was busy, even with the caucus next door that brought thousands of Republican voters and parking problems to the area.

“It’s been pretty crazy,” said Jackie Wise, vice president and general manager of Entercom Communications, which puts on the show.

Dan Parcel, retail director of Manhattan, Kan.-based Kaw Valley Greenhouses, said the company next weekend will open locations at Kellogg and Tyler and an as-yet-to-be-determined location.

It’s a bit of a struggle, he said. He estimated the company will be a week to 10 days ahead of normal.

“I think the customers are ahead of schedule, but it’s difficult for us to get ahead of schedule,” Parcel said.

They have to hire 600 people across 42 retail locations and have to train them, he said. The plants are on their own timetable and are hard to rush.

“I’m sure we’re missing sales by not being out there now, but most people know that Kansas is unpredictable,” he said. “While it looks great now, it’s still winter and things can change pretty quick.”

If you go

Outdoor Living & Landscape Show

When: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday

Where: Century II Expo Hall, 225 W. Douglas

Tickets: Adults, $9; seniors (age 60 and older), $7; children 5-12, $4

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