COLUMBIA — While Columbia residents rejoiced in Tuesday's warmth and sunshine, employees at Helmi’s Gardens also capitalized on the weather — even though they've spent all winter in the greenhouse's perpetual summer.
"People come in during the winter saying they just want to come in and smell the dirt," said Jeanne Clark, an industrial artist who uses the space as a studio.
Inside the greenhouse, the thermometer read 88 degrees Tuesday like it does year-round, but the warm weather allowed Helmi’s employees Jan Sapp and Jack Donovan to plant new flowers and vegetables, such as ruby red kale, that thrive in cool weather. They were also able to move some plants out to the unheated portion of the building.
Outside, the chickens and bees that call Helmi’s home took advantage of the warm weather. Clark said it was one of the first times the bees, farmed for their honey, had started to fly out of the hive.
Helmi's Gardens is also an art studio. Clark uses the space to create projects such as repurposed and vintage furniture.
"It’s nice energy," Clark said. "It’s a nice mix."