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Missing Annie

To the editor:

If you’ve stopped by the Hhott House recently, you might have noticed a familiar face is missing. I am writing this letter to say “thank you” to Ann Costigan for all she did to take care of our plant and garden needs in Saranac Lake and surrounding communities. For many years throughout each season, Ann was the warm, helpful and knowledgeable person customers sought out for sage advice on plant and garden tips and techniques.

As manager of the HH, Ann took the time to address each question patiently, helping each person discover appropriate solutions. Just a few of the thousands of questions follow: How much water do I give this? How much light does my plant need? How do I deal with the deer eating my garden? How do I start a veggie garden? A flower garden? Which tree, bush or vine will grow best in my sunny/shady yard? or the $64,000 question, “What am I doing wrong?”

Perhaps you were one of the customers who benefitted from her horticultural capabilities, which she shared readily. Today it is time to say thanks to Ann for answering all our questions. The advice you gave helped empower us to grow our own plants both indoors and outdoors successfully.

I was fortunate to have worked at the HH with Ann as my boss. Her patience was unending, and her calm demeanor served beautifully as program clients were trained in all the ins and outs of starting seeds to cutting evergreens for holiday wreaths. All of this transpired in a warm, caring and safe workplace.

I left the HH in May 2020 as a personal caution during the spreading COVID crisis. During that 2020 growing season, Ann and her remaining staff worked diligently under challenging circumstances to handle the record number of people who showed up wanting to start home gardens of flowers and food for their families. During that entire year, Ann and her dedicated staff helped guide more customers than ever before. Thanks to all of you for introducing them to the wonderful rewards of gardening and instructing families in a new skill they will carry through life.

All of the workforce under Ann Costigan’s leadership have made a huge impact on our local area. Ann kept the greenhouse running for over 20 years with limited resources and minimal staffing. People from Vermont to Watertown journeyed to the HH, telling us, “I just love it here!” Ann’s vision and dedication were key to this level of loyalty.

Welcome to Lou Reuter, who will be stepping up as the new manager. Lou is already a friendly face to many of the regular HH patrons. Those who haven’t met him yet can stop by and say hello to him at the greenhouse or you may find him out in the nursery where he loves to spend his time talking about trees and shrubs.

We will miss you, Annie. Thanks for taking care of so many, so well for so long. Wishing you the best in your new endeavors.

Sharon O’Brien

Saranac Lake

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