By Cort Smith
“If you have an idea for something, bring it in and we’ll figure out how to make it,” says Paul Molzon, who with brothers Gerald and Mark are the owners of Molzon Garden Center in Lincroft.
That’s how it works here during the holiday season, though it’s fine to arrive without even knowing what you want.
Molzon’s makes their own roping, grave blankets, and topiary baskets. The latter are stuffed with evergreens to which are added cones and various decorative tidbits – perfect for outdoor porches, says Paul. And, while Molzon’s doesn’t make their own wreaths, they custom decorate them. “We custom decorate almost everything,” says Paul, nothing that a staff of three makes sure, by virtue of respective creative talents, that no two are alike but “all unique, and very nice.”
What’s nice too is that, unlike many stores that use in wreath making picks or hot glue to affix glass balls or bows, Molzon’s wires everything on, “So it’s very sturdy.”
What’s big at Molzon’s this holiday season?
The Christmas trees, of course, and a special tree stand (we’ll get to that). But the amaryllis, paperwhites, and poinsettias need special mention first. There are new colors and new varieties of poinsettias, notes Paul, in sizes ranging from 2-inches – “perfect as little gifts or for your desk or small mantel piece” – up to huge 10-inchers with 20 brackets on them. They’re easy to take care of – just keep them away from cold drafts – and not at all poisonous. “That’s an old wives’ tale,” he says.
Molzon’s custom-makes all their own centerpieces and are especially proud of their cut boxwood trees, each set in a plant oasis. Longer 16- to 18-inch pieces are ideal for the center of a long table.
“We have ladies who bring in a special dish, Lennox or some glass dish that they like to use, and we’ll make a centerpiece right in that,” Paul said. A “normal size” boxwood runs about $69; centerpieces range from $19.99 up to $49.99 or $59.99.
Paul expects the Gift Barn to again be a popular spot this holiday season. Located in one of the barns behind the greenhouse it holds Christmas lights, Christmas gnomes, nativity scenes, “funny little signs,” and a variety of small items Paul deems ideal as “stocking stuffers or gifts around the tree.” Gift Barn prices range from $2 to about $50.
Holiday visitors can also stop in the greenhouse – one side is enclosed to thwart bad weather – for hot chocolate and cookies, before heading outside to the lot where there’s a roaring wood fire – and a whole lot of Christmas trees.
There are two types: Fraser firs – “Great fragrance, great needle retention, nice shape, nice color, good to hang ornaments on,” Paul notes – and Noble firs. Molzon’s sells mainly Frasers, trucked in from the mountains of North Carolina. Most are 6 to 8 feet in height (there are smaller ones) and range in price from $65 to about $85.
While there are Frasers in the 12-foot range, Paul recommends calling first for availability. The Noble fir – “not blue but not real dark green either, has a layered look” – come from the West Coast. Paul only orders 20 or 30, around 8 feet; they sell out quickly and cost approximately $120.
If you want a frustration-proof tree stand solution, consider Molzon’s Stand Straight System. On the lot they use a tapered drill to drill a hole in the bottom center of the tree, and set it on the stand. “Good quality, easy setup, trees are always straight, big water dish underneath it,” Paul explains. “It does eliminate a lot of argument later on.” The cost is $49.99, for up to a 10-foot tree (larger stands are available).
Molzon Landscape Nursery Inc. was started as a landscape design/build firm in 1982, launched by Gerald Molzon after graduating college with a degree in ornamental horticulture. Gerald is “the landscape design guy who runs our crew,” explains Paul. Paul, armed with a business degree, came onboard two years after Gerald and created the Garden Center. A few years later Mark joined his brothers in a family business whose loyal repeat customers are among the many they see during the holiday season each year.
Molzon Garden Center is located at 140 Middletown-Lincroft Road, and can be reached by calling 732-741-9098 or at www.molzons.com.