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  • Writer's pictureStephen D'Agostino

At Least It’s Spring at Reading Greenhouse

Last week, I rejoiced over the countless shades of green we see at this time of the year. I probably shouldn’t have been so enthusiastic. Early May: 50 shades of green. Mid-May: one shade of white.

Snow in May is nothing new. I’m sure we all remember measurable snow (three inches up here on the hill) last May 14, and I recall at least one Mother’s Day while I was a kid in Massachusetts with snow covering the grass. This year, it just seems cruel. I am happy that my flowers, including my bud-heavy Iceland Poppies, have pulled through.

Last Saturday, Bill and I had planned to get out of the house for a ride. As our time of departure neared, we were treated to a snow squall and whipping winds. Defeated, I suggested we just stay home. Bill reminded me that once we got off the hill, things would look different, and I would feel differently.

And he was right! The field bordered by Jenne Road and Whitmore Circle was lightly dusted, at best. Oh, and richly green. May, though I don’t appreciate this weather, seeing that vernal beauty almost made me forgive you.

We happened upon a nursery in the western part of the state and wandered into their greenhouse. We were the only fauna among the flora, which included hundreds of herbs, a few vegetables, and a great many dahlias, offering the only deviation in color under the glass ceiling. Expecting beautiful blooms as on offset to a chilly day, I was disappointed.

Hoping for a redo and because we needed layer pellets for our chickens, we went to Reading Greenhouse. We walked through their namesake structures with masks on and fogged-up glasses off, dodged other people as we would bees, and roamed among the flowers. What a delight! Hats off to Scott and his crew for reminding us that, snow and cold aside, it is still spring.

The Reading Greenhouse has changed its hours and purchase procedures. You still need to wear a mask, and employees will be, too. Also, as I mentioned, there were other people in the greenhouse. The total was seven. That’s fewer than the 10 allowed in these structures at one time. For produce and non-greenhouse products and to see their new operating procedures, visit their website (

We'll have to head back soon. Not only to marvel at the plants but to buy the layer pellets that we forgot to buy last time we were there.

Seeing all that color at the Reading Greenhouse has me dreaming Technicolor daydreams. I can’t wait until my flowers begin to bloom, and I'm able to plant begonias, petunias, and other annuals. I’m excited to feel what the sun in mid-spring should feel like. Come on already, May!

An area of town that doesn’t look vernal right now is Puddledock Park. In fact, it's rather brown. And that’s okay. Every time I see it, I marvel at how level it is. Gordy Eastman deserves credit for a job well done in flattening the land and removing the slab from sight. I spoke with Annie Rubright about the next steps for the Puddledock Park project. By the time this column is printed, David Goodhouse (the son, or D2 as he is called) will have applied fertilizer, lime, and grass seed. Gordy has gone over the ground (or will shortly) one more time. Then members of the Green Spaces Committee will put down some mulch hay and put up posts and tape to keep the area protected as it gets a gorgeous new green lawn.

It'll be nice to have the Puddledock Park back. Now we have to cross our fingers that things regarding the pandemic settle and that folks will be able to use the space and feel comfortable doing so.

Of course, we’re still in the pandemic. The state has relaxed some of the rules regarding outdoor activity, just in case spring ever shows up. The Vermont Department of Health has information about the revised guidelines. They are available as a download from the department’s coronavirus page, The page refers to the guidelines as “small steps,” but they are steps, regardless. That’s progress and some hope.

The pandemic and its economic implications are far from over. If you need financial assistance, check out the Woodstock Area Relief Fund: COVID-19 website ( to learn how to apply for assistance. If you want to donate to the fund, you can do so at the website as well. Also, don’t forget the Reading-West Windsor Food Shelf is there for you as well. The food shelf is located at 3456 Tyson Road and is open on Mondays from 2pm to 4pm and on Thursdays from 4pm to 6pm. Food basics are boxed up and ready for curbside pickup.

Cleaning up a loose end, I got an email asking about the Reading Safari. I realized I never mentioned in my column who the winners of that fun event were.

The Reading Recreation Commission randomly chose a winner from the nearly 20 people who requested ballots. The winner of the $25 gift certificate to the Reading Greenhouse was Mandi Potter. The winner of the gift certificate to Watroba’s General Store for putting out animals for the safari was Brooke Herter James. A repeated and belated thank you to everyone who participated.

That’s the news from Reading! See you next week!

Don’t forget to send me story ideas for The Reading Review. My contact info is below.

Stephen is a writer, gardener, baker, and owner of Strataco Marketing. He is on the board of directors of the Reading Historical Society, the Reading Recreation Commission, and the Reading Green Spaces Committee, and the board of trustees for the Ottauquechee Health Foundation. You can reach him at, at 917-859-0238, or on Twitter @stephendag.

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