Karla Ensz, owner of Busy Bee Nursery and Lawn Service in Macon, tends to plants at the nursery. Photo by: John Dorroh
August 6, 2009 10:45:00 AM
Last summer I worked for a short period of time at the Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis. One of the first displays you see upon purchasing your ticket in the foyer is a legend under glass dubbed "What''s Blooming This Week?"
In the intense Midwest heat, I was surprised that anything besides cacti would be blooming. But there were several species in full bloom, healthy and some oddly beautiful. I discovered, to no surprise, the secret of having such thriving plants in the summer is constant care and maintenance.
That is what I saw Monday at Busy Bee Nursery in Macon. At the nursery there were all of the usual plants and flowers that do well in spring and early summer, but some seem to have dried out or gone to seed by August.
The container gardens were bulging and oversized, full of impatiens, Jew plants, begonias and all sorts of other garden wonders. As I walked into one of the net-covered areas, I smelled sweet basil and brushed against some aromatic rosemary. I was surprised to see such healthy plants at this time of year.
Fred and Karla Ensz, owners of Busy Bee, took over the nursery and lawn care service in February 2006.
"I''ve always enjoyed working with plants," said Fred. "At my last job, before we started managing Busy Bee, I was more in the maintenance end of the lawn care business."
As a matter of fact, Fred enjoys working with plants so much, Busy Bee Nursery has grown into Ensz Lawn Service.
He spent five years doing mission work in Guatemala before assuming his new role as business owner in Macon.
"Karla and I were looking for a family business for our five children," he said. "This has worked out well for that purpose."
Although the people who live in and around Macon can drive to larger nurseries in nearby cities, many have told Fred and Karla they appreciate having a place there in town.
The family starts planting in January and by the end of March, things are beginning to happen.
"Some early birds like to walk through the greenhouses before the plants have really established themselves. That''s okay with us," said Fred. "We welcome them."
The peak season for Busy Bee, and for most other nurseries in this part of the country, runs from early April through Mother''s Day. In mid-July Busy Bee offers a 30 percent discount on everything -- plants, flowers, shrubs, ornaments and everything else.
"July and August are really dead months for us," said Fred, "so we offer this discount as an incentive to help clear some of our inventory."
There are three greenhouses at Busy Bee, and the Enszs admitted that they have maxed out on their growing capacity. They plan to move the entire facility to a site on Highway 45 South and to increase the size of the nursery.
"Better visibility," said Fred.
"We will have a gift shop with the nursery," said Karla, "and will sell candles, soaps, lotions, games, dishes, bowls and all sorts of similar items.
"We get a lot of requests," she added, "to prepare container gardens for people. They bring us their empty containers and we fill them up with all kinds of combinations of plants ... People know us for our bulbs and fresh flower seeds ... and herbs."
I saw an unusual red-leafed banana plant swaying in the hot breeze, and a cowboy boot planter that would fit Paul Bunyan. There were so many bees visiting the bright purple blooms on some basil that I wondered how there could possibly be a shortage of them. The geraniums were as bright red as they are in early summer.
Busy Bee is located at 7754 Elon Road. If you are heading south on Highway 45, take the first left after the Oak Tree Inn. You will see the Busy Bee sign on the right. Take the first right and go about a mile. It''s on the left.
Their hours are 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m., September through June. The hours during July and August are from 9 a.m. until noon. They may be reached by telephone at 662-726-2222.
John Dorroh is a semi-retired high school science teacher, who writes a business column for The Dispatch.
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