(Published June 28, 2007, 12:41 p.m.)
Mention gardening to most folks and they automatically think "work." But the co-owners of Northwind Perennial Farm believe you should think "fun." And that goes for both the partnership and their customers.
"The joy of Northwind is not income related but how much fun we have each day doing what a lot of folks refer to as work," said Roy Diblik in an article in Better Home and Garden's "Perennials" magazine current summer edition.
And co-owner Colleen Garrigan, who oversees the retail end of the business, says they want their customers to really enjoying their gardening experience.
"We have something planned almost every weekend such as the 11th Annual Garden and Antique Sale coming up on June 29 and 30," she said. "We have a nice group of select antique dealers who set up their booths, plant sales and we have food-it's quite fun. It's become quite a tradition."
Northwind is located between Lake Geneva and Burlington on Hospital Road just off Highway 120 and was opened 11 years ago by Diblik, Garrigan and Steve Coster, all of whom bring their own specific strengths to the business.
"They've just created this atmosphere here that's so unique," said Gail Specht, retail manager. "Each partner has such skills that support one another. It's a beautiful mix of skills."
Diblik is the grower for the business, Garrigan oversees the retail end and Coster is head of the landscaping design and installation.
"We decided we wanted to start a business together and we found this farm and after much deliberation, we went with it," she said.
Today the 10-acre operation holds some 500,000 plants, nearly all grown in their own fields.
"They're all field-grown-nothing is forced in greenhouses," said Specht. "Roy grows amazingly healthy plants. Once you plant it, it just thrives."
Specht said customers can find a lot of unusual plants on the farm including a huge collection for shady areas.
A popular area on the farm is the educational gardens created by the staff, which include community gardens-plants that do well when planted together. Diblik is big on what he calls known maintenance-he can tell you how much time you'll have to spend maintaining your garden depending on what you plant in it. So if you don't want to put a lot of time into your garden this staff can help you choose what plants will require low maintenance and will grow well together.
"We can tell you how much time it will take to take care of what you put in," said Garrigan.
The end result is you'll have fun in your garden with plants selected from Northwind Perennials Farm. For more information, visit www.northwindperennialfarm.com or, better yet, stop by the farm at 7047 Hospital Road, Burlington.
---June 29-30-11th Annual Garden and Antique Sale, July 6, 13, 20, 27, 9 a.m.-noon
---July 14-Farmers Market. Panel discussion with Mike Nowak, WGN Radio's Let's Talk Gardening host and award-winning author.
---All summer-Weekly garden tours on Wednesdays at 1 p.m.
*For a complete list of fun activities this summer, visit the Web site or call Northwind at 248-8229.
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