RAIN was drumming so fast and hard on the tin roof of the office at Broken Arrow Nursery here last Friday that the crew practically had to shout as they discussed the crazy weather: the freak snowstorm in October that took down a third of their magnolia collection; Tropical Storm Irene in August, which felled their beloved scarlet maple "swing" tree, with its thick horizontal branch; and the warm winter temperatures that had brought the forsythia into bloom in December, although the witch hazels were right on time.
"Is this the clearing shower?" joked Richard Jaynes, 76, who started the nursery with his wife, Sally, in 1984.
In fact, Broken Arrow put down its first roots 65 years ago, when the young Mr. Jaynes planted a couple hundred spruce seedlings in his father's apple orchard as part of a 4-H project — selling Christmas trees.
"Dad kept it going while I was in college," said Mr. Jaynes, who went off to Wesleyan University and then Yale, where he earned a doctorate in botany. (And over the years, those Christmas trees have been planted across 20 acres.)