Island couple put a new face on Goose and Garden
Heather and Harold “Turtle” Hatfield have recently pooled their interests, skills and resources to lease the Goose and Garden nursery, located off Beacon Hill Road, which they plan to open in April.
Heather, who is passionate about putting in gardens for herself and others, has extensive experience in the world of gardening. Turtle, who owns Islandscape, Inc., a landscaping business he founded and incorporated in 2000, said his role in the new family enterprise is cleaning, maintenance, clearing overgrowth, repairing fences and greenhouses and designing the layout — all part of an effort to spruce up the place for the anticipated opening. They are leasing the property from Henry duPont and Barbara MacMullan.
He said the rest is in Heather’s capable hands, and it is clear she enthusiastically embraces the idea and the work, immediately explaining that she has begun to nurture seedlings in the greenhouse this year. On a March day that is anything but spring-like, she is transplanting many of these “little plugs” into somewhat larger containers making up trays of tiny but colorful annuals.
She speaks of plans in different stages of realization: she’ll start all vegetables and annuals from seed, expand a large garden plot that will someday serve as a pick-your-own produce area and make available as many varieties of annuals and perennials, shrubs and trees that people on island may wish to purchase. Heather acknowledges that planning their inventory is something of a balancing act between anticipating and not quite knowing at first what customers will want.
Some plans are still in the idea stage. Turtle has just begun clearing space behind the greenhouses in the hope it may someday serve as a Christmas tree farm. However, not wishing to compete with the Block Island Fire Department’s annual tree sale, he has already contacted them to say if and when his dream materializes, the island nursery would like to be one of the department’s sources.
Putting down roots
Heather and Turtle spent their first full year on island from 1996 to 1997, and the greenhouse soon became familiar space to Heather, who first worked there in the late 1990s while duPont and MacMullan operated the nursery. She later worked for John Whitaker, who also leased the nursery around eight years ago.
That was shortly before the couple married — at “Second Bluff.” With the island clearly meant to be their home, Heather and Turtle put down stakes here and have become an integral part of the community. They are the parents of two young sons, Blaize, six and in the first grade, and 4-year-old Chase, who his father says is “a senior in preschool.”
Fitted into their business plans, Heather and Turtle are allotting space in the greenhouse for the children to play in — they have even dragged in a huge cardboard box which the boys can inhabit or play and curl up in. Part of their wish is to have their sons close by, but another part is that the children will come to love the nursery as much as their parents do and will grow up working there, as well.
They are hoping their neighbors and friends on the island will acquaint themselves with the new look of Goose and Garden when the nursery opens in April — with the specific date to be announced.
Those wishing more information about the nursery should contact Heather at (401) 464-1632 and those interested in landscaping should contact Turtle at (401) 932-7979.