Have You Met Fred and Blue?

Published by Bucks Country Gardens in Bucks Country Gardens

At Bucks Country Gardens, we take pride in saying that we are more than just flowers, trees and landscaping. We’re also the place you think of first for patio furniture, indoor and outdoor home accents, women’s apparel and more. And although we have an extensive selection of bird seed, feeders, houses and supplies, how often do you think of us for birds…I mean, actual, living birds?

A trip to the garden center on any day is a feast for the eyes – so much to see, fantastic inspiration, great products to shop and daydream about… But, have you ever heard the occasional squawk or screech coming from our Greenhouse? Many of our long time customers excitedly stop into the Greenhouse to say “Hello” to our two feathered ambassadors – Fred, our parrot, and Blue, a macaw. If you haven’t met them before, a visit to the garden center is in order! These cheerful, vibrantly colored birds will surely brighten any gray, winter day. And take the kids. Oh, how kids of all ages love talking to the birds and waiting for them to respond (and yes, they respond!), but cover your ears when they squawk – boy, it can be loud!

Often, we are asked how they came to call Bucks Country Gardens home. The answer is a little trickier than I initially thought when I had set out to pen this blog. But first, a brief history about parrots. Parrots are a broad order of more than 350 birds including macaws, lorikeets, lovebirds and cockatoos. Although there are many differences among these birds, all parrots have curved beaks and four toes on each foot with two pointing forward and two projecting backward. Most parrots eat fruit, flowers, buds, nuts, seeds and insects. They are generally found in warm climates all over the world. Not a bad deal since the Groundhog just predicted six more weeks of winter!

Many parrots are kept as pets because they are intelligent, charismatic, colorful and musical. Some birds, including Fred and Blue, can imitate non-avian sounds like human speech. They can also live up to 80 years (wow!), 30–50 years for macaws. Speaking of macaws, they are known as the giants of the parrot world – both in size and in personality. They have long tail feathers and big beaks, which are quite powerful in order to crack open hard nuts and seeds. They also have big voices and attitudes. Colorful and often raucous, they call attention to themselves even when quiet but they also contain surprisingly soft and loving hearts.

While inquiring about how and when Fred and Blue came to live at the garden center, I’ve unearthed a few varying stories. First, we’ll start with Blue, the macaw. Many moons ago (the exact date is not known, but we speculate it was most likely in the mid- to late-1990s), Tom Hebel, BCG President, and his wife were at an Expo at the (Fort Washington) convention center. They were in search of an alpaca for the garden center when they discovered a gorgeous macaw. Mrs. Hebel, an avid animal lover, insisted this brightly feathered find would make the perfect addition to the BCG team. So, Blue the macaw, her gigantic cage and all, came home to Doylestown where she has remained ever since.

Fred’s story is a little less straightforward. Version one: Before Bucks Country Gardens, there was Royer’s Nurseries. The story goes that one day back in the late ‘80s, early ‘90s, Mr. Royer, the original owner of the nursery, was out and about in his front yard and discovered Fred in the hedgerow. Without a place for him at his home, he decided to bring the green and teal feathered sweetie into the garden center. Version two: A few employees recall that somewhere between 1989 and 1993, a man had come in with a green parrot and asked if we were interested in him. He explained that the bird, which his family had named Fred, was a delightful parrot but was a bit of a handful at home with his small children. At that point in our garden center’s history, Tom Hebel and Mr. Royer co-owned the business and one of them (not sure who) agreed to welcome the bird with open wings…I mean, arms. Over the last 24+ years, a number of BCG team members recall a few people inquiring about Fred and saying that he used to be their parrot.

Perhaps the real version will remain a mystery and we will be left with these urban myths to pass on to the next generation of children eager to meet such fine birds and to listen to their squawks, screeches and “Hellos”. But to know Bucks Country Gardens is to know that we are proud to have at least five employees who each have over 25 years of service to the garden center and at least a dozen and a half more who have exceeded more than ten years of employment. So, it seems just as fitting that Fred and Blue join this esteemed list as dedicated, long-time members of the BCG Team. We wouldn’t be the same without them.

Adriene Vesci | Graphic Designer & Advertising Coordinator