It probably began as a game, a sort of monthly tracking of the funny requests that customers came up with.

Some of the entries on the notebook at the Redwood Nursery are downright hilarious, and others, you'd have to be a greenthumb to get.But this month, the record keeping will end for owner Reid Baumgartner as his family-owned nursery at 850 S. Redwood Road closes its doors after about 60 years of business.

At least, he says with pride, he was not forced to close because of competition from the big chains.

"The big chain stores may have the products to sell and the kids to sell it with," he said.

"But they don't have an individual with expertise. Someone who you can bring a chunk of sod to or a bug in a bottle to and get some advice."

Instead, it is the loss of a lease that is bringing an end to a living that Baumgartner picked up at his father's side.

The Redwood Nursery was known all over the valley for their field-grown pansies, said a former employee.

The pansies were grown at the nursery, then dug on the spot for each customer, who picked out which one he or she wanted.

These pansies were remembered as the "biggest, best, handsomest pansies in the world."

However, the closing isn't just an end to a supply of hardy, well-cared for plants. Many customers also see it as an end to a friendship with a family who showed them how to tame weeds and coax flowers to bloom.

"I'm not a customer," said Deanna Dwinger, who has been a regular for about 15 years. "I feel like when I go in there, I'm a friend. I can ask dumb questions, and it's OK. I feel like I'm losing a friend."

Joy Bossi, hostess of the "Joy in the Garden" program on KALL-910 AM radio, got her retail training from Redwood Nursery 10 years ago, before moving onto giving gardening tips on television and radio.

"They knew their folks," Bossi said. "That is a hard relationship in this day and age to build in retail."

The nursery, tucked away on a corner in Redwood Road, was once an icon on a street that had nothing in common with today's thoroughfare.

In those days, the shrubs were set along the road for storage, and no one ever stole the plants, remembers Baumgartner. Customers, now grown, recall going to the nursery with their grandfathers to pick out a tropical fish or a cockatiel to take home.

After the original owner, Wayne Freckleton, sold the nursery to Baumgartner's father, it seemed that someday the family would purchase the land, since gardening and landscaping have been in the family blood for at least three generations.

Baumgartner said his grandfather was an original caretaker of Salt Lake's Memory Grove.

In recent years, the nursery has specialized in aquatic gardens, although it carries everything from sprinkler parts from earlier landscaping days to tropical betas and guppies.

In the wintertime, operations switch to selling Christmas trees, about 3,000 of them a season. The nursery supplies all of the trees for ZCMI, said Baumgartner.

Although he doesn't know yet what he'll do after his doors close, it seems Baumgartner will have good memories of his nursery-business days. At least, he can pull out his notebook and get a good laugh as he reads a record of outlandish requests from customers.

His family won't soon forget the patron wanting to spray her trees for "atheists" instead of aphids, or the one who wondered about neutering his trees to keep them from sprouting.