It’s springtime and that means gardening time.

Sunnyside Gardens, the locally owned garden center, greenhouse and nursery, will celebrate the season this weekend with a spring sale at its new location in Ammon.

After 32 years at its old location on Sunnyside Road between Channing Lane and South 25th East, Sunnyside Gardens moved further up the road, into Ammon.

The acreage of the new property, located at 3240 E. Sunnyside Road, is smaller than the old one but with more building square footage, according to Sunnyside Gardens owner Aaron McCracken

It has a 4,000-square-foot retail store and a 9,000-square-foot retail greenhouse, which is larger than the two retail greenhouses at the old location.

The 5.2-acre lot has eight production greenhouses.

“It’s a smaller footprint, but the way we’ve got it laid out we’ve got a little bit more space,” McCracken said. “We still produce all our own plants here, grown on-site.”

McCracken, 41, said his father, Kevin McCracken, who opened Sunnyside Gardens after working as a manager for the former Garden Mart, retired last year and passed the business on to him.

“We purchased this and moved here so he could sell (the old) property,” McCracken said. “When we first started out there we were in the middle of farmers’ fields. It’s definitely grown up around us. It was beginning to be a little bit hard to get in and out.”

The new store has administrative offices and a classroom, where Sunnyside Gardens will host gardening classes.

Diane Dickinson, 78, and Tim Dickinson, 79, of Ammon, were shopping at Sunnyside Gardens on Tuesday. The Dickinsons live near the new location, and they visited the store for the first time, after watching construction in recent months.

“It’s beautiful, nice, very well laid out,” said Diane Dickenson, who was shopping for herbs and house plants. “It’s fun to walk through and see the different plants.”

The greenhouse is full of young plants, ready to be bought and planted in private gardens. Sunnyside Gardens is approaching its busiest time of year.

“Traditional planting weekend in Idaho Falls is Memorial Day weekend,” McCracken said. “We have most of our greenhouses empty by middle of June.”

Behind the scenes, Sunnyside Gardens cultivates plants in two ways. Sixty percent of the plants are already germinated, and the other 40 percent are grown from seeds.

The business’s top sellers are tomato plants and petunias; both are “annuals,” meaning they can’t survive Idaho winters and new ones have to be planted in the spring.

Idaho Falls has a rich gardening history, McCracken said, with a lot of “do-it-yourselfers.”

“We’ve been very thankful for the loyal customers that we’ve had,” he said. “It’s been a great business for a lot of years.”

McCracken, a home gardener himself, said he likes what the activity does to people.

“There’s something about being out, working with the plants,” he said. “It puts you in a good mood. Our customers are happy, and it seems like when you’re beautifying the area around you. It just makes everybody happier. It’s very rewarding that way.”

Sunnyside Gardens’ 33rd spring sale is Friday and Saturday. There will be several promotions, including sales on pottery and systemic tree and shrub drench applications. Additionally, customers who spend $50 or more will receive an Easter egg with extra savings and prizes.

“We do our grand opening sale at a time when we have most of our product is here and ready for people to see,” McCracken said. “It’s a chance for people to come in, see what we have to offer, see the new facility and then get excited about spring, which hopefully is going to be here pretty quick.”

According to weather.com, temperatures could hit 70 degrees this weekend in Idaho Falls.

Sunnyside Gardens is open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday. To contact the nursery, call 208-522-4660.

Reporter Ryan Suppe can be reached at 208-542-6762. Follow him on Twitter: @salsuppe.

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