I write this letter to thank the many people who, for over forty years, worked at Green Jay Greenhouse, making it more than a greenhouse. It was almost a social centre, an oasis of graciousness.
When Rudy and Irmgard Jurke created Green Jay, I did not know them very well. I grew to consider Irmgard a person of mentorship ability. I do remember, however, a time when with a small sigh she said, “Sometimes I wish Rudy didn’t have so many ideas!”
I’d known Rudy since my late teens. He was one of those one-room schoolhouse students who decided to stay in the community and benefit the life around them.
I got to know him better when he and I, Jim Oliver, Ronald Rackham and John Sydoryk were picked to be a committee to get Lloydminster raw sewage out of the Big Gully Creek. When Rudy put his hand to the plow, he sure finished the furrow.
They designed the greenhouse to be basic and simple. The customer didn’t have to pay for a carriage-trade building. People came from many miles to buy plants. I had only 20 some miles and was often the first customer each spring. Oh, I wasn’t there to buy yet, just to look and sniff the air. (Last year the greenhouse seemed to have an extra glorious display.) If I was ever short of anything, I’d phone and the staff would set the item aside. Many times I’d hand in a note to say how new plants had done for me the year before.
Often, if I was there at coffee break, I’d be called over to join the staff at tables where well-thumbed garden magazines were laying. One never knew who might be there, sometimes someone I’d not seen for years.
I don’t think it would have been many years before a sign could have gone up and acknowledged 50 years of service to the gardening community
I miss Green Jay this spring; I will continue to miss it. The pretty yard where the Jurkes did not cut down the native trees but added to the setting with evergreens, the staff, the familiar surroundings, the fun of seeing what was new, the pleasure of being able to get tried-and-true. And the roominess!
I shall miss the atmosphere that came through even when I knew, over time, there were some problems. These never eclipsed the graciousness.
So, a part of my life, a part of the lives of many others, is gone.
Human beings seem fond of saying, “All good things must end.”
Again, thank you to the staff through the years. The latest one, well we might run into one another when we are greenhouse-hopping, and we’ll say hello, how are you.