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Holiday plants help nursery thrive

December 14, 1998|By SCOTT BUTKI

T&C Nursery is celebrating two events simultaneously this month: its 10th anniversary and continuing popularity as a local grower and seller of poinsettias.

Cindy and Tom Chidron opened T&C Nursery at 20810 Leitersburg Pike in December 1989. The name reflects their initials. She had worked for other nurseries before they opened their own store.

While business was slow initially, it has grown due to word-of-mouth and advertising, said Cindy Chidron.

Throughout the 10 years, their most popular product in the winter has always been poinsettias, she said.

"Poinsettias are a major seller," she said.

The Chidrons sell about 3,000 poinsettias a year, and each year they add a few new varieties, such as this year's Purple Rose. They sell 16 varieties in prices ranging from $3.50 to $25.

One of the customers visiting their business during an open house on Sunday was Dottie McKee of Hagerstown. It was her third trip to the nursery this month and she was expecting to return.

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"The flowers here are the prettiest I've seen in any place," said McGee, who was holding a poinsettia.

"I don't think it would be Christmas without poinsettias," she said.

The flower has a reputation for being difficult to grow, but with the right equipment it is not that hard, Chidron said.

They must be planted in August, when it is warm. They start to show some color in late September. They must be kept at a steady temperature of 70 degrees during the day and 60 at night, she said.

They start as 4-inch cuttings and grow to about 12 inches in height, she said.

The nursery starts selling them after Thanksgiving, she said. Customers get careful instructions, reminding them of the importance of watering the plants and keeping them at a steady temperature, she said.

She thinks one of the reasons poinsettias are so popular is because so many people like the color red. Besides, people like the way they give a home a holiday look, she said.

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