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Written by JOE POIRIER   
Wednesday, 06 September 2017 18:29

Gardening, floral classes now part of Fransee’s abundance of offerings

After 71 years of business, Gene Fransee & Son Nursery & Landscaping is branching out its services to assist those who want to learn how to use their green thumb by hosting gardening and floral design classes.
    “We’re trying to expand our horizons over here,” John Fransee, owner of the company, said. “We want to expand the mom-and-pop situation that we’re in to become a full-fledged garden center.”
    The nursery operates on 60 acres of land in the Town of Saukville and offers its customers an array of trees, shrubs, evergreens, perennials and annuals. The company also provides landscaping supplies and does dry-brick work for projects such as patios, retaining walls and walkways.
    In May, the business hired a former employee, Barb Sparr, who started working for the company’s former garden  store when she was 18 years old. After working in the villa, she started her own herb business called The Hummingbird Farm.         Sparr’s return as a gardening and floral design specialist was spurred by her desire to teach others her gardening secrets.
    “I want to bring all of my expertise after being in the business for 37 years,” she said. “I love teaching and growing.”
    Sparr will host her first class on Sept. 18 with the Random Lake Garden Club.
    “We’re looking into doing classes for the holidays by doing hands-on demonstrations,” Sparr said. “We’ve been approached to do a class on Thanksgiving arrangements. For Christmas, we’re going to incorporate how to make boxwood trees and do a class on wreath making so people can decorate their own wreath.”
    According to Sparr, fall is the perfect time to start learning how to decorate with plants because of the plethora of pumpkins, corn stalks, mums and straw bales available.
    “Fall is a great time for working in the garden — the weather is cool and it doesn’t put any stress on the plants,” she said.
    The classes that are to be offered can range from groups of 10 to 30 people and are open to gardening clubs and the general public.
    Sparr said the idea to start hosting classes arose from the growing popularity of creative parties held by women, such as painting parties for those celebrating birthdays or alternative bachelorette parties.
    “Our classes are also going to incorporate floral arrangements for special events like weddings,” Sparr said. “I want to make the classes exciting and interactive. I’d also love to do pot-container gardening classes. I have a pile of dirt and they can bring their pots in and do their thing and leave the mess for us to clean up — you reap what you sow.”
    Interest has been strong thus far,
    “That’s what Barb brings to the table. She’s been getting quite a few calls,” Fransee said. “We want to run with it and see how far it goes.”
    Sparr also added that she hopes the classes will draw more attention to the company.
    “The classes will bring another aspect to the nursery here. We’re already very big in landscaping and selling trees, shrubs, annuals and perennials,” she said. “We’re kind of hidden here. There’s a lot of repeat business but there’s so much room for this company to grow. We want to make more people aware that we’re here to help them with their gardening needs.”
    Sparr is also interested in sharing her knowledge from her previous experience working in the herb industry.
    “We’re going to talk about herbs and how to dry and process them for cooking and teas,” she said. “We’re also going to demonstrate how you can mix your own potpourris and then we’re going to show how to do dried flower arranging.”
   

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