Bozeman Photography, Graphic & Web Design » Rosedale Gardens » Portfolio » Lotus Effects, LLC
Rosedale Gardens is a Livingston, MT greenhouse built in the 1940s that eventually fell into disrepair. Diane Gracey and Leanne Sudbeck recently brought the greenhouse back to life with beautiful landscape design and extensive renovations. Their hard work over the past year has made Rosedale Gardens a destination again, featuring Lola, the miniature rescue pig, a garden shed coffee shop, incredible plants, merchandising, and sustainable products. Using the natural light streaming through the greenhouse, we photographed Rosedale Garden’s newfound glory.
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ROSEDALE GARDENS

Livingston, Montana, has grown from a remote trading post on the Yellowstone River to establish itself as an international tourist destination just north of Yellowstone National Park. Boasting some of the best trout fishing anywhere, it’s attracted outdoor sportsmen, the film industry, artists, writers and musicians to one of the most scenic landscapes in the United States. Nestled in a quiet residential neighborhood, Rosedale Gardens has been a fixture of the Livingston community since the 1940s. Over the past few years it fell into disrepair and switched ownership. Purchased by two women whose cleaning business helped fund their dream of owning a nursery, Diane Gracey and Leanne Sudbeck have transformed the complex into a vibrant, thriving business over the past two years. It’s already adding to Livingston’s reputation, gaining traction to become a national greenhouse destination. The transformation is just that good.

Photographed and Written by Mikeal Béland
with by Diane Gracey & Leanne Sudbeck

 

Published in Rocky Mountain Gardening Magazine

“There was an ugly white lattice that you would picture under a trailer and mushrooms were growing out of the walls, literally,” Diane said. After 7 months of cleanup, extensive renovations brought new life to the 70-year-old greenhouse. Both women worked with contractors to utilize recycled metal and green materials to infuse the new furnishings. Everything was designed and refurbished with their personal touch.

“We introduced some newer plants. We really try to stick to our zone and offer things that are prolific here and able to withstand our crazy weather. People would come year after year knowing that everything was in the same place. The nursery should be explored and discovered. It’s not Albertsons. You don’t need to know where the milk section is. Just find it. It’s not feng shui to have the same things in the same place year after year. There’s a rotation to keep the greenhouses’ chakras open. By changing the entrance it’s now more of a decompression zone, where before you were hit with the most expensive things, so people had an immediate impression that this place is expensive. That’s not what you want. You want ideas when you walk in. [Customers] walk around and look because it’s inspiring; they came in wanting a petunia but walked out with a flat of something else,” Diane said.

 

Diane and Leanne both came to Livingston from the same county in Southern California. Their mothers went to the same college, and they even grazed paths at Rosedale Gardens working different years apart under previous owners, with Diane replacing Leanne, though the two never met until 8 years ago coaching volleyball at the local middle school.

Diane has been in the business for 30 years, designing plant beds for the Berkeley Marina Mariott and has worked in nurseries ever since. She always knew that she’d own Rosedale Gardens. Leanne grew up in the landscaping business with a grandfather, father and mother in the trade. She would go with her parents and help them on projects, knowing from an early age she wanted to be a landscaper. She moved to Livingston in 6th grade and eventually got a scholarship to attend MSU in Bozeman, earning a Bachelor’s in Horticulture with an option in Landscape Design.

 

“There’s a learning curve and a lot of responsibility to do things as naturally as possible. We don’t want to be part of the problem using neonicotinoids and being responsible for beehive collapse. When you’re in a commercial sense, things can get out of control really fast. Our big challenge this winter is to find alternatives to chemical control. There’s a certain amount of protection you need. It’s a fine line. This year we will be using biological control methods such as nematodes, predatory mites, and fungi, as well as biopesticides. Our attempt is to make Rosedale as organic as possible. Being the owner of a nursery is putting you at the forefront, walking the walk and really trying to backup what you believe. It’s hard. We try and use all the products we sell so we can tell people about them instead of putting it on the shelf and reading instructions. For a deer repellent we use Plantskydd because it’s the one that works. Why have 6 things to confuse everybody when we know this one works?”

One unique attraction that’s been added to Rosedale Gardens is Lola, a pet rescue pig from the local humane society. “She gets a lot of company from visitors who come just to see her, mostly children and families on their bikes. We built a pen and she rides in the car back and forth every day like a dog,” Leanne said.

 

Their next mission is to expand their mobile espresso machine and add outdoor furniture for the café to host events and different offerings, including music, parties, and receptions. New this year, they will be carrying a wide selection of medicinal herbs. Rosedale is also putting an emphasis on growing food. They intend to work with the local food bank by providing education and offering classes on how to grow food in a small space. “We will send them away with not only the knowledge, but with a package that contains everything they will need to start growing right away—seed potatoes, onion starts, lettuce seeds—to empower them to provide for themselves,” Diane said.

Their next mission is to expand their mobile espresso machine and add outdoor furniture for the café to host events and different offerings, including music, parties, and receptions. New this year, they will be carrying a wide selection of medicinal herbs. Rosedale is also putting an emphasis on growing food. They intend to work with the local food bank by providing education and offering classes on how to grow food in a small space. “We will send them away with not only the knowledge, but with a package that contains everything they will need to start growing right away—seed potatoes, onion starts, lettuce seeds—to empower them to provide for themselves,” Diane said.

 

Rosedale starts planting in February, the annuals wrap up by July 4 and people come in for perennials after the huge rush. Rosedale is open all summer and has seasonal offerings in the fall with pumpkins, mums, and bulbs. Each Christmas they offer trees and wreaths with handmade garland that’s become popular at local farmer’s markets.

 

“We want the experience to be that [the customers] came out with great information they could apply to their yard and have healthy strong plants. It’s a leisured experience, not a rushed experience,” Leanne said. There’s something unique happening at Rosedale Gardens all year round, enough to make this a destination for any gardener.