Sunday December 10, 2017
As a family, our children have all become runners. Some of them have a strong history of running competitively and all of them for fitness reasons. So I'd like to take a moment to tell the business portion of the Van Roekel Christmas story with a running analogy.
We spent four months in training for the race, providing the proper environment and nutrition for the best product possible. Then, the race began. Right now, we are at the 200 mark of the 400-meter dash. We pushed hard to get a majority of our fundraisers and florist plants out the door and behind us. Now we have settled into the groove with time to close down some empty greenhouses and keep pace with a more steady flow of late fundraisers, smaller florist orders, and retail customers. When we get around the curve, we will be ready to go all out getting the church orders on the road and wrapping plants for those on their way to Grandma's for Christmas dinner. Soon, we will be reaching for the tape and collapsing from exhaustion.
That is when family will rush onto the track, pick us up, and replenish our souls. They will help us gather ourselves mentally and physically and remind us of all we have to be grateful for. We will watch our children comb the ditches for the right Christmas tree. They will decorate our home, hold our hands and embrace us at Christmas Eve Mass, and feed us with all sorts of culinary delights.
Until then, we welcome you out to wander through the wonder of creation displayed in reds, whites, pinks, and more. For it is you, our friends, who are always beside us on the track cheering us on.
Sunday November 19, 2017
We are getting ready to pack the first large delivery of poinsettias tonight. Tomorrow morning, we will deliver around 300 single plant poinsettias to Prairie High School in the College Community School District. The business department at Prairie has done this fundraiser with us for around 15 years. They started back when Marty was teaching there. We always appreciate their hard work, and they appreciate the income.
Sunday November 12, 2017
We are gearing up for the Christmas season and want to make sure you are up to date. The poinsettias are ready to go any time now, so do not hesitate to stop out this week. We will not start our seasonal hours until next Sunday (November 19,) but we are currently open daily.
Please note our special events on the home page. You will note that, in addition to our hospital benefit sales, we have been invited to take part in the University of Iowa's annual Thieves Market. This will be our third year at this event, and we highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys good art. This event draws artists from around the area, state, and nation. The breadth and depth of the art that is for sale is absolutely amazing. We are truly humbled that they choose to allow us to highlight our work in this venue.
Please continue to like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram, and we hope to see you this holiday season.
Sunday October 1, 2017
Yesterday was our last farmers market for 2017. It is always a bitter-sweet feeling. We know we will miss seeing our loyal market customers on a regular basis, but man, to have our Saturdays free to work around the greenhouses will be a real benefit. Likewise, today is our last Sunday open until the weekend before Thanksgiving. We always relish the times of year when we can have our Sundays free for family events.
We had a tremendous mum and aster season. Now hold on to your hats, folks, the poinsettias are next in line.
Monday September 4, 2017
It has been quite a while since we sat down and added any updates; I guess summer just did what it always does around here! Then yesterday some friends from Illinois who had never seen our greenhouses stopped by for a tour. It seems when you are given the opportunity to point things out to others, you are forced to notice them yourself. "We grow all our mums in these two beds...whoa! Look at all the color that's coming on!"
We are now in our fall hours and open 7 days a week; 9-5 Monday through Saturday and 11-5 on Sunday. Stop out and see us, and keep checking this page, as we will try to keep you up with anything new!
Wednesday June 14, 2017
Since it gets extremely difficult to keep annual flowers and vegetables looking fresh in the greenhouse once the summer heat sets in, and we get cramped for space as we begin planting mums, we normally start the process of composting those plants that we know are going to take far too much to maintain at the level of "acceptable" we demand.
As we started the process this year, we quickly realized that we had more of the "easier to maintain" plants left, we had a great spring season, and we want to make sure everyone has the opportunity to fill their flower beds and gardens. So, until further notice, all of our annuals and perennials will be 25% off their regular price. We are cutting and trimming much of our annual crop and maintaining it for a while longer, so come on out for some great deals.
Wednesday June 14, 2017
We just got home from a week in Australia with our oldest son, Jonah. He is a junior at Oklahoma State University and spent a semester at Charles Darwin University in Darwin, Australia. While we know it was a great opportunity for him in many ways, for us, it was a great excuse. Often times there are things we want to experience, but we need an excuse, or maybe some encouragement, or maybe just a kick in the pants to do it. His being there was all of that for us.
So, life always happens. The plan was for our youngest son, Eli, to take control of the greenhouses and livestock while we were away. Dave agreed to check to ensure he was getting everything watered, and Donna agreed to keep an eye on the store. So, life happens. The morning we were to leave, Dave went to the hospital with chest pains. Thankfully, his issue is a treatable ulcer.
So friends happen. Pat Freeman, who has been a wonderful friend to us came out to watch the store and keep things running in that department. And family happens, Marianne's sisters Angel, Ruth, and Annette came to help with the care of the greenhouses.
