In 1974, Del and Bobbie Sease built their first two greenhouses from the ground up, using the steel pipe and cypress rafters from old greenhouses they had dismantled by hand in Muncie and Logansport. Del had grown up with a love for plants, a quality he inherited from his mother. After his military service, he was hired as an assistant grower for a large wholesale greenhouse range in New Jersey, and then as a head grower for another large wholesale range in Illinois. He was then ready to embark on the exciting (and sometimes risky) path of entrepreneurship. Sease’s Greenhouse was born on April 1, 1975. By 1976, Del had added more greenhouses for a total of 18,000 square feet of growing space. Five of these greenhouses would serve faithfully until their dismantling in 2008. In 1978 the Seases erected their first new gutter-connected greenhouses, adding additional growing space. Sease’s Greenhouse was now Sease’s Greenhouses, Inc. Primarily a wholesale business and open year round, Sease’s provided foliage, annuals, specialty crops, poinsettias, mums, and hanging baskets to area garden centers, nurseries, grocery stores, and chain stores such as the Ayr-Way stores in Indianapolis and Fort Wayne. Only about 25% of Sease’s crops were sold to the retail market. At its peak in 1990, Sease’s Greenhouse, Inc. comprised 45,000 square feet of growing area.
In 1991, the Seases sold their thriving business, which operated as Green Valley Growers until 1996. In 1999, Del and Bobbie purchased the business back, and SeaseScapes Greenhouses and Gardens was born from the rubble and weeds of the forsaken property. In restoring this business, Del and Bobbie both felt a fervent sense of responsibility to the community—providing quality products in an aesthetically pleasing environment. And God blessed them for a second time with success. Soon, SeaseScapes was “on the grow” again, operating this time primarily as a retail business. Display gardens were added to enhance the customer’s experience and to provide real-life examples of plant performance. In 2008, SeaseScapes incorporated and changed its name to Garden Gate Greenhouse, Inc.
As much as or perhaps even more than its commitment to the community and to maintaining a standard of excellence, Garden Gate Greenhouse, Inc. also serves as a springboard for young people to learn and exercise the principles of a good work ethic. One of those young people was Marlin Carpenter, who joined SeaseScapes at its inception in 1999. As his school bus passed the abandoned greenhouses every day, he felt the spark of an idea that would ignite into a dream: he decided in his heart that he would “buy that greenhouse range someday.” Working first as a high school apprentice, he remained with the business and watched his dream become a reality as he took ownership of the business in 2011. Marlin studied business at Indiana University of Kokomo and is a Master Gardener. He has helped tremendously to bring Garden Gate up to date technologically and is committed to improving all facets of the business. Marlin is responsible for birthing this Web site. He has pursued his dream with hard work and determination, the benchmarks of the entrepreneurial spirit. Marlin says, "I am grateful to Del and Bobbie for bringing me to this point and for their continued mentorship. Most of all, I am grateful to our God for blessing us with such a beautiful creation, which Garden Gate endeavors to share with the community."
Garden Gate Greenhouse, Inc. has won the Miami County “Garden Center of the Year” award for several years in a row. We are a long-standing member of the Indiana Flower Growers Association and the Ohio Florists Association. Through related affiliations with Purdue University and Ohio State University, we stay informed and up to date on growing trends and cultivars.
In the summer and fall of 2008, we embarked on a huge renovation project. First, we dismantled the front range (our five oldest greenhouses) and replaced them with a newer, more spacious structure. By the way, many of those old cypress rafters are still good and are being recycled into benches! Our second big project was to close the Highway 19 entrance and move our entrance to 500S. This new entrance has separate “enter” and “exit” lanes. We also have expanded the parking lot, added a loading zone, and moved the nursery to a more convenient area.
Garden Gate Greenhouse, Inc. now comprises over 65,000 square feet of covered growing/display area. We provide a full range of spring bedding and vegetable plants, specialty pots, hanging baskets, combination planters, foliage plants, and perennials. We also carry a small but excellent selection of flowering shrubs and trees in our newly located and expanded nursery area. We grow 5,000 fall mums in 8” pots, along with another 1,000 in 41⁄2” pots. We continue to be committed to educating the public and fostering a love for the environment. Our exterior display gardens enhance the atmosphere of the greenhouse range, as well as provide examples of cultivars in a natural environment. We offer free on-site informational workshops in the spring and fall. A favorite activity has been our “On the Road, Again” bus tours during the summer. Thus far, we have sponsored six bus tours to areas of interest to gardeners.