It’s a sunny afternoon in mid-May when I decided to visit Prevost Perennials in South Junction, MB. I’m greeted by the songs of birds, creeping vines, exotic fruits and potted flowers spilling out of every corner.
John and Margie Prevost started the greenhouse 24 years ago as a hobby – an excuse to do some creative landscaping.“We wanted to start a business where people would come and be instantly happy,” Prevost says. “So we started thinking about it, and came
up with the idea to do some gardening, landscaping of the property, and it would be a place where people could come in spring and everything would be green and colourful.”
On their three-acre property, Prevost’s support 20 different kinds of grapes, countless trees and shrubs. Their greenhouse is full of potted flowers and vegetable plants for sale. Hummingbirds make themselves at home in the greenhouse, landing on the full grown tree over which the greenhouse was built. It’s a haven for life and creativity.
“Our business is more of an extension of our own personal gardening experience,” Prevost says. “My wife is the heart of the business …she’s the one – as soon as customers come, they’re drawn right to her and they start telling stories. She’ll often take them on a tour of the yard to see certain plants.”
Outside, Prevost shows me some of the many trees growing on their property. Apples, plumbs and cherries, not to mention the maples and black walnut tree towering over their little pond. Then he shows me the vineyards and all the young grape plants he’s started in pots. You don’t usually see vineyards in this part of Canada, so I was intrigued. Then we looked at the smaller plants they tend for fun – I even got to try a fiddlehead!
“We are always trying new things,” Prevost says. “Slowly we’re trying to plant in our yard an area that we hope to be a nice fall display area. So we’ve got a number of red maples, and this year we’re putting some red oaks into there. Those are not plants that are native to this area, but slowly breeders are getting plants that are more hardy to these zones … Before we sell them to customers, we want to know that they can survive the winter.”
For example, Prevost has a couple of banana plants that are braving the Manitoba spring in the greenhouse, and a fig tree basking in the light of their living room window. They also have unique fruits like hascap berries and yellow raspberries. I get the feeling the Prevosts are living out a dream, not just running a business.
“We’re just in the business for having fun …We just love sharing those experiences with the public,” shares Prevost. “I really value small businesses in our region and our community. You don’t recognize how much a small business does as a service until they’re gone …I think the life blood of the community is the small business, and as much as we can to
support each other.”
My time at Prevost Perennials made me want to start gardening, and that’s really saying something! It’s incredible what can all be done in Manitoba’s climate.
You can check out Prevost Perennials on Facebook, or drive out for a visit. They’re only open in May, so the window is closing fast.
Thanks John and Margie for giving me a wonderful tour of their place!
(Also be sure to find the mini documentary posted to our Facebook page!)