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What began as a “Plants for Sale” sign has become two greenhouses, several cold frames and a cabin that houses garden art and collectibles.

grandbaby was born. She had to wait two months until she was able to visit the family. Sandy has also missed out on the weddings of nieces and nephews over the years. Since she comes from a family of four siblings and her husband from a brood of 10, there is at least one wedding a year to go to. Their families have adapted though, and Sandy says they get lots of company throughout the summer. Her grandkids love to visit, spending most of their time outside with the critters and of course, “playing in the dirt” with Grandma. Sandy didn’t make the leap from growing her own gardens to owning a greenhouse all at once. As a matter of fact, she got married, had three sons and worked for the Brainerd School District for many years before her husband, feeling crowded by all the plants in their small home said, “Sandy, why don’t you get a greenhouse?” And she did. Starting with a 30 by 40 frame. Laughing, Sandy says “little did I know what I was getting into when I stuck my homemade sign ‘Plants for Sale’ at the end of the driveway.” That was eight years ago, and since then she has added two more greenhouses, several “cold frames” and a cabin that came from a nearby lake home in sections that had been sawed apart by her husband.

The cabin holds local items for sale such as candles, wind chimes and collectibles. Sandy also has been able to hire three young people to help out, especially during planting season. But she is quick to add that Country Roots has been a “family business” since day one. Her son, Reid, and his significant other, Molly, who live on an adjoining property have been indispensable, from keeping the driveway clear, doing plumbing and excavating to helping out at the cash register located in a recycled corn crib! Her son, Chad, who owns his own greenhouse near Bemidji pitched in with the wiring and heating systems and youngest son, Trent, built the lattice shade house for perennials needing a cooler environment. Her sister Gail also gets into the act by going with Sandy in the off season on buying expeditions to estate sales, garage sales and even Rochester to a huge flea market. This is where Sandy finds the fun collectibles that she sells or makes into creative planters. She calls herself a spendthrift and loves a bargain that she can bring home and showcase. For example, an old galvanized washtub sits adrift in front of the “cabin.” Sandy says she hasn’t found the “right spot” for it yet, but by the time she opens for business, I’m sure it will be filled with a colorful assortment of

petunias or zinnias, two of her old-time favorites. Country Roots is located off Hwy 18 between Brainerd and Highway 6, which means a lot of Sandy’s customers come from surrounding lakes, such as Mille Lacs and Bay Lake but she also has loyal local support. Sandy shared this touching story of a longtime customer who overheard an elderly couple discussing the hanging baskets, but how they couldn’t afford to purchase one. The customer approached Sandy, supplying the money telling her to let the couple to pick out the basket they wanted. It’s this story and others like it that keeps Sandy going, even when her days are 12 hours long and only cold cereal awaits her for supper. Sandy says her favorite customers are the young families. It puts a smile on her face to watch the children pick out their flowers and veggies, creating the spark from which their own “country roots” may grow.


Annie Bandel

Annie Bandel, grew up in the Twin Cities, without country roots, but appreciates gardening. SUMMER 2012 | her voice


Her Voice - Summer 2012  

• Sandy’s Country Roots - Here’s a nursery east of Brainerd whose owner re-creates her “country roots.” • Reliving History, One Bead At A Ti...

Her Voice - Summer 2012  

• Sandy’s Country Roots - Here’s a nursery east of Brainerd whose owner re-creates her “country roots.” • Reliving History, One Bead At A Ti...