So life happens, again. We were able to spend a wonderful week with Jonah in Cairnes, Australia. We were able to snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef, see some great agricultural areas of the country, and much more...wallabies, parrots, cassowaries, flying fox bats, plants we grow as annuals growing perennially...you know, all those things midwestern farm kids geek out over! But now, we are now home safe and sound.
Sunday May 28, 2017
We hope you are all preparing for a pleasant Memorial Day. For many reasons, this day will have special meaning to us, as we honor those who have gone before us and paved the way to a life we enjoy. While the current political climate is built upon pointing out all the things we don't have, please take some time joining us in being grateful for all the things we do have. When you look around the world, you will find that most of us really have it very good.
Please take a moment to notice our summer hours. This is about a week earlier than we have started in the past. That is because Marianne and I are leaving in early June for Australia to visit our second-oldest child, Jonah. He has spent the spring semester studying at Charles Darwin University in Darwin, Australia. He will be returning in July to finish his senior year at Oklahoma State University, so our time to use him as an excuse to visit that country was about to run out.
Say a prayer that the mum cuttings are ready to go early in the coming week, because all 3,000+ pots have to be planted before we board the plane next Sunday!
Thursday May 25, 2017
Every year is a learning experience, and it seems like attitudes and trends drift in before we are ready. Two issues we have decided we need to address with some modicum of consistency are returns and pets...kind of a strange combination, I know.
We have never had a strict return policy, but there have been a couple of situations that came up this year where customers asked, "Do you take it back if..." questions that made us look at eachother and say, "I don't know; do we?"
We started to question if we would refund for herbs and patio vegetables if a customer did not like the taste. What about the customer who finds a crack in a piece of pottery and, out of that frustration (that we all feel sometimes; admit it,) breaks it even more? What is reasonable, and what is "normal" practice for small family greenhouses? If there are any of us who are normal, but that's a whole other topic!
After spending a great deal of time researching, we found that many family operated greenhouses and garden centers our size do, in fact, have written policies. Our research told us that what we do is, in fact, "normal." We have now put it in writing and published it here on our website on the "About" page. We have also posted it next to our cash register.
We are still working to articulate our policy on pets. We welcome people to take their pets on walks on our large lawn, but for many reasons, we do not feel it is appropriate to take them into our store or greenhouses. As pet owners ourselves, we want to articulate this without offense, and for some reason, we are not coming up with the right words.
Wednesday April 26, 2017
Well, we have some of everything and everything of some things in the retail houses! We are officially ready for our Spring Open House. On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (April 28-30,) everything is 10% off. We know the weather is looking a bit wet for this year's event, but looking back over 43 years, we also know that this would not be the first wet Open House experience at Reha Greenhouses!
Sunday April 23, 2017
People have really been taking advantage of the nice weather. We have had a huge number of people in the greenhouses the past two days, and we are truly enjoying the pace.
I always think of spring as a metomorphosis in our business. We start planting in January and spend three months systematically filling each of our eight greenhouses. As the plants mature, we start setting up our retail house. One by one, the varieties start to appear.
This week before Open House, we will be completing the process. For those of you who have already been out, you will see a greater variety of vegetables and flowers as the week progresses. Tomatoes and peppers, along with flowers in packs will slowly appear this week. More planters and more perennials displayed ouside. More. more, more!
Saturday April 22, 2017
The 15-day forecast looks good in terms of temperature, but we are still encouraging customers to be careful with planting. We are seeing a lot of flowers going out for planters, and we think this may be the spring to get them going a little early; just keep an eye on the forecast, and have a space in the garage ready, just in case...Again; I don't want to sell them to you twice.
Thursday April 20, 2017
We have decided to bite the bullet and start moving tomatoes into the retail house. We always like to keep them in the growing house for as long as possible, so not to tempt you too much. Occasionally, a gardner will come in and convince one of us to take him or her to the growing house to pick a few out early. When it is me who succombs to the that pressure, I always say very seriously, "You know it is early, and I'll probably be selling them to you twice." Most understand the risk, and assure me they will take responsibility.
It seems as if we have not had a night time freeze in a very long time, and my weather app does not show anything below 39 through May 4, so the early birds could just be lucky this year! We may even start bringing the peppers in too.
Wednesday April 19, 2017
Well, the score is Technology 1, Marty 0. As I left this page to check my spelling of the word "cauliflower," I inadvertently deleted everything I had on the page and cannot get it back. So many profound words of wisdom...poof...gone...never to be read again. (Better keep up, folks, or you'll miss out.) So, out of frustration, I will just say it's a great time to get out and get your cold-season crops planted. It is the right time to plant cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, potatoes, onions, bok choi, Brussels sprouts, radishes, lettuce, kale, and peas! Hope your gardening goes better than my webpage rambling...oh well; happy planting!