Each of us has a secret obsession that we tend and nurture like a small child. For me, gardening is my vice. It helped me through a particularly challenging summer last year and gave me hope when a lot of people would have fallen to despair. I was fortunate to have my container gardens to help me feel hope and keep my eyes focused on the silver lining life was offering me. One of the people who helped me through it, though she doesn’t know it until she reads this, is Betty Rancourt, owner and operator of Obsession Greenhouse in St. Louis.
The third of four children born to Duncan and Joan Morrison, Betty married her high school sweetheart. Three children and a grandchild later, Betty is busier than ever growing plants and preparing to open the greenhouse for another season. Her love of gardening was inspired by her mother, who always grew her own seeds for the family garden growing up. When Betty over planted one year, she simply offered them to her hair clients. They insisted they pay for the plants. And then they asked that she plant their containers for them. She did. Her husband built an 8x10 green house for her, and they soon outgrew it. He built a larger one and it was soon overgrown too. Supply and demand meant Betty had to think bigger. Obsession Greenhouse opened its doors along with a store front gift shop that you must visit if you have a green thumb in your family or as a friend. You will find beautiful and unique items celebrating the decadence and feel good feelings associated with being outside in the sunshine, sipping on an iced beverage and enjoying the lazy buzz of bees as they pollinate your flowers, vegetables and herbs – all purchased from Obsession Greenhouse.
With seeds and plant plugs that come from all over North America and even England, UK there is a good chance you will find a plant you’ve never heard of at Betty’s Obsession Greenhouse. She is there to provide you with guidance and support should you decide you’d like to challenge your growing prowess with a species of plant unique to your garden. Betty has done this herself and says “the most unique plants that I have seeded myself and has been very successful for us would have to be the Cobaea vine; these amazing vines will climb up to 20 feet high in a season, and bloom amazing purple flowers. Also, the climbing Petunia has been very popular, coming in four different colours, and is very fragrant.” The way she speaks about plants, it’s very difficult not to feel just as enthusiastic and excited as she is to get into the back yard and start puttering around in the soil, planting to see what will grow.
Betty truly enjoys her job. Part of the reason being “the ability to work my own hours, make my own decisions as to what I want brought in and what to grow.” But she also acknowledges that having your own business isn’t a role for just anyone. Speaking from her own experience as a Métis entrepreneur, Betty says starting her business has “been very rewarding. It’s a service that you do for yourself and your community. A small business is there to help grow and support your community and area, whether its’ through extra traffic coming through the community, employment or support through donations for all the extra activities going on in the area.” As far as I can see, Betty really demonstrates the rewards of being a successful business woman whose heart is as much a part of her community as it is a part of her business or with her family.
If you would like to visit Obsession Greenhouse online, you can like them on Facebook at Obsession Greenhouses or visit their webpage by searching obsessiongreenhouse.com. Or just visit the old-fashioned way… it’s a lot more rewarding to drive out to St. Louis, 245 Buffalo Park Road. Phone 306-422-8211 to speak to Betty about the annual and perennial plants she has to offer. In the meantime, plan to attend opening day of the greenhouse on April 27. See you there!