Peeters family adds green to Butler

When John and Mary Peeters decided to purchase a Menahga greenhouse they werent entirely sure what they were getting into, but knew it was something that felt right and they could make it work.

When John and Mary Peeters decided to purchase a Menahga greenhouse they werent entirely sure what they were getting into, but knew it was something that felt right and they could make it work.

For them the interest in plants was always there and recently the opportunity came up to purchase Branhams Greenhouse and move it to Butler, where it is now called Red Barn Greenhouse.

John has an applied science degree in horticulture, worked at greenhouses in college, has a good knowledge of agronomy and is a longtime farmer. Mary grew up on a Butler farm - the same place where their new business now sits - and has always been interested in flowers and planting.

Carl and Shirley Branham operated their greenhouse for 30 years and had been looking to get out of the business when Mary went to see them last June. She started talking to Carl about maybe buying the place. With this idea in mind she went back to John and pitched him the idea. She asked him: Do you think we could run a greenhouse? And without much hesitation, John simply answered, Yeah.

Although to make this work Mary needed to give up her job of 21 years as operating supervisor at Perham Memorial Hospital - and the good pay that goes along with the position - to run the greenhouse she says the decision wasnt that difficult.


They have seven children, with 2-year-old Jack the youngest. Mary felt her job kept her away from home too much and it was time to make a change.

John farms the Butler area and both will be able to dedicate their time to making the greenhouse successful.

It just kind of all fell into place. I always wanted to do this kind of stuff, Mary said. Im really excited but its also that nerve-wracking of starting something new. As soon as John said yes I knew if we had the idea he could make it work.

John and Mary closed the deal with Branhams in August with a handshake and by October pretty much had everything moved into place. They purchased four metal greenhouses and moved them to Marys folks place just south of downtown Butler.

The initial plan was to work with the Branhams for one year to learn more about the business and get a good solid background before taking over. The Branhams wanted out as soon as possible and the Peeters knew it was now or never. The Branhams gave John and Mary their order list, to give them and idea what to purchase and continue to serve as valuable consultants.

Its kind of neat they helped us get started, Mary commented. We also helped them to retire.

In return, they named one of the greenhouses, Shirleys House, for which were told Shirley is pretty tickled about. Theres also Grandmas House, The Vegetable Patch, and a fourth unnamed house.

A grand opening is set for May 6, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., with a pig roast, root beer keg and music planned. People can register for door prizes and check out a huge variety of bedding plants, annuals, perennials, hanging baskets, vegetables and deck and patio planters. Coinciding with the Red Barn Greenhouse grand opening is Butler Days. Its not an official event yet but other activities will coincide with the opening.


Bette Ruther has Quilts and More a quarter mile north of the greenhouse, and Mary plans to send people that way when they are done at the Red Barn. Ladies from Holy Cross Catholic Church are also planning a rummage sale that day.

The Branhams established a high standard over the last 30 years and the Peeters say they plan to maintain that standard by offering a variety of quality plants at Red Barn Greenhouse. The Peeters kids came up with the Red Barn name, after the impressive structure that sits next to the greenhouses. The barn is used for storing 30 years of pots and trays purchased from the Branhams and will be turned into retail space for the greenhouse operation.

The greenhouses have been inspected and are up to code. In January John and Mary started planting geraniums, begonias and other flowers. They transplanted others 4-packs and bought plugs for hanging baskets. They have 40-45 varieties each of petunias, geraniums and pansies, with about 200 different types of plants overall. Red Barn Greenhouse has planters and window boxes for sale and will offer a recipe service where people can look through books and find pictures of arrangements for ideas. John says they plan to have a potting shed where people, after purchasing their flowers, can do some planting on site and leave the mess to us.

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