EAGLE RIVER -

While the world outsides exists in shades of browns and grays, inside the Mile Greenhouse is a never-ending spring. Dale Walberg, the owner, said his gardening started out as a hobby about 14 years ago.

"It was just a natural desire to grow plants, I guess," said Walberg. He also likes to point out that his greenhouse is a little different. "We don't have much of the ordinary."

Inside the greenhouse, tropical plants grow among specialty gifts. There's a small pineapple growing on a short tree. Olive trees sit on the floor near the register.

Dale said if he could tell people to get just one plant, it would be the lemon verbena. The small green leaves smell like lemon when crushed between your fingers.

"All of our plants are unusual," he said, "lemon lime trees banana tress, fig trees, coffee trees, tea bushes."

Long spring days, when the sun is out, remind Walberg why he loves growing things. On Saturday, high resting clouds filtered the sunlight, but Walberg said that on a sunny day, it's different.

"It's like they move around and grow you can just see it happening," said Walberg.

The people who come in aren't that different.

"Everybody is more excited this time of year," Walberg said. "They're interested in trying new things. They want to try new things, they want color in their world after the wintertime."

Greenhouse employee, Thane Perish sees it too.

"This time of year is actually pretty jubilant," Perish said.

Perish is a high school student who started working at the greenhouse about three years ago. He said he applied because he didn't want to work in fast food.

On a day that still looks a lot like winter, he helped a few customers choose trees and bushes for their yards and homes, helping to add a little color until summer arrives.