Four times a year, they transform the home and garden store as each season transitions into the next. Last month, Christmas and Valentine’s Day gave way to Easter and spring, and not just the decorations. All of the floors and walls were painted in pastel colors with inspirational quotes stenciled in them.
Easter is March 27 this year. Dragonfly Farms once again will host a free Easter egg hunt, this year on March 19. Last year’s event had 600 kids, James said.
The center’s big spring kick off will be a month later, on April 23, with workshops, kids’ activities and unveiling what is new this spring. The plan is to bring the community together during their open house. That day, Dragonfly Farms will launch its fourth annual Leave No Child Inside program, which is designed to give children experience planting and tending to a garden.
“We are trying to create a healthy society,” James said. “When kids plant it and grow it, they have a different appreciation for it. If they plant it and reap it, they may just try it.”
It is all part of the staff’s vision to make Dragonfly Farms more than just a garden center. James said the Kuser Road business, instead, is “a place where beauty begins,” and a “one-stop shop for home décor and gardening needs.” In addition to home décor, they have a full line of jewelry and scarves as well as air plants and, as of last year, a Wingz gift shop.
“A lot pf people might not have a need for a garden center,” James said. “They don’t realize we have so much here. We try to be different with the atmosphere we create. We provide an environment that is peaceful. A lot of customers who have a bad day come here to be cherished.”
James started working for the owners 21 years ago in New York. She moved to the area a decade ago when Dragonfly Farms opened.
“I’m the one who steers the ship,” she said. “I love it. I enjoy it. I am fortunate to work in a place 21 years, and I still love it. That is a blessing that comes with it. We’ve come to know our customers on a personal level. I hate paperwork. I like to talk to my customers.”
Helping the community is very important to her. Dragonfly Farms fundraises for schools, among other community groups.
“The community has to survive in order for the businesses to survive,” James said. “You have to appreciate what you have, then you can appreciate what else comes to you.”
She really enjoys creating memories for her customers. Last month, Dragonfly Farms hosted a Daddy and Daughter date night for 61 pairs. Dragonfly Farms didn’t make a profit on it, but it was worthwhile for James.
At one point, they had a contest where they asked each of couple 10 questions about each other.
“We had three perfect scores,” James said. “We had the dads do a dance off [for the one grand prize]. It was priceless to see the dads. For me, that memory is a different feeling than the money.”
Dragonfly Farms hosts other family-friendly events throughout the year, such as the annual Dolly and Me Tea Party to be held in May.
New this year is a fairy garden, which highlights their theme “Think Big, Plan Small.” The fairy garden will also be transformed throughout the year and be the centerpiece for fairy gardens.
In the room next to the fairy garden, Marnie Kelly teaches monthly “Paint a Treasure” classes where she guides people to create paintings. The program is also available as a fundraiser for area organizations.
“We are growing,” James said. “So many people in Hamilton do not know we exist. It still amazes me. We are still being discovered. Once they come in, we know they are going to come back. Our customers are selling us.”
Dragonfly Farms is located at 966 Kuser Road in Hamilton. Phone: (609) 588-0013. Web: dragonflyfarmsnj.com.