Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wistful Wednesday: Windmill Gardens

In the fall of 1998 we cleared the spot for the first greenhouse and built what is now my garage, but back then it was retail space.  It was nip and tuck getting the bows for the greenhouse up on Thanksgiving weekend.  We retreated to Florida for the worst of the winter in our camper.  We  planned to build a house..that would come in due time.

My Dad gave us an old Butler Grain Bin so we would have someplace dry to store the chain saw and our tools.  The grain bin also covered up our well.  A greenhouse needs water so we had a hydrant put right inside the greenhouse.

Looking back..we must have been nuts.  But we made it work.  It was work.  Hard work.

July 2000 two

July 2000

This entire area was woods.  The trees were cut and stacked. Brush was removed along with poison ivy. (You have to have light for a greenhouse.)  The stumps were grubbed out and burned.  My Dad built us a road and a parking lot.  The greenhouse in the photo was attached to the retail area (the green steel building..now my garage.)   Perennials for sale were on pallets and benches.  We began some perennial gardens and a vegetable garden.  We were either weeding, watering or trimming something all day long. For a number of years we also sold trees and shrubs. We were open for business from May 1 to October 1st.

2000 Gene and Connie

We grew “stuff” real good.

We made the decision to close the business in the spring of 2008.   I have not regretted that decision.  Sometimes you just know when it is time to move on in a different direction.

The gardens 2013

I took this photo a few nights ago.  The gardens are “wild” now. Unorganized and weedy.  Perennials still poke through the weeds here and there especially in rainy years.  My greenhouse was sold.  Far Guy still has his greenhouse (the white building behind the sauna) he uses it for a wood shop.  The grain bin remains..I hardly ever go in there…I believe it is a wood storage area for wood to be used in wood carving…and other really important “stuff.” The Pine tree that we saved back in 1998 died last summer..the drought stressed it out.

At one time we had three greenhouses back in here.  One was mine for annuals, one for perennials and Far Guys for native plants and vegetable sets.  We still have old customers who say they miss our flowers and that no other greenhouse in the area carries the plants that we grew.

I don’t have any plants in pots to water anymore, I do not buy plants and rarely go into a greenhouse. (If I do visit a greenhouse I have a hard time with plants that have bugs and plants that need water.)  Far Guy has a couple of tomato plants in pots. The wild gardens get along with what ever moisture comes their way.  It all seems simpler that way:)

July 2001

July 2001

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20 comments:

  1. Wow, you used to have a green thumb ;) We used to have a garden every year and the last couple of years have not been very productive, last year the hubby was gone so much and when he was home it rained and we couldn't get the garden tilled, and then this year it has done nothing but rained and we were not able to plants into the ground in time. I am one who used to can tomatoes and I have really missed not having any. We are seriously thinking of buying a small greenhouse ourselves. You had a hugh one. I am finding that the older I get the less I want to can and do a garden, I hate to weed! I can see why you don't miss it :)

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  2. I really enjoyed reading this. I've often wondered how you got your start in the greenhouse business. It's obvious that you have always been a hard worker. You did an outstanding job creating your gardens. Loved the photo of you and Far Guy together.

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  3. I'm so glad I read your post today. It reminds me of my life on the Black Land Prairie. I was doing similar things on the farm...even driving my own tractor. It finally just got to be too much for me. Being single and having an office in the city. I was working from sun up to sun down. I moved last year and sold the farm to a young couple who are thrilled with it all. Thanks for sharing your story.

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  4. I love the "look into your past" post today. I can see why you gave it up tho. I don't garden much any more - just too hard. Weeds seem to get hardier every year and the weather too unpredictable. This is the first year I haven't had even so much as a tomato plant. I go tired of battling the elements. Love the photo of you and Far Guy. Thanks for sharing your story.

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  5. I didn't know any of this about you, Connie. I started following you much later. It does seem odd to me that the turn of the century was so long ago now! How time flies. I also love that picture of the two of you! :-)

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  6. Morning, very interesting Connie.....always wanted to work in a greenhouse.....great story and pictures, cute you and Far Guy, Blessings Francine.

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  7. Looks like you had a cute little business, but lot of work!! Glad you kept some of the buildings, they were a part of who you were/are.

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  8. I know folks do miss you guys and your flowers. There was a similar home business near us 20 years ago where we purchased stuff for our yard and my parents. We miss that but we do not miss the hard work of keeping flower beds looking good. We enjoyed it while we were able but now we are content to live in the woods!

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  9. I remember well although it was before I really got into my perennial gardens ~ I remember like yesterday when we brought a group of 4-H kids down for some "flower garden" knowledge from Far Guy! :) Great post!

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  10. yes, greenhouses are a lot of work. However it is very rewarding work if you like plants as you do. there's also something to be said for knowing when to get out.

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  11. You are right - knowing when to change course is an important skill. But you obviously enjoyed the business whilst you ran it and, I am sure, did a great job.

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  12. Growing up, my girlfriend's father was a florist, and his shop was on their property. He allowed us to "help" in the greenhouse, and I can still conjure up that aroma!
    Peace,
    Muff

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  13. I can imagine you in a nurturing business. You still nurture in your present job.

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  14. You are such a hard worker! Operating a greenhouse and retail business has to be hard work, and I can imagine that tending all those plants could stop being fun. Now you can enjoy whatever is growing around you, and stalk the elusive wild flowers with your camera. Thanks for this look back.

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  15. Lots of hard work is an understatement, but it sounds like you adjusted to the change of careers without too much trouble. I, too, like the photo of you and Far Guy.

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  16. I like your way of looking at it. It's easier to let nature have its way, with some limitations.
    You had an amazing business. And I agree with Gail. You still nurture.
    Thanks for sharing a great post with us.

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  17. A friend of mine grew herbs. Her 'green house', a 24' long area under a fiberglass shed roof behind her barn kept her busy. Every time I dropped in she was potting, or watering, or hauling. I think I understand what you went through, and hers was on a very small scale.
    I loved seeing the 'then and now' photos. Thanks for sharing!

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  18. It was very courageous of you two to start that business. What a lot of work. And I think it was most likely equally courageous of you to decide you had had enough and it was time to quit.

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  19. What a wonderful business you two had. So nice to learn new things about you guys. That had to be a ton of work, but your plants look loved and well tended. I have no doubt people miss your flowers. No doubt at all. :)

    Love the pic of you guys!!

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  20. Having just worked retail for the one summer in the garden business the work you did was huge. It takes a lot of time just to keep the displays up for the mess that the people leave behind. It is a good memory I hope. Stages of life keep clicking away.

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Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your comments! If you have a question I will try to answer it here. Connie