Wendy Youk, owner of Aunt Bee’s Floral Garden Center and Gifts in Marion, was surprised one evening when she saw her business listed online as one of the top 10 best garden centers and nurseries in Kansas.
“I was excited, and I felt privileged to see it, but I didn’t really know how it came about,” she said.
While looking at Facebook, Youk said there are suggested pages to visit, and she decided to view one of those having to do with nurseries and garden centers.
“As I was reading it, I told my husband, ‘oh my gosh,’ we are in there!” she said.
“The lady who wrote about this appears to be a freelance writer.”
One thing Youk said she did notice is that a lot of top 10 articles on a variety of subjects in Kansas were critiqued.
Anything from best restaurants and appetizers to kid-friendly dentists, tattoo parlors and everything in-between.
No special prize
Youk said she didn’t receive any trophy or notable compensation—except for the good feeling it gave her to be recognized.
“I’ve been in business for 11 years,” she said “and have always had the greenhouse, nursery and gift items. The clothing came in last.”
For more than 50 years, and at the same location, this has always been a floral shop.
“The previous owner was Julie Jantz,” she said.
Spring is Youk’s favorite time of the year.
“We are glad to serve people, especially in the greenhouse, and we enjoy being outside,” she said.
It’s also a busy time of the year with proms, garden and flower planting getting underway, she said.
Carley Stapleford, a senior at Hillsboro High School, has worked at the shop for the past four years and has worked her way up.
“I can do a lot, but I still need help on some things,” she said.
In FFA, Stapleford said she’s won district, but this year she went to state, and in June will be heading to the national level based on activities in the store, the greenhouse and a garden.
“Carley has a home garden, and is president of the Marion/Florence community garden, too, receiving the diversified horticulture award,” Youk said.
Youk added that Stapleford is “very deserving of her award and is looking forward to state competition.”
Although Stapleford enjoys working at the shop, she wants to stay in the agricultural field, but more on the business side.
Other employees helping Youk include Denise Matz and Jennifer Sawyer.
During different times of the year, Youk said she has help for Valentine’s Day, Mothers Day, Memorial Day, births, funerals and many other occasions.
Memorial Day is busy for the shop, Youk said, because they are delivering a lot of flowers and planters to graves and cemeteries.
“We deliver quite a bit because a lot of people live outside the area,” she said. “We have two cemeteries in Hillsboro, two at Florence and cemeteries in Marion, Lincolnville, Ramona and Durham.”
Although they aren’t always able to go out in the country to meet everyone’s needs because the roads could be difficult, Youk said they do what they can.
“We are the only flower shop in the county, but along with having the best arrangements, we also want to provide the best selection of flowering plants and delicious vegetable plants,” she said.
Youk was born and raised in Marion County.
The other nine garden centers recognized by AmericanTowns Media, written by Cindy Lockstone include:
◼ Grassland Gardens Nursery and Flower Farm, Miltonvale.
◼ Henry’s Plant Farm, Lecompton.
◼ Grimm’s Gardens, Hiawatha.
◼ Arnold’s Greenhouse, Le Roy.
◼ Ark City Greenhouses, Ark City.
◼ Garden Gate Etc. and Garden Center, Norton.
◼ Johnson’s Garden Center, Wichita.
◼ Ward’s Garden Center, Garden City.
◼ The Garden, Pittsburg.