Successful Gardens: More to gardening than petunias

Patti Carpenter

Spring is in the air, along with many changes to the offerings at Successful Gardens in Lovell. Gary Emmett is now taking over management of the facility from his brother Alvin, who is retiring after many years of running the business in order to spend more time with his grandchildren.
The business is still a family affair with Gary’s wife, Brenda, and son, Chandler, on board, along with about a dozen full- and part-time employees.
Emmett plans to make education a priority, offering a series of free classes, YouTube videos, a newsletter and a website chock-full of information for his customers.
“My goal is to have our customers be successful in their gardening experience,” he said.
He has changed the name of the business from Greenhouse Gardens to Successful Gardens to reflect that goal.
“The classes offer a local resource for growing in our unique Wyoming climate,” said Emmett, adding that the growing conditions of Wyoming soils present their own challenge. “We have everything here from sand to gumbo to clay to rocks.”
Emmett noted that the topics for the in-person classes are generated from local input.
“If one customer has a question, others usually have similar questions,” he said.
So far, six classes, funded by the Board of Cooperative Education Services (BOCES) and Lovell Recreation, are scheduled. The first class held on February 29 at the Lovell Annex building on the topic of seed starting was well attended with standing room only, prompting Emmett to move subsequent classes to the middle school, which offers a larger venue. The second class on growing fruit held on March 14 also had a large turnout, as did a class on pruning held March 21.
“We actually had to turn people away at the first class,” explained Emmett. “We shouldn’t have to do that again in the larger venue.”
The remaining classes on Thursday evenings in the Lovell Middle School commons area, each from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., will be “Healthy Lawns in Wyoming Soils” on March 28, “Flowers Galore!” on April 11 and a class specific to successfully growing roses in Wyoming’s harsh landscapes on April 25.
Emmett also offers a series of free gardening videos available on YouTube. The videos are less area-specific to Wyoming than the in-person classes. The more than 40 videos include topics like “When to Dig Potatoes,” “Best Peppers for Homemade Salsa,” “How to Control Fungus Gnats on Houseplants,” “How to Plant a Hanging Basket with Wave Petunias,” “How to Create a Gnome Garden” and more.
With thousands of followers on his YouTube channel, Emmett plans to post more how-to videos, including recordings of the in-person classes at some point.
“It’s fun to interact with people around the world and to hear other success stories,” he said.
Emmett is also developing a newsletter. He said the newsletter will contain more product-specific information and local gardening tips. Customers can sign up for the newsletter at
“The gardening newsletter will include timely bits of information that is specific to our area,” he said.
Emmett has also published three books in electronic format that are available on Amazon Kindle, including books on seed starting, roses and tulips.
Emmett said, though the greenhouses are “technically” open, the current offerings include only seed potatoes, house plants and garden supplies. He expects, “Mother Nature willing,” to have other plants available in early April and plenty of rose plants available in time for Mother’s Day gifts.
He noted that “the elusive black Baccara” rose will be available for the first time this season, adding that the variety is “considered to be the darkest rose there is.” He also plans to offer a wider variety of perennials this year, including several varieties of Hosta plants, which are the National Gardening Association’s plant of the year.
In addition to plants, Emmett is offering an assortment of gift items, as well, like candles, wind chimes, stepping stones and garden décor.
“We’re offering a lot more than just plants anymore,” he said.
Successful Gardens is located at 74 Shoshone Avenue in Lovell.