As the flakes flew during the February 8 blizzard, many North Forkers stared out their windows to watch more than a foot of snow fill their driveways.
Anne Trimble and Nancy Leskody had a different perspective from the second floor of their home next to the nursery they own on Main Road in Cutchogue. All they could see was a blanket of snow growing thicker atop their 40-year-old greenhouse.
“It just kept snowing and snowing and snowing,” Ms. Leskody said. “It got very heavy. Then it buckled and came crashing down.”
The greenhouse at Trimble’s of Corchaug Nursery was one of a handful to fall on the North Fork during the blizzard — and among more than 250 in the Northeast to collapse, according to reports.
The weight of the snow was just too much for the older, gutter-connected aluminum-framed greenhouse to handle.
“Because of the way it collapsed, it was still partially standing,” Ms. Trimble said.
While no plants were damaged, Trimble’s did lose benches, pots and shelving. The storm also destroyed their PA system.
Ms. Leskody said the toughest part of the ordeal was losing a space that she viewed as both an office and a sanctuary.
“That was my work space,” she said. “I was definitely emotionally connected to it. It was bittersweet.”
Bitter because the structure was the only one remaining from when Ms. Trimble and Ms. Leskody bought the business in 1991. Sweet because it will be replaced with a new, more energy-efficient greenhouse.
That structure will be 3,000 square feet, less than half the size of the original, but will feature a stronger steel frame with a clear front panel enabling passersby to see the inventory from the roadway.
The new greenhouse will serve more as a retail showroom than as a growing space. Most of the stock will continue to be grown in smaller “cold houses” at the nursery.
Ms. Trimble said she expects the entire process of taking down the old greenhouse and building the new one to take between six and eight weeks. It’s expected to be ready soon after Trimble’s reopens for the season March 25.
That’s good news for customers who feared the nursery might close when they saw the old structure collapse.
“When people are calling, saying, ‘Please stay in business,’ that really affects you,” Ms. Leskody said. “We don’t plan on closing for a long time.”