Monday, April 9, 2012

Arnold's Greenhouse ~ Le Roy, Kansas

For 110 years, Arnolds have lived just west of the little town of Le Roy, Kansas. George and Rita's children were the fourth generation of Arnolds to grow up on the family farm. Their children and grandchildren now work alongside them running Arnold's Greenhouse, a 120 acre paradise for gardeners and those who dream of gardening.

George Arnold was a farmer in the 1970s. In 1977, he built a 10' x 16' hobby greenhouse and sold a couple hundred of dollars worth of cabbage, broccoli and miscellaneous vegetables to the local Duckwall's store. His hobby grew, and by the 1980s, George and Rita were selling a wide variety of plants to wholesale markets. In 1997, he built the current 60' x 80' steel building and attached 120' x 288' greenhouse that is now the centerpiece of Arnold's Greenhouse.

"I don't farm anymore," George says. "And this place is more retail than wholesale today."

EALFN members get a tour of the greenhouse from George Arnold.
My first visit to Arnold's was with the Emporia Area Local Food Network, a group that works to promote local foods and grower resources and opportunities in Lyon County Kansas. George walked us through the enormous greenhouse, which is beautifully marked with signs designating shade loving vs. sun seeking perennials and annuals, all alphabetically arranged by scientific name. It was spring open house week at Arnold's and the weather was actually spring-like, a bit cooler than the unusually warm days we've been having in Kansas.

The seed room at Arnold's.
George's tour took us past the seed room. Everything from vegetables, herbs, trees, shrubs, vines and aquatic plants; if you want to grow it, there's a good chance you'll find it at Arnold's.

The nursery: here strawberry shoots are shown emerging from the soil in this steamy warm room.
About 40 employees help George and his family grow and cultivate the approximately 3,200 varieties of plants offered for sale at Arnold's Greenhouse.

Our group was only able to stay for about an hour to tour and shop at Arnold's. The place is created with a much longer stay in mind, however. It is ripe for day dreaming and making plans. Just stepping foot in the place, my mind started envisioning a vegetable garden, as well as flower beds, fruit trees and landscaping around my place. Arnold's is family friendly, as well, complete with a picnic area, a Kansas grass maze for the kids, and chickens!

Plants are transferred into containers for sale at the greenhouse.

Need a tomato? Chose from a wide variety.

A display of plants inside the main greenhouse at Arnold's.

Arnold's is easy to reach from most any direction. It's about an hour from Emporia and about an hour and a half from Topeka, Lawrence or the Kansas City area.


Arnold's Greenhouse 
1430 Hwy 57 S.E.  LeRoy, KS 66857

Spring HoursMarch, April, and May
Monday through Saturday 9am - 7:30pm
Closed on Sundays. 



Arnold's also sells garden tools, garden art, decorate pots and  garden furniture.  They also host a variety of gardening and how-to classes. See their website for current information.




3 comments:

  1. Nice story & beautiful greenhouse! I'm ready to head there right now!

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  2. Larry and I love Arnold's. It's a wonderful place to go. We go there every year at least once, sometimes more often. We took a hypertufa class there too. They offer some great classes.

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  3. Wow, I'm impressed at the detail you captured in this story, Tracy -- I had no idea you were there as a journalist!

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