Nestled on the Nebraska Prairie between Fremont and Hooper is an unexpected treasure.
With a plan in mind, Ken and Sue Fase purchased their acreage in 2004 and set to work on their dream. As owners of TLC Country Floral the Fase’s grow, harvest and dry flowers from gardens located throughout their property. Sue, a second generation florist and horticulturist uses the preserved blooms to create unusual and unique floral designs which are sold in their shop located on the property.
A gardener at heart, Sue knew she wanted to capitalize on the beautiful mature trees on their acreage. Rather than creating one large garden space she designed numerous gardens throughout the 5½ acre property.
A potting shed, rose garden, gazebo, cutting garden and granite patio are among the features of the landscape. The Fase’s have planted over 65 additional trees and specimen shrubs. Each year over 120 container gardens are planted to add seasonal color.
Sue shares a love of unusual plants with her sister, Sally Bronson, and each year they search for unique plants to share with people visiting the shop and gardens.
The addition of a greenhouse in the fall of 2008 has allowed the Fase’s to expand their offering of unusual plants to their customers. Sue’s parents, Jim and Sue Spitalnick, are recently retired from the greenhouse business and assist in the shop and greenhouse.
Sue uses many processes to dry flowers including air drying and freeze drying.
The air drying method of preservation has been popular since the Victorian Era. Flowers such as Statice Sinuata and Gomphrena are harvested while fresh and hung in a temperature controlled environment to dry naturally. Air dried flowers adorn the ceiling at TLC Country Floral.
The freeze dry method of preservation requires specialized equipment. Flowers are harvested at their peak, pre-treated and frozen. The freeze drying chamber is set to 30 degrees below zero; the flowers are quickly inserted and placed under a vacuum. As the temperature is raised, the flowers slowly thaw and the vacuum removes the moisture from the chamber. Freeze drying perfectly preserves a bloom retaining the shape, color and sometimes even the fragrance of the flower. When freeze dried, vegetables such as Chile Peppers and Miniature Pumpkins look as though they have been freshly picked from the garden.
Some flowers are preserved in a SandVac machine. The SandVac preserves flowers with a material similar to Silica Gel. The flowers are pre-treated, buried in the material and placed into the machine under a vacuum. The Sandvac method of preservation works well for flowers such as Sunflowers, Gerbera Daisies and Daylilies.
Designs at TLC Country Floral reflect today’s modern styles and colors. They are artfully displayed among vintage treasures, furniture and garden art. The natural designs are unified with today’s green consciousness.
TLC Country Floral is open during their Spring and Fall Open Houses or by appointment. The Spring Open House will be held May 1, 2 and 3. Shop and garden tours are available by appointment during the growing season. For more information contact Sue Fase at (402) 654-2058 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.