The nature of nurturing

Caring for customers will keep business blooming

Bayfield Gardens owner Ernie Mathers tends hanging baskets at the greenhouse in Bayfield on June 16.
LINDSAY ABSHAGEN/Herald Enlarge photo

Bayfield Gardens owner Ernie Mathers tends hanging baskets at the greenhouse in Bayfield on June 16. LINDSAY ABSHAGEN/Herald

The Mathers family cares for customers as carefully as they tend their plants.

Bayfield Gardens was founded in 1998, and Ernie and Kathy Mathers have owned it for nine years. Their two children both assist with the business.

Its a lot of work, but were proud of what we grow, said Kathy Mathers. Its a neat business to be in, because people are happy to be here buying plants.

The majority of the vibrant plants for sale at greenhouses in Bayfield and Durango are sown from seed and raised in Bayfield, so they are well-acclimated to the region a bonus for gardeners who struggle with a short growing season and microclimate temperature swings.

We use a real high quality potting soil and slow-release fertilizer. Its an added expense we take on to help customers a little bit extra, said Mathers. Its important not to shortcut people. If you dont keep up your quality, they will go somewhere else.

The quality plants get customers in the door, but good customer service keeps them coming back season after season. Mathers said the staff is always friendly, and they offer old-fashioned touches, like carrying plants out and loading them in cars. They coach people as they go through the door and educate them on fertilizing and watering plants properly.

Ive come here to buy plants every year for three years, said Carmen Black, an avid gardener buying plants on June 12. The quality is fantastic, but I really love the way they treat me. Not too many businesses will carry stuff out for you these days. And theyre always super nice.