Country Rodes Greenhouse Nears 20th Anniversary
Photographer / Lana King
For many people, going to Country Rodes Greenhouse for plants to start their yearly garden and beautify their home is a tradition. Known for its huge variety of stunningly beautiful healthy plants, it offers everything needed for the home gardener and professional landscaper from early spring to late autumn. Owners Lynn and Roberta Rodes realize how much it means to their customers to get the plants they need, so they have a plan to accommodate people who don’t wish to leave their cars.
“I want it to be safe for people,” Rodes says. “Customers have been calling in with a list of vegetable and flower plants they want. We take their credit card over the phone. Then we put the plants on a cart, push it outside, and if people want, we will load the plants in their car for them.”
This year marks the 10th season that Lynn and Roberta Rhodes have owned the business and the 18th year it has existed. The couple married in 2009 and moved to Rochester. Initially Lynn was employed in construction and Roberta worked at a nearby hospital.
“Roberta grew up in Elkhart,” Rodes says. “Her parents own a plant nursery there, Ron Martin Seed & Supply. So, Roberta had a lot of experience working with her parents in greenhouses. We were just married a year when we approached the prior owners here about buying this business. We told them, ‘If you ever want to sell, let us know.’ A short time later they contacted us and said they did want to sell it to us.
“It was all new to me. I enjoyed the plants and gardening but had to learn how everything is done through a series of trial and error. Even though it’s a seasonal business it keeps us busy all year. In the winter we go to garden shows, order supplies and there is a lot of maintenance. In the warm weather it is a huge responsibility to keep everything watered.”
Country Rodes Greenhouse opens each year on April 1 and continues selling until late October. It consists of six growing greenhouses which produce thousands of bedding plants, vegetable plants, outdoor trees, shrubs, roses and countless perennials. As an independent garden center, it grows all the plants it sells. Some are started from plugs which are placed in flats. Since it is not affiliated with a big box chain store, once a product sells out, it can’t be “reordered” for a customer.
All hanging baskets and floral containers are assembled on site. When visitors stroll through the expansive green houses or visit the business Facebook page, they see row after row of lush and beautiful vegetation. There are brightly colored begonia baskets filled with softly glowing orange or cheerful yellow blossoms. The containers are unique and some resemble copper or galvanized steel while others are wicker baskets. One highlight is various containers of different caladium varieties which are paired with ivy. These are easy plants that provide a splash of color to beautify any home or business.
Within the season Country Rodes Greenhouse is open, there are different demands each month. In April, people are eager to start their vegetable gardens. Cold weather crop plants such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and bare root varieties such as asparagus and strawberries are available. Many customers purchase seed packets and potato and onion sets.
During May, the requests are for Mother’s Day type items such as hanging baskets and containers. Bedding plants are also in demand. Lawn and garden fertilizers and pesticides are offered. Many of the products are natural and organic.
In the summer, customers will find everything needed to make a garden healthy and beautiful. During this time, a large supply of perennials is ready for sale. The store carries potting soil, empty planters, containers, pottery and other supplies. A few garden ornaments such as gazing balls are also available.
September focuses on landscaping needs. Fall is the best season for planting trees, shrubs and bushes. Chrysanthemums are in their full glory with multiple color and variety options to choose from.
The season winds up in late October. Families enjoy coming out to pick out pumpkins. Other decorative items available are bails of straw and autumn gourds suitable for centerpieces or wreaths.
“Our customers come back year after year,” Rodes says. “We love seeing them and we always enjoy meeting new ones as well. People really want to be able to get the plants and supplies they need to start and maintain their garden. We want to make sure they can get them, so we encourage them to give us a call.”
Country Rodes Greenhouse is located at 5962 North Old US 31 in Rochester, just off East Country Road 550 North.
Visit their Facebook page Country Rodes Greenhouse or call 574-238-7669 for more information.