Sunday, December 14, 2003

Families seek the perfect tree



By Marie McCain
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[IMAGE] Barkley Barnes (center), a worker at Sayer's Greenhouse & Garden Center's tree lot in Montgomery, assists John Finocharo (right) his wife, Valerie Taylor, and daughter Jane, 9, as they pick out their Christmas tree Saturday.
(Ernest Coleman photo)
Hundreds of Greater Cincinnati residents braved Saturday's biting cold in search of the perfect Christmas tree.

John Finocharo, his wife, Valerie Taylor, and their children wasted no time Saturday picking out their tree, at a lot next to Pipkins Garden Center along Cooper Road in Montgomery.

Huddling together, the family watched with anticipation while workers for Sayer's Greenhouse & Garden Center prepared their more than 6-foot evergreen tree for transport.

"I would say that last Saturday and today are the busiest days for tree sales," said Don Sayer, owner of the Sharonville-based garden center, which runs the Cooper Road site.

At Frank's Nursery & Crafts in Eastgate, manager Tiffany Caseltine said sales of both live and artificial trees were brisk.

"I think mid-December is the busiest time for this," she said.

TREE FARMS
The Enquirer's annual list of area tree farms.
Jim Montague, owner of the Fairfield-based Lakeview Garden Center and Landscaping, said only about 40 trees remain from the 300 he'd stocked for the season.

Both Sayer and Montague have noticed increased demand this year for trees taller than 8 feet, which they attribute to the trend new homes built with higher ceilings.

Sayer, who has sold Christmas trees for 30 years, stocks four varieties: Douglas and Fraser firs, and white and Scotch pines.

Montague said he stocks only Fraser. The Fraser fir holds up the best, while the Douglas fir smells the best, Sayer said.

At Sayer's trees start at $25 and go past $100.

At Lakeview, trees cost between $44 and $105.

Frank's live trees range from $20 to $30. Artificial trees can cost up to $300.

E-mail mmccain@enquirer.com




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