Walking away from her happy place two years ago was one of the hardest things Michele DeVito, owner of Colorful Gardens in Jamesport, N.Y., had to do.
“My husband passed away in April of 2017,” DeVito said. “In July 2017, right after our large July 4th sale [at Colorful Gardens], I closed because I had to get life in order and deal with the estate and go through all the motions.”
After working for the past few years at East End Cardiology, DeVito decided it was time to return to her roots.
“When we closed, it was a hard thing to do, but we had to do it,” said DeVito. “But I needed to go back to my happy place.”
DeVito said it wasn’t that she was unhappy working at East End Cardiology, but her passion was back at the garden center.
“I thought it was time,” DeVito said. “I have great, great workers and help from the people that are up at the garden center with me, so I thought let's try it and see where it goes.”
Former staff also flocked back to Colorful Gardens upon DeVito’s return, and DeVito says it resembles more of a big, happy family these days.
“Manuel [Canel] a close family friend and one of the gentlemen who had been at the garden center many years, has become my other partner,” DeVito said. “They [staff] are all family. It has become one big communal family working together.”
DeVito said because of how late in the season Colorful Gardens opened, that it is focusing on its core plants which include herbs, vegetables, annuals, perennials, hanging baskets and more.
“This year we opened the Friday before Mother's Day because I was going back and forth on if we were opening [our doors] or not,” DeVito said.
DeVito also hopes to bring back Colorful Gardens community seminars soon.
“I look forward to bringing back our free seminars which were on all different topics such as container gardening, yoga in the garden and more,” said DeVito. “It would be great to bring them back for the community. People would come in for the seminars on a Saturday morning, get some information and then meander around the garden center.”
The community has also been ecstatic that Colorful Gardens has reopened its doors, said DeVito.
“It has been such an outpouring of love and they are so happy that we have reopened,” said DeVito. “We hear it all the time. Everyone has been wonderful, and it has been very heartfelt.”