Viki McNish, owner of Zinnia's Garden Shop, has opened her six greenhouses, at 3730 N.E. Seward, to the public.
Thad Allton/The Capital-Journal
Business is blooming at the edge of the Oakland community. Viki McNish
has opened her
greenhouses at 3730 N.E. Seward to the public. McNish
grows vegetables, flowers and decorative plants on the 14-acre site just off the Oakland Expressway.Up until this month, her
plants have been available for sale at the English Garden, 1275 S.W. Pembroke Lane, and Zinnia's Garden Shop
, 515 S.W. Washburn.
"My specialty is planting in funky containers," McNish
has plants growing in baskets, metal buckets, old coffee pots, tea kettles, watering cans and an assortment of other "junk" she
picks up at auctions or from people who bring it to her
"I'm a true junker at heart," McNish
photo: businessViki McNish
stood in one of the six greenhouses. Thad Allton/The Capital-Journal McNish lived in Oklahoma City and worked as a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines for 17 years before getting married and moving to Topeka in 1995.
Without a large airport in Topeka, McNish
had to find something else to occupy her
took part in the master gardener program at Kansas State University
and got involved in gardening.
"Every year you learn something else," she
has operated a small nursery, Zinnia's Greenhouse, at Gage Shopping Center at S.W. 13th and Gage every spring since 1997.She
conducts that operation under a 90-day permit from April to June each year.She
expects to be open there for the season starting Thursday.
"For the first couple of months I'd buy from other greenhouses," McNish
said."Then I got smart and started growing for myself." McNish
grows flowers for florists and vegetables, including lettuce, carrots, tomatoes and onions.She
has grown cabbage for wholesale to larger companies. She
is modeling her
business after Lambert Greenhouse and Nursery, 3036 N.W. Docking Road.
"Sometimes I get scared and think, 'Oh my gosh, I'm not going to sell all of my plants,'" McNish
has two employees, Paula and Alberto Gonzales, who live nearby.