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Kelly's Cottage Garden is in full bloom

"Earth laughs in flowers," Ralph Waldo Emerson once observed.

Kelly's Cottage Garden is adding considerable joviality to the planet this spring.

Kelly Sanquist's signature moss baskets have been in an evolutionary stage for about a decade.

She and her mom, Noel Moore, were inspired by Martha Stewart's television tutelage a few years ago. "Let's do this," Kelly told her mom.

Husband Todd constructed a greenhouse for her and "we went from there."

The greenhouse became her laboratory; her "experiments" germinating rave reviews from friends and family - her initial clientele.

Mike and Tom Hafner served as her tutors and mentors. "If I had a problem, I'd call them," she said. "They've been great."

Business burgeoned and this spring it's official: "It's my first year as a business."

No simple mix of blooms evolves in her baskets and window boxes. She's taken "pots" to the next level; each is a masterwork, grandiose flora spiced with a bit of whimsy.

"I've done some homework," she said. Her baskets and boxes are tailored to meet the needs of busy summer residents, designed to "look good with the least amount of work."

Waiting for the basket to flourish is a thing of the past. "I have stuff that looks great right off the bat," she said, noting, it's a "major convenience" for people opening summer homes Memorial Day.

Moss baskets - 16, 18 and 20 inches in diameter - are her signature works, but clients may also bring containers and pots for her to work her wizardry.

Kelly's Cottage Garden greenhouses also hold a variety of annuals, grasses and coleus - in every shade and shape imaginable. Sanquist admits to a penchant for coleus' colorful, variegated leaves. Perennials are also available.

Family members have been "so wonderful," she said. Their time and talents have been integral to her horticultural endeavor.

Kelly's Cottage Garden opens at 9 a.m., seven days a week.

Head six miles east on Highway 34 from Park Rapids to 209th Avenue, a mile past Dorset Corner. Head south and watch for a bike bedecked in blooms, a "petal pusher" awaits.

Sanquist will fete Mother's Day with a Spring Flower Fling, catered goodies sating appetites.

She may be reached at 218-821-6122.