The warm summer breeze awakens the slumbering nursery, rustling though the tree branches that gently nudge the birds and squirrels awake. The breeze continues its journey through the nursery and …
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The warm summer breeze awakens the slumbering nursery, rustling though the tree branches that gently nudge the birds and squirrels awake. The breeze continues its journey through the nursery and perfumes the air as it skims over the flowers to alert the inert bees and butterflies to the location of each blossom as they wait patiently for the sun to warm their bodies.
Holly Acres Nursery is stirring. The nursery greeter, Saturn, an attentive springer spaniel, patrols the grounds as owners Kelley Bonds, Jim Bonds and their daughter Sarah, begin daily nursery maintenance.
Kelley and Jim Bonds have run the nursery east of Elizabeth for 15 years, actually buying it three years ago. They have plans to renovate the 100-year-old house. Kelley would like to contact the DIY Network renovation show and ask for help with restoration and maybe explore the possibility of renovating other old buildings in Elizabeth, putting the community on television.
Kelley is from Albuquerque, New Mexico, but has lived her adult life in Colorado, where she met her husband, an Elizabeth native, and originally wanted to go to art school in Colorado but life intervened. In the Bonds family the apple falls not far from the tree in the nursery or the gene pool. Sarah is often commissioned to paint dog portraits — owners send her a variety of pictures and she creates a portrait from there.
Gardening, several business ventures and children came between Kelley and her art. She was always an avid gardener with large personal gardens and the natural progression was taking her produce to farmers markets — something she has little time for with the demands of the nursery. The demands of the nursery could be overwhelming but for their daughter, Sarah, who manages and pretty much runs the nursery while Kelley does a lot of the ordering, buying, marketing and other paperwork and Jim is the in-resident carpenter, maintains the equipment and does all the accounting.
With the size of the nursery, there is plenty of work to keep the entire staff busy. Viewing Holly Acres Nursery from the greenhouse and small building in front, its size is deceptive. The nursery stretches far beyond the structures and provides a quiet, peaceful setting for shopping or walking your dog. Holly Acres is dog friendly and some people take advantage of this, walking their dogs on Saturday among the plants. Because it is somewhat isolated, Kelley says, “It is a personal experience.”
The question arises with winter looming what happens to plants that are not sold. They are not discarded in a compost heap, but the staff will repot those plants left after the current clearance sale. Hands on, the staff pot bare-root plants that were shipped to them in the spring and again in the fall, repotting the unsold trees and putting smaller items in new pots and all in the greenhouses for a winter slumber.
With Holly Acres known for the hands-on care of their plants, people come from all over to buy their fruit trees. Other vendors may buy fruit trees from growers, but Holly Acres grows the tree themselves. Jim and Kelley have learned what works with Elizabeth soil and weather and therein lies the difference between buying plants from somewhere other than Holly Acres. Plants bought there spend most of their life at the nursery and are well acclimated and flourish for the buyer.
Holly Acres plants have been brought to surrounding areas though. In fact, one of its 26-foot trees is in place at the Monarch Casino in Black Hawk. The casino wanted a live tree though Kelley had concerns about the logistics of transporting and placement of a 3,000-pound tree. The casino managed somehow and Sarah says, “When I go by, I can say, ‘I know that tree.’”
Holly Acres does sell some evergreens as Christmas trees and holds an annual Christmas event offering a visit from Santa, train rides around the trees, hot chocolate and jumping house pony rides, face painting and local vendors with a wide variety of products. Sara claims “Mom always made us wear elf costumes and still does”
As would be expected, Holly Acres advises customers what to plant where. One salient piece of advice is to avoiding planting too many of one plant, which can become host plants for diseases and bugs. Diversity is important in the greenhouse and backyards.
Holly Acres is having a huge clearance sale giving away one plant for every two you buy. Although they are open all year, vacation time at Holly Nursery is almost upon the Bonds because during the winter the plants will lie dormant, but never the Bonds.
For more information: 303-646- 8868 or www.hollyacresnursery.com
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