In Harmony, business is blooming
JASPER, Minn. — Harmony Gardens began its 10th season with an open house May 4 and 5. The business, between Luverne and Pipestone on U.S. 75, just north of the Edgerton turnoff, will continue to celebrate its first decade in business through summer.
"I grew up growing plants," said owner Noreen Hawes. "My parents always had a large garden."
For many years she worked elsewhere in a greenhouse, while her sons had a produce stand on the family's dairy farm.
The boys got older and more involved with the dairy and other work, and Hawes had to make a decision: Should she continue with her off-farm job and be done with the produce business or step out on her own to grow and sell plants and produce?
Hawes now has a greenhouse and gift shop on the family farm. She sells annuals, perennials, bulbs, trees, bushes, grape vines, raspberries, gifts and fresh-cut flowers and bouquets. In season, some will come from her own gardens.
"It is a major decision to know what seeds or plants to order in," said Hawes. "There are so many good possibilities."
Customers have favorites that they will ask for each year, but they also like to check out new plants.
Because Hawes uses the plants in her own gardens, she knows how they will perform.
Hawes has activities planned for Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings through mid-July. What she has planned will appeal to novice and veteran gardeners and to those who want to attract birds and butterflies.
Fairy gardening is becoming popular. It involves planting dwarf plant varieties in containers, such as a wagon or old bird bath. The plants are accented with miniature furniture and/or fairies. In another class, Hawes will have participants make hypertufa pots or plan a rain garden.
"If a group of at least five want to include a trip to Harmony Gardens as a planned event, I will teach one of the classes of their choosing just for them," Hawes said.
"One event that keeps growing is Kids Day," said Hawes. "It's a day we encourage kids to garden. Because not everyone gardens anymore, kids aren't growing up with that know-how anymore. There is a petting zoo, we'll do some planting, serve a noon meal and they will each go home with a tomato plant for their own garden."
Kids Day is scheduled for June 2.
Hawes also will help with landscaping ideas.
As the greenhouse season slows down, Harmony Gardens remains open. Hawes sells fresh produce from her gardens. She has between 150 and 200 tomato plants, with many being heirloom varieties.
"I like growing things," said Hawes. "I like flowers and I like people."