BROOKINGS – For more than four decades, Lynn Darnall, co-owner of Medary Acres Greenhouse in Brookings with her husband Brian Darnall, has helped customers honor Memorial Day by delivering floral tributes to the graves of their deceased family members. For several reasons, she’ll no longer be doing that.
“I have done it mostly for people who live out of town and out of state who have loved ones that are buried here,” she explained. “After 43 years a lot of those customers have passed away. And I’m not a spring chicken anymore; after this year, it’s a good year to transition and to have family members picking up pots and taking them out to the cemetery. You imagine how much bigger this has gotten in the 43 years I’ve been doing this.”
Darnall said their greenhouse “grows literally thousands of pots for Memorial Day. We start very early in February and they are spectacular. They have great big blossoms of geraniums; we make mixed pots. Those will all still be available.
“We’re in a transition area where: a) People are doing that themselves; and b) It might be a tradition that might not be as strong as (it was in) my generation and the generation before me.
“It was always a very strong tradition. It’s still a tradition, but I think people do things in a different way now, as far as flags and things like that.
“We’ll still definitely offer products for Memorial Day. Personally, it’s a very special holiday for us. My parents, my grandparents all served in the military. We understand what an important holiday it is. It’s just that we’re no longer going to deliver out there.”
Darnall said she used to go out to the cemetery “with van loads of several pots and bouquets at a time, multiple times with the van.”
Going to the way it will be done now, with no deliveries to the cemetery, she said that as “people passed away, it has been a natural transition as people want to do it themselves.”
Beautify, enjoy your yard
Perhaps it’s a touch of irony, but in the wake of the “worldwide (coronavirus) pandemic and an economic crisis going on,” Darnall is seeing “an incredibly beautiful spring weatherwise.” And that’s been good for business at Medary Acres.
“So what we’re seeing is people are just hounding us with, ‘Oh my gosh, I haven’t been spending money anywhere else; and so I am going to beautify my yard and really enjoy it this year.’”
Continuing, Darnall added, “Our customers don’t want to be sick, so they have been so diligent about covering their faces, social distancing.
“If they drive by here and there are more cars than they want, they’ll just come back later. There are no better shoppers than gardeners.
“Vegetable sales have been very, very brisk.” And children have been coming in with their parents and they’ll be learning how to grow vegetables. That will help teach them about sustainability and help them learn and appreciate where their food comes from.
Additionally, early flower sales have been booming, with Darnall wondering if people are buying the pots for cemetery visits or to beautify their patios; perhaps a bit of both.
Even though she will no longer be making Memorial Day trips to the cemetery and delivering bouquets, flowers and pots for other people, she sees them doing it themselves as being in the true spirit of the day.
“That’s really the heart of Memorial Day,” she said. “Honoring those who have served and being able to honor them on your own, family and friends.”
Contact John Kubal at [email protected]