She won't miss working every day, frying in the hot Georgia sun, worrying about the lack of rain or finding strangers wandering about her 30 acres after hours. But she will miss her regular customers, the 100 or so people she lovingly calls "the plant junkies" who frequent Thyme After Thyme almost as often as Kroger or Publix.
Since she decided to close her Winterville plant nursery, Sally Barksdale has been seeing about 200 customers a day. They tell her they are distressed she's closing, thank her for 25 years of dispensing advice and selling plants and then proceed to stock up on plants, compost, tools and other gardening items.
"The economy and the weather have been brutal the last few years," she said. "I'm going to move on, have a life again and have a day off."
Customer Lin Coppedge said she moved to a while ago to a home near Sandy Creek and planned to put in a shade garden this fall. The nursery's closing has sent her plans into overdrive. She was busy Tuesday, selecting shade-loving plants and a fountain for her garden.
"They're wonderful here," she said. "I'm sorry they're closing."
Besides Barksdale and her husband Patrick, the nursery employs 10 other people on a part-time basis, about 30 hours a week. They, too, will be on to other activities once the inventory is sold.
UGA employee Pam Kirby was at the nursery on Tuesday during her lunch hour. She had come on Monday as well, she said, to take advantage of the deep discount in plant prices. With a 10-acre hobby farm in Jackson County, Kirby was buying all kinds of plants for her gardens there.
"I haven't been here regularly," she said. "But that 50 percent off offer brought me in."