Despite Winter's Last Gasp, Spring is really right around the corner. Don't believe me? You're about to turn your clocks ahead this weekend. So there.
So for this installment, we thought we'd brighten things up a little and talk about flowers and planting and all things are are not Winter. Enter Barlow's Flower Farm, a Wall Township staple for decades. We caught up with Leslie Barlow for this Spotlight On Wall.
As always, if you've got suggestions on businesses, groups or people you think deserve a Spotlight, please send them to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Barlow’s Flower farm has been a Wall Township staple, around since 1983. You’ve survived the rise of Big Box stores selling gardening essentials. What’s your secret to staying afloat when so many stores like yours have shuttered?
It has been quite challenging during the past ten years with so many competitors selling our product. The fact that we are local growers makes a big difference in the quality of the plants and flowers. We have complete control over the way they are grown, which is with safe, sustainable practices and earth friendly methods. We grow specifically for Monmouth and Ocean County landscapes so plants thrive once they leave Barlow’s and are planted in consumer’s gardens. We want people to be successful with their gardens. They spend so much time, money and energy that they should start with quality plants. We give great, sound advice and awesome customer service. Furthermore, we are the same price or less than the big box stores---we shop around to make sure of it!
Additionally, we have a lovely shop and customers enjoy the new products we showcase seasonally. Right now we have a beautiful silk floral selection, wreaths, tabletop décor, garden gifts, all new pottery, candles, baskets and unique gifts. In the winter months Barlow’s always feels like spring and we welcome people to “just stop in to feel good and enjoy the flowers.”
* * * * *
Business Name: Barlow Flower Farm, but for a long time everyone just says Barlow's, so that is now our logo.
How Long In Wall Location: 30 years, but the "farm" has been here since 1807 (the house is the only remaining structure that dates that far back). We are only the 3rd family to own the farm.
Owner/Manager/President: Stephen Barlow is the owner, manager, president and grower. Stephanie Peduto is also an owner along with me, Leslie Barlow.
Address: 1014 Sea Girt Ave. Sea Girt, NJ 08750
Hours: Open 7 days year-around. Winter hours 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Spring: 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Phone: (732) 449-9189
* * * * *
It’s getting to be about planting time for gardens and such, is there anything people should know about the upcoming planting season?
Definitely! We are trying to get the word out to our customers and friends that the much loved impatiens plants are dying and will not recover. They should not be planted this year and the future does not look bright. They have been affected by downy mildew, which is a disease that lives in the soil and is airborne. So, even though plants may look healthy, they will not survive the summer because they will be affected by neighboring plants. We have a flyer in our shop to explain further if anyone is interested please stop by and pick one up. The good news is there are plenty of alternatives that will do well in the same garden environments and are not affected by the disease at all.
What kinds of plants and flowers are the most popular at Barlow’s and what grows best around the Jersey Shore?
Most gardens do well with rhododendrons, azaleas, roses, and many evergreens. The most popular shrub is hydrangea. There are beautiful hybrid varieties now in gorgeous shades but always blue is the favorite. Crepe Myrtle does very well close to the beach and is extremely popular for late season color. In the flower category it’s all about pansies now but as soon as the weather warms geraniums, begonias, petunias and flowering vinca are most wanted along with all of the colorful Proven Winner plants.
Barlow’s does more in the community than just keep it pretty with flowers. Can you talk about of the other community efforts the business is involved in?
We are extremely grateful to have been a part of this community for so many years. The second generation is now carrying on traditions of giving that has always been part of the culture. This Friday night, March 8, is the WFEE (Wall Foundation for Educational Excellence) that is hosted in the greenhouse. It is the largest fundraiser of the year for them. We donate the space and provide decorations and support. Stephen serves on the board.
Stephen also educates all of the second grade classes in Wall about “How plants Grow” on their annual trip to Barlow’s each fall.
Barlow’s also supports local fundraisers, schools and hospital organizations, Algonquin and Spring Lake theaters through donations and journal advertising. The major organization that we support however is the Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean. In 2012, we received the Humanitarian of the Year award for our longstanding relationship with the organization.
What is it about Wall Township that made you keep your business
here for so long?
Who can top the Jersey Shore to live and work? We are so blessed to have been able to build a garden center at this location and we love what we do. I speak for the family and for the staff. We all work very hard but have a beautiful product, a great community and wonderful customers.
Our farm is on 5.6 acres. We use every inch of property for our greenhouses and garden center. It would not be feasible today to find property of that size that is affordable enough to operate a business like this. Unfortunately, it is a fact that there will not be new independent garden centers opening in our state because of the price of land and the amount of land required.