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Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays

For 20 years Catskill Native Nursery has been closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to walk-in traffic. Though those of you who may have shown up, forgetting about our closed days, saw that there were actually workers around and most of the time we allowed you to come in and shop. But mostly we used those days to get the nursery restocked and organized and cleaned up for our “open” days. As well as do deliveries and pickup plants from other growers and run personal errands. And, of course, our knowledgable “plant geek” staff all need a couple days off to recharge. “Why not find more staff to work your closed days” was often suggested to us, but knowledgable “plant geeks” are hard to find. When good-natured suggestions about how to run the business persisted we finally had to point out “We’re not Walmart” – we simply are not going to be open 7 days a week 12 hours a day.

Now we find ourselves in “Terra Incognito” trying to run what has become an “Amazon” plant warehouse. Most of our day is spent running around picking orders and trying to find the one plant on the order that seems to have disappeared. We are not set up to be a warehouse. We’re pretty well organized, but to run a warehouse efficiently it needs to be perfectly organized not pretty well organized. Then there are Tuesdays and Wednesdays. On-line stores of course are open 7 days a week 24 hours a day. Orders come in 7 days a week 24 hours a day. But we are still operating on our pre-warehouse schedule. We need Tuesdays and Wednesdays to make deliveries, sort out problems with orders that have cropped up over the previous 5 days, catch up on things that need to be done for plants we are propagating and take some time off. So now we need to point out that “We are not Amazon.” If you place an order Monday night or Tuesday or Wednesday, it’s likely that we won’t even look at the order until Thursday. So we will be running a couple days longer fulfilling those orders than normal. This isn’t a complaint – so far everyone has been completely understanding about us sometimes taking a few days to get your order ready for pickup. I just wanted to clarify that there may be times it takes us a little longer than normal and to explain it will almost always be the case for orders placed midweek.

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Snowday

The morning greeted us with 3 inches of snow – less on the ground in most areas where the ground was warm and the snow melted as it fell. Even so it will be difficult pulling carts of plants around and we are suspending operations for the day. We won’t be pulling orders nor putting out plants for pickup. We will resume operations tomorrow. It’s supposed to be a beautiful day!

Of course you can still place orders on line to get into the queue for picking. Will we be able to get Saturday orders put out for pickup on Sunday? I doubt it. On Sunday morning we will still be picking orders that came in Friday afternoon and through the evening. We will do our best to get your order ready to be picked up on Sunday but can make no promises. And please wait for an email from us confirming that your order is ready to pick up. Even if your order is small and wouldn’t take long to pick, please remember that there are likely to be other orders in front of you, and we pick in order of arrival.

Please remember, it’s really, really early in the gardening season and there will be plenty of time to purchase plants and get them in the ground. We still have inventory that we overwintered to be put up on the shop site, and new plants are being delivered to us from other growers each week. To help you figure out if you’ve seen the plant on the site before or if it’s a new plant, any plant that was added to the shopsite within the last 10 days will have a “New” icon on plant listings and on the plant page itself. Unfortunately, at the moment, we haven’t figured out if plants can be sorted or searched for under a “New” category – doesn’t look like it.

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CNN in the time of covid-19

We hope that you and yours are healthy and coping well with the stress surrounding the ongoing disease epidemic. We have been following the advice of Governor Cuomo and reducing our interactions with other people as much as possible.

What does this mean for the nursery? For most of our existence our Spring opening occurred either the 2nd or 3rd weekend in April. This winter, as you probably know, has been the warmest winter ever and it looked for quite some time that we would be opening the nursery the last weekend in March. Winter has made a bit of a comeback however and we probably wouldn’t be opening until the first weekend in April – if, of course, the covid-19 disease epidemic had not ensued. Because cases of the virus are still exponentially increasing, we are delaying our opening for an indeterminate amount of time in order to help reduce the rate of spread of the virus.

We will be posting updates to our status on this site, on Facebook, and on our main website, catskillnativenursery.com. My thought is that we will not open to walk-in trade until the virus has begun to decline in its rate of spread. Certainly we do not feel it is appropriate to expose our workers and our customers to the possibility of exposure to the virus when the virus is still increasing exponentially in our population and the chances of transmission are higher.

We have thought about a number of options to still enable our customers to obtain plants from us. Most involve reducing the number of people coming into the nursery at one time or enforcing social distancing recommendations. We believe this would be an insufficient strategy for reducing transmission of the virus to the low levels that are necessary to “squash the bug.”

We have decided instead to do something we long thought virtually impossible. Getting our inventory onto a website – and not only having a darn close-to-live inventory listing, but also to allow you to order plants and pay for your order on-line. But only for curbside pickup at the nursery – no shipping whatsoever. We may be able to deliver some orders for customers who live close to the nursery and the order is either a large volume of plants or involves large trees. Please do not expect us to deliver small orders that you could easily pickup in your own vehicle – we do not have enough employees to be delivering small orders of plants all over Ulster County.

We have chosen to set up our “Plant Shop” on a completely different website from our main site. If you are shopping for Botanical Prints or Gift Certificates you can still purchase those at our main site catskillnativenursery.com. This site is solely for purchasing plants.

We have no idea whether we will be able to pull this off or not. There will be numerous glitches I’m sure. So please bear with us as we try to get on-line ordering up and running. We may abandon the idea shortly after launch if it becomes obvious that the process is simply intractable.

We do not know how long it will take for us to pull your order and make it available to you. As we go along in the process we’ll have a better idea of how long it will take and can advise accordingly. Please do not place an order, then immediately hop in your vehicle to come to the nursery to pick it up. Please wait until we have contacted you that your order is ready for pickup.

You will need to come to the nursery to pickup your order. We will place it in our upper parking area with your name on a label. You will be responsible for loading the order. We will not be able to assist. While picking up the order you may be tempted to come into the nursery to ask a question – we ask you to refrain from doing so. You may decide that a plant you have ordered is not one you want. We ask that you leave the plant with us and contact us about a refund. Do not enter the nursery to ask for a refund. You may get a plant home and decide you do not want it. Please do not return it to the nursery. Hold on to it until later in the season. We will be happy to issue a refund or credit for the plant but want to minimize transferral of plants back and forth. While loading, you may spy another plant or a pot that you want to purchase that you forgot to order. Please do not come into the nursery to try to purchase the item. You will need to return home and place another order.

I’m sure we will be adding other “rules and regulations” as we proceed. These are trying times but by respecting each other and following best procedures for reducing the spread of the virus we will hopefully get through the epidemic with less risk than if we simply carried on with business as usual.