Like the plants and vegetable plants they sell, two women started a nursery from scratch, nurtured it carefully, and soon it blossomed into a successful business.
Babe’s Blossoms, located along State Highway 4, seven miles south of Cosmos and seven miles north of Hector, is a 10-building nursery co-owned by Jim and Eileen Roebke and Doug and Marie Breitkreutz.
Almost all the plants, flowers and vegetables are grown from start to finish in the greenhouses at the nursery. And, it’s obvious to the shoppers that care is of the utmost importance to the proprietors.
“I’ve been buying things from them since the first year they opened,” said Linda McGraw, of Buffalo Lake. “Their plant material is top quality. In my estimation, they are the best around.”
“Their place is so clean and well organized,” said Lynette Jensen of Hutchinson, who also has been buying from Babe’s Blossoms since its inception. “Every plant is well maintained. Nothing is overgrown or tangled. They take such good care of each individual plant throughout the entire buying season.”
McGraw drew that conclusion after buying plants from other places over the years.
“I’ve shopped everywhere from the metro area to other places in between there and here,” she said.
“Unless you get there right when the truck pulls up with new merchandise, you won’t get the quality you get (at Babe’s Blossoms). Their plants are always so sturdy and healthy looking. They really take a lot of pride in their work.”
“I’ve shopped a lot of greenhouses and nurseries because I love gardening,” said Jensen. “But this place is by far the best. They have good value and twice the quality. Everything they sell is healthy, full and the roots are well established. You don’t have to do any cutting back when you plant because they’ve taken care of all that. That saves a grower a couple of weeks.”
And that’s exactly what Eileen and Marie echoed when asked what makes their place so successful. “We grow for quality,” said Marie. “We don’t want to sell plants that haven’t been cared for.”
“We don’t care if it’s a hanging basket or a six-pack of petunias. We want them to be of good quality,” said Eileen.
Babe’s Blossoms is named after the nickname Marie’s father gave her as a young child.
The two couples have been friends for many years so they decided to go into business together.
Piece by piece, the nursery expanded. Eventually, the two farm couples retired their tractors in 2006 and gave up farming to concentrate their efforts solely on their prospering greenhouse business. Now the husbands are also fully involved.
“We would buy some of the buildings at auctions,” said Eileen. “The four of us would take them down piece by piece, haul them home and reconstruct them.”
“We just kept getting more and more buildings,” laughed Marie. “I think this is as big as we’re going to get now.”
Each of the couples has a specific duty. Eileen works the retail end of the operation, much like a store manager, while Marie designs and constructs the unique planters and custom potting.
Jim’s job entails seed planting and keeping the inventory full in the retail end of the business, while also helping out with any maintenance.
Doug manages the maintenance of the buildings and equipment, as well as being the pick-up man for the thousands of baby plugs received from various growers.
“We each have found our own niche,” Marie said.
There are also five dedicated part-time workers to help with the thriving seasonal business.
Whether you are interested in flowering annuals, vegetable plants, perennials, water plants, or shrubs, the variety, quality and quantity is overwhelming. There are also hanging baskets, unique potted containers, or custom pots. And even if you don’t plan to purchase anything, the trip to their place is worthwhile if only for the scenery.
“It’s just mind-blowing how pretty it is when everything is blooming,” said Eileen.
According to their numbers, the 10 greenhouse buildings at Babe’s Blossoms house over 150,000 plants, which include six-packs, single plants, vegetable starter plants, perennials, shrubs, hanging baskets, and decorative containers. If customers don’t have the time or desire to plant their own containers, Babe’s Blossoms can custom pot for them.
If you want something unique, Babe’s Blossoms can accommodate you.
“That’s something we specialize in,” said Marie. “We have a lot of new and unusual plants. And we have a lot of unique potted containers. If customers can’t find that ‘something special’ they are looking for, we want them to give us a try.”
Unique potted containers can be anything such as pails, crates, wheelbarrows, milk cans, or just about anything you wouldn’t expect to grow plants or flowers. Yet, the finished product will surprise you with how elegant it looks.
“I’m so impressed that everyone on the staff is so knowledgeable,” remarked Jensen. “They will tell you what will and what won’t grow in certain areas. Not one thing that I’ve ever bought there has disappointed me.”
To help make it easier for the customer, plants are priced on their individual pot.
“That make it easier when they are gathering their purchases as to how much they are spending before they go to the checkout counter,” explained Eileen.
Babe’s Blossoms opens for the season on April 24 and closes on July 3. They are open from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday, and noon-5 p.m. on Sunday. The annual open house will be held on May 9 with refreshments and prizes all day. They are also open on Memorial Day from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
For more information, visit babesblossoms.com, call 320-848-6566 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.