Doris' Highway 52 Flowers opens for business

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Doris' Highway 52 Flowers is open for business. The garden center carries a variety of perennials, flowering annuals, vegetables, herbs, trees and shrubs for the spring and summer growing season. (Press photo by Caroline Rosacker)

By Caroline Rosacker

Beautiful flowers, fresh vegetables, fruits and leafed-out flowering shrubs and trees are a few of the many reasons Northerners love to see the advent of spring and summer.   

This spring Doris' Highway 52 Flowers, located at 26782 Highway 52 between Guttenberg and Garnavillo, has opened its greenhouse and accompanying garden supply shop to customers. The new garden center will be open Monday - Saturday, from 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. and Sundays from 8 a.m. - 3 p.m.  

Doris Mueller, the proprietor, has 10 years experience in the horticulture retail business. Doris said, "I became interested in gardening watching my mom and dad garden when I was young. My mom always had a passion for growing beautiful flowers, and my dad loved to raise vegetables." She continued, "I worked for Murray's Outdoor Store for 10 years. I am grateful for all the knowledge I acquired while working under the direction of the store's owner, Beth Murray."

Doris and her husband, Kenny, now empty-nesters, raised three girls on a beautifully landscaped homestead tucked away on a dead-end gravel road down in a valley with natural streams running through it in rural Guttenberg. 

Her original garden interest was in cultivating hostas.  "I have close to 300 different varieties of hostas surrounding my home. I became interested in the species out of necessity. I needed to find a plant that could survive under shady conditions," she said with a smile. 

Doris' Highway 52 Flowers carries a wide variety of perennials, flowering annuals, vegetables, a selection of herbs for the spring and summer growing season, in addition to a few shade trees, fruit trees and shrubs. In the fall they will carry a selection of mums, pumpkins and gourds. 

The garden shop is stocked with a selection of fertilizers, gardening gloves, gardening tools, rustic planters and containers and other supplies for the garden. 

Doris recommends, "If customers have an idea of a tree, perennial or shrub they would like to plant, contact me in the fall and I can pre-order products from my distributors. The sooner I can let the distributor know the better chance they will still have it. They will ship it to me in the spring and if the product is picked up right away, reducing the time I have to care for it, I can pass the discount on to the customer."

Gardening advice

Doris offered some practical gardening advice: 

"It is important when purchasing plants early in the spring (late April or early May), to look for smaller plants, especially in containers and hanging baskets. This is better due to the long growing season ahead.  It is in our nature to pick out the fullest, most colorful hanging baskets or containers, but in reality, the smaller plants will last longer through the season," she said. "If you purchase a full, filled-out, blossomed basket, make sure the container it's planted in is large enough to support it through the season. Another option would be to re-pot it in a larger container. Baskets and planters need to be fertilized throughout the season to keep them blooming and healthy." 

Doris also recommends, "If you want to start planting early in the season, start with cooler weather annuals such as pansies, snapdragons, or dianthus. As the weather warms add those that like the warmer weather such as marigolds, salvia, and petunias. For vegetables, start with cabbage, kohlrabi, or broccoli and add tomatoes and peppers after the temperatures remain warm. 

Community involvement

Doris has enjoyed her experience as a business owner thus far. She likes getting out into the community to share her passion for gardening. 

"This spring I enjoyed helping the students in Mrs. Connelly's class plant pansies and learn about gardening. Dianna Backes and I are very proud of our floral container plantings at the Guttenberg Veterans Memorial in Ingleside Park that we provided and maintained last year and will again this year. In 2017 I was honored to assist Murray's Outdoor Store in providing the planters for the moving wall at the Clayton County Fairgrounds, and I am currently working with Umbrella Arts on the flowers for their downtown beautification project," she said.

Doris expressed thanks to her family and friends for all the help they provided during the opening of her new business venture and looks forward to assisting her customers with their gardening needs. 

For additional information call 563-964-2277 or e-mail hwy52flowers@alpinecom.net or like Highway 52 Flowers on Facebook.

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