Saturday, February 10, 2007

Millions of Flowers

When the trees are bare during the winter months, I have a front porch view of steam rising from the largest greenhouse in the United States, right here in Huntersville. It's not that close to my house and I used zoom to get this photo. If the wind is blowing in the right direction, I can hear the heaters running on cold winter nights.


Metrolina Greenhouses is a family owned and operated company that employs more than six hundred people. The company opened in 1972 with a half-acre greenhouse and since then, has expanded to a modern facility covering 112 acres. Seventy company-owned trucks leave the greenhouses daily to deliver hanging baskets, annuals, and perennials to Lowe’s home stores, Walmarts, grocery stores, Home Depot stores, and others, as far north to Atlantic City, New Jersey and as far south to Georgia. The volume of flowers they produce from cuttings shipped overnight from Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Africa is incredible. Each year, nearly three million poinsettias and four million mums leave Huntersville for delivery at your favorite store. Click on the link above and view one of the news station video clips located on the left side of the page to see how this fascinating operation works.


It’s cool to know that the flat of impatiens you’ll purchase might have come from the view from my front porch.


A garden party. "Pass the seeds, please."


The Goldfinches have discovered the thistle. They’re obsessed with it!


They don’t seem to mind my presence but I do want to add a few feeders closer to the house. I’m using full zoom to get the action at my feeders. Those Carolina Chickadees do mind my presence. I saw one fly to the feeder at lightning speed and make a u-turn in mid-flight. When they arrive at the feeders, they don’t stay long, either. It’s a “steal and run” operation, all day long.


This is the result of my sighting on the way back from the nail salon this morning. I punched the gas to make a quick turnaround into a parking lot to get this shot. After three photos, I realized that if I could get back on the road and pull over, I’d be much closer. So I did that. Slid the car onto a grassy shoulder, got out, and ran across the road. Before I could raise my camera, he was gone. I know it's a hawk but I can't name it.


Anonymous said...

Ohhhh, greenhouses - I love greenhouses! I didn't know you lived so close to this large operation - how cool. Thanks for telling us about it!
I love all of your bewd photos again today. It's nice to see them at your feeders!
The bewds are always flying away on me, too! I have a great appreciation for bird photographers who do that for a living.

dmmgmfm said...

That is really awesome! Such a good story Mary. I loved it.

I also love that you park in non-parking spaces to take photos. I do that too and just recently pulled over on the interstate, scaled the fence and was in the middle of a field when a highway patrolman stopped. He wasn't very impressed with my reason for stopping and I never did get the shot I wanted. :(

Susan Gets Native said...

Jeez..the pressure.
Mary, did this hawk have a dark, streaky belly band?
My first impression is that it is a fairly dark red-tailed.
At least you can tell that it is a buteo, versus an accipiter.
(Look that up in your bird book)

Damn, that's a big greenhouse!
Laurie's comment cracked me up. I can see her cavorting across a field with a cop watching! LOL!

Anonymous said...

Love the huge greenhouse (WOW look at its size)!! Love all the birds you saw today and I agree with susan that this does look very much like a Red-tailed Hawk!

Jayne said...

What a mammoth operation, that greenhouse! I'll bet working in there would keep a smile on one's face for how could it not being surrounded by zillions of flowers??? :c)

Anonymous said...

The lighting effects in your goldfinch pictures are lovely. That is one big greenhouse operation. I really haven't given much thought to where our local stores get their flowers from.

Mary said...

Pam, I could never do this for a living. It's both enjoyable and very frustrating. The pressure would kill me :)

Laurie, I got a mental picture of that cop approaching you and laughed out loud!

Susan, I learned something. Buteo's are short-tailed hawks that capture rodents, etc. Accipitators have longer tails and catch birds in flight. Although I couldn't see the breast/belly of this hawk before he flew off, I think it's a red-tailed hawk, too, since they are the most common along roadsides. Did I pass the test?

Mon@rch, thanks for your ID. I agree.

Jayne, I sincerely thought about putting an application for hire there - trying to break away from over thirty years of the office drag.

Ruth, I'll try to get closer. They are easy to photograph.