Spring is in season, and Clark County greenhouses are about to be in full bloom.

And in a county that has embraced being dubbed “garden center headquarters” by some of its regular visitors, that’s something to be celebrated.

The Bloomin’ Greenhouse Tour, promoted by the Clark County Economic Development Corporation & Tourism Bureau, does just that.

Kicking off in April — with the 21 featured greenhouses selecting their own opening dates — the greenhouse tour provides garden enthusiasts with a map of where to shop and greenhouses with a cluster marketing opportunity. Some of the greenhouses close shop during the summer, but the tour goes on through October at greenhouses with fall wares to sell.

What would eventually become the Bloomin’ Greenhouse Tour has its roots in 2007, after a list of all the county greenhouses — 25 to 30 at the time — was compiled to jump on the opportunity of all the greenhouses that were popping up at the time, said Sheila Nyberg, CCEDC executive director. In 2011, when the county had about 36 greenhouses, the first wave of the tour began, she said.

“Every one (of the greenhouses) is so special,” Nyberg said.

The greenhouse tour lists 21 locations this year, but the county does have more greenhouses, which those traveling about the county may stumble across during the tour as well. The Bloomin’ Greenhouse Tour promotion only includes the greenhouses who choose to financially contribute to help cover the cost of materials, like brochures, Nyberg said.

That CCEDC takes care of the marketing efforts for the tours, such as brochures (printing 8,000 to 10,000 in a year, according to Nyberg), signage and communications, has proven valuable for participating greenhouses, including Reiff’s Greenhouse in Greenwood, with owner Esther Reiff saying that the tour provides a good way to get their information out and that she likes the materials that CCEDC puts together for the event.

Reiff’s Greenhouse plans to open April 17. Reiff, who has owned the business with husband, James, for about 15 years, and is looking forward to having grandchildren helping out this year, said visitors can expect to find hanging baskets, bedding plants, vegetable plants, potted plants and more — in general “quite a variety.”

The variety of selections in the business’s two 30-by-90-foot greenhouses is what customers like about Reiff’s Greenhouse, a long-time tour participant, and what keeps them coming back, Reiff said.

“As long as people keep buying, we’ll try to keep them happy,” Reiff said.

In Owen, Posy Patch Greenhouse & Gift Shop is among the earlier greenhouses to open its doors for the season, with an opening date of April 1.

Lois Zimmerman owns Posy Patch Greenhouse with her husband, Warren. The greenhouse, opened in 2002, specializes in hanging baskets and planters, but also has hundreds of thousands of other plants and a gift shop that sells things like primitive furniture and other decor, Zimmerman said.

Since its beginnings, Zimmerman said, the business, also a long-time tour participant, has grown from 12-by-24 feet of space to 125-by-204.

But when the COVID-19 pandemic came with a heightened interest in gardening last year, even the expansive Posy Patch Greenhouse couldn’t keep up with demand and “sold out so fast,” Zimmerman said.

Nyberg said that last year a lot of people discovered or re-discovered gardening and headed for the greenhouses once the businesses were allowed to open after eventually being deemed “essential.”

“It was pretty special last year,” Nyberg said.

As demand continues to be elevated, Posy Patch Greenhouse is expecting another “spring rush” and “trying to fill every corner” this year to make sure they have enough, Zimmerman said.

Nyberg said she “truly believe(s) we will have a good successful year.”

The annual tour attracts plenty of regulars — some of whom make multiple trips and follow the motto of “bring the biggest vehicle you have” — Nyberg said, but each year new people get exposed to the tour as well.

The tour is well-suited for individual shoppers or a family experience, Nyberg said, and in the era of COVID-19, shopping at greenhouses, which often allows people to spread out and spend more time outside, has proven to be a popular activity for people trying to avoid higher-risk activities.

Clark County’s central location in the state is a bonus for attracting people from a wide area, Nyberg said.

Zimmerman said she’s had customers come from Illinois, the Twin Cities and “all over Wisconsin.”

For Zimmerman, the people visiting her greenhouse are more than just customers. “They’re my friends,” Zimmerman said.

It makes her happy to hear from customers who stop by and say, “I couldn’t wait to come back.”

And not only will visitors to the Bloomin’ Greenhouse Tour get an expansive garden shopping experience, they get a chance to enjoy the scenery between stops, too.

“It’s very rural; it’s a fun trek through the countryside,” Nyberg said.

For an event brochure, call the CCEDC office at 715-255-9100, email info@clarkcountyedc.org or visit www.clarkcountywi.org.

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