Jessica Kaiser, Sidney (NE) Sun-Telegraph
(Created: Thursday, October 02, 2008)
SIDNEY – Just seven miles outside of Sidney is a little piece of heaven. Lush gardens – filled with perennials, annuals, vegetables, herbs and spices – cover what was once a desolate Nebraska prairie.
In fact, these beautiful gardens are why owners of Ricky and Lucy’s Greenhouse are receiving a nomination for a Nebraska tourism award.
Greenhouse owners, Teri and Dan Wolff are contenders for the Nebraska Travel and Tourism Award for Outstanding Nature Tourism Entity.
Located at 11732 Road 32, the now 20-plus gardens opened in 2003 and the Wolffs have continued growing their business for the past five years.
“We have created these beautiful gardens,” Teri Wolff said. “My grandma and I gardened together. Having a greenhouse was always a big interest.”
The Wolffs began renovating old barns and buildings to make a place for growing houses and gardens. Teri said they started with just a chicken house and the plantings continued, using other structures on their land for specific plants.
They even grow poinsettias, starting them in August so they are ready to be harvested around Thanksgiving.
Products range from organic, dried herbs and spices to fruit trees and organic cleaning products.
Recently, Ricky and Lucy’s Greenhouse has been working with the Cheyenne County Visitors Committee on ways to make the gardens an attraction for tourism in Cheyenne.
In fact, tourism director Ramona Joyce of the visitors committee was a part of nominating Ricky and Lucy’s for the prestigious award.
Joyce said the greenhouse was nominated for “ecotourism and what they do … it’s good for the environment and good for the body.”
She said nominations for awards can come from the community or visitors committee.
“They took an old farm and turned into a great place,” Joyce said.
The Wolffs refer to their creation as a “lush oasis.”
Agri-tourism development consultant Karen Kollars said the greenhouse “provides a unique experience for guests.”
Kollars – a Sidney resident – is a consultant for the Nebraska Division of Travel and Tourism.
“It’s a good place to just take a stroll or read a book,” she said. For the greenhouse, “It’s not just about raising plants.”
She said there is a serenity to the streams and fountains.
Kollars said it is “nature-friendly” and that the Wolffs try to run their operations as efficiently as possibly.
“They show you how to process your herbs,” she said. “They take it a step further.”
“We make 70 herb and spice blends,” Wolff said.
The Wolffs said they hope their love of nature and educating the public will guide them in their process to develop as an ecotourism attraction.
Teri Wolff said she thinks that business has been hurt by the economy, especially the high price of fuel.
She said they are working hard to make their gardens a stopping point for visitors.
The gardens have been selected as one of the “things to do while visiting Sidney/Cheyenne County.”
Ricky and Lucy’s Greenhouse is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the winter months.