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Alexandria People at Work: Helping Customers Be Successful

A spurt of water cascades over pots of lenten roses as Scott Sutherland walks down the rows of plants at Greenstreet Gardens on King Street. He says, “There is lots of watering to be done, once or twice a day depending on the plant and the size of the pot. That lettuce right over there could probably use a dunk.” He passes by lacy astilbe, another shade plant. “These can take a while to take hold and grow large.”

Kerry Sprinks and her daughter Daphne have filled a wagon full of pansies to put in planters for the fall season. Scott Sutherland tells her that if the pot is large enough they could go dormant and come back in the spring with even stronger roots. Photo by Shirley Ruhe/The Connection

Kerry Sprinks and her daughter Daphne have filled a wagon full of pansies to put in planters for the fall season. Scott Sutherland tells her that if the pot is large enough they could go dormant and come back in the spring with even stronger roots. Photo by Shirley Ruhe/The Connection

Sutherland usually works the late shift coming in at 11 a.m. or 1 p.m. and working until the nursery closes at 7 p.m. He says the flow of customers is hard to predict mid-week but there is usually a bump around lunchtime and again after work from 5-7 p.m. And landscapers are in and out all day long.

Sutherland points to a tall tree-like plant with large pinkish ball blossoms. It is a hydrangea but, “when they trim up like that, they are called standard.” He spots a woman wandering over by the evergreens and heads over to help her and answer her questions. She is looking for an evergreen of some kind to plant in large pots by the front door. “How much sun do you get? Half a day? Maybe four hours?” They decide on boxwoods, and he pulls out several plants for her to inspect. She tilts her head and walks around, finally choosing two plants that seem to match. “I’ll check you out,” Sutherland said, “and maybe even load you. I’m full service.” He hands her the receipt announcing, “You have 254 points of free money to use next time.” Read More

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