Christmas is coming quickly, and Lewisboro residents know picking out that perfect tree is only a small part of getting ready. Our town is lucky to have some large full-service garden centers, including Copia Home and Garden in Vista hamlet and Gossett Brothers Nursery on Route 35 in South Salem. They provide an awe-inspiring array of hundreds of Christmas items, both for decorating and gift giving.
And Gossett Brothers offers something for the kids that is truly spectacular — a 20-foot soil pyramid rising majestically from the parking area of this family-owned business.
“OK, I admit this isn’t the real North Pole,” said Tom Gossett, owner of Gossett Brothers Nursery. “But over the years this has truly been one of those miraculous ‘if you build it, they will come’ kind of things,” he said. “The Gossett Brothers staff and I think our North Pole is magic!”“Magic” is a word that Jennifer and Peter Cipriano also use to describe December at their large garden center on Smith Ridge Road.
“There is nothing like seeing the families come in and pick out their Christmas trees and accessories,” Mr. Cipriano said. “The kids are so excited and you can see what a special time it is for everyone.”
North Pole in South Salem
The North Pole and its cousin Topsoil Mountain have been features of Gossett Brothers Nursery for 30 years. Essentially a very large pile of soil, the North Pole has a three-foot wide, kid-friendly footpath spiraling to the summit. At the top are two special delivery mailboxes, one “air mail” at the top of a telephone pole, apparently for the use of Santa’s flying reindeer.
Visitors may leave letters to Santa — all of which are answered.
“Our North Pole has become a local tradition,” Mr. Gossett said. “It’s an annual destination for families — children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins, and even the family dog.”
He said he and his staff especially love greeting “second-generation” visitors. “Parents who climbed the North Pole as kids are now bringing their kids to the nursery, so we get to see families grow over the years.”
Mr. Gossett said one reason for the North Pole’s enduring popularity is the fun of actually hiking to the top. “The proof is in the screeches of joy from kids who make it to the summit,” he said. “It’s great to see the wonder on a child’s face — or to see a teenager roll his eyes and then ‘give in’ and have fun like a little kid climbing to the top,” he said.
Mr. Gossett uses his imagination and his talent with large machinery to create the North Pole each year. While building it is pretty much a solo act, Mr. Gossett said that conjuring up holiday magic at the rest of the large nursery is a group effort.
“Our staff is a talented group,” he said. “We re-create Christmas on a large scale every year, using skilled artisans. Anyone who has ever visited us at this time of the year knows that every employee pitches in with their individual strengths and talents to give customers a special experience.”
Christmas offerings at Gossett Brothers abound. In addition to selling top-quality Fraser fir Christmas trees, Gossett Brothers offers a wide variety of plain and decorated wreaths, swags, and bunched greens.
Talented floral designers can create custom wreaths with the customer’s choice of varied trimmings. Fresh and dried holiday centerpieces are also a specialty. The greenhouse is packed with poinsettias, including many unusual varieties, as well as amaryllis, cyclamen and paperwhite bulbs. Customers may also freshen up their outdoor containers with hardy shrubs like juniper and cypress. Many of the decorative and gift items carried at Gossett Brothers are in its Cottage Antiques shop, which offers them by the hundreds.
Christmas tree ornaments, small to large artificial trees, Christmas villages, jewelry, candles, books, table centerpieces, and a host of decorative accessories fill the delightful shop. If stepping inside Cottage Antiques doesn’t put you in the Christmas spirit, you might have to put yourself in the category of Grinch.
Gossett Brothers is located on Route 35 near the South Salem firehouse. It is open daily from 9 to 5 and hosts a farmers’ market every Saturday from 9 to 1 year-round.
For information: 914-763-3001.
Copia has it all
“I can honestly say that the Christmas items we carry here offer one-stop shopping for residents who want to decorate their home beautifully for the holidays and maybe pick up a few gifts, especially for kids,” said Peter Cipriano, owner of Copia Home and Garden on Smith Ridge Road (Route 123) in Vista hamlet.
Mr. Cipriano said he carries so many beautiful decorative items that Christmas trees have almost become a secondary item for some shoppers.
“But they are here and of the finest quality,” he said. “We offer the popular Fraser fir, balsam, Douglas fir, and a limited number of blue spruce and Noble fir. Sizes range from three to four feet on up to 12 to 14 feet. All of our trees are very fresh and come from Pennsylvania, the Carolinas and Canada.”
Mr. Cipriano said the Fraser fir has become the top tree in our area.
“They are beautiful and symmetrical with very sturdy branches for hanging ornaments,” he said. “They also tend to stay fresh for a good period of time. If you buy a Fraser and water it properly, it will be good from the beginning of December into early January.”
Copia also carries balled and burlapped Norway, Serbian, and blue spruce for those who want a live tree that can be planted outside after the holidays. “We will deliver them and set them up in the customer’s home and can do the planting after the holidays are over,” Mr. Cipriano said.
Mr. Cipriano also offers specialized services to customers who elect to buy the traditional cut tree. “We will put it in a stand — either yours or ours — and deliver it to your home,” he said. “If you like, one of our designers will decorate it fully to your specifications and tastes.”
In addition to trees, both fresh and artificial, Copia offers a broad array of other Christmas items. A sampling includes ornaments; floral, holly, and berry arrangements; potted trees, both plain and decorated; table decorations; handmade stockings; poinsettias, orchids and cyclamen; roping, swags, garland, and wreathing — all plain or lavishly decorated.
Copia also carries birdhouses and an assortment of craft gifts for children. “It’s good for them to get away from electronics every once in a while,” Mr. Cipriano said.
Delicious jellies, jams, chutneys, and local honey and cooking spices are on display, and gift certificates are always available.
“We are extremely busy at this time of the year but we love it,” Mr. Cipriano said. “We want to make residents’ experience here a family tradition. Copia in Latin means ‘abundance,’ and that’s what we want to provide.”
“Come every weekend and enjoy roasted chestnuts and hot cocoa while you shop. Visit our story time with Mrs. Claus with the kids. And we have two more of our Ladies Night holiday decorating classes coming up, on Friday, Dec. 7, and Saturday, Dec. 8, at 7 p.m. The final ones are making a boxwood topiary tree with fresh-cut boxwood in a decorative container that can be enjoyed over the holidays and all winter long. Class fee is $45.”
For information on store hours, the classes and items carried by Copia for the holidays, call 914-533-7242 or visit facebook.com/copiahomeandgarden.