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Colors of autumn are prevalent at River City Greenhouse


Tim Glascock has owned and operated River City Greenhouse since 1984. The business has been located at on Route HH, three miles west of Grand View Burial Park, since 1989. Photo contributed by Chris Smith.


While surrounded by a collection of 600 fall mum plants that are just beginning to show their seasonal colors, Tim Glascock of River City Greenhouse is already looking ahead to spring.

In these last days of September, Glascock, who since 1989 has operated his retail business on Route HH, three miles west of Grand View Burial Park, is preparing for spring.

“I’m taking cuttings on a few things,” he said early this week, such as the Bougainvillea, a tropical plant. “They take quite a while to grow. I don’t run my heat high enough (in the greenhouses) in the winter, so I start them in the summer.” They will be ready for his spring customers. “I probably sell 150 to 200 baskets of them in the spring. They are easy for customers to take care of and bloom all summer and are quite colorful. They can be taken into the house and kept as a green plant or put in dormancy, and brought back out next spring. Most people don’t want to deal with that, so they buy new ones every year. I probably have 25 or 30 customers come back” each year to buy a new Bougainvillea basket.

He also custom grows Mandevilia, another tropical plant, “a viney flower with a great big green leaf, which comes in pink, red, yellow.”

In addition to the traditional vegetable plants, bedding plants and baskets, “I try to grow a lot of stuff that customers can’t buy anywhere else,” he said.

Such is the life of a year-round greenhouse grower and retail merchant.

Glascock has spent his entire adult life working with horticulture; as a young man he was employed at Donnie Zeiger’s landscape operation, and for a year after that he worked for Freiling Floral.

After deciding to go into business for himself, he built his first greenhouse in 1983, and opened River City Greenhouse in 1984. The business has been at its present location since 1989.

“I have nine greenhouse structures; I will put up two or three more this fall if we can get them up. Right now I have about 15,000 square feet under cover,” Glascock said, and he hopes to add another 4,000 square feet this fall.

These greenhouses will house a variety of perennials. He also sells shrubs and some trees.

He is assisted at the greenhouse by his sister, Chris Smith, who taught at Hannibal’s Eugene Field School, retiring in 2000. She makes up the flower baskets. “I help out mostly transplanting, watering and then selling,” she said. Their mother, Leta Glascock, worked at the greenhouse until she was in her mid 80s. She’s 96 now and wishes she could still be working, Chris said.

River City Greenhouse is open seven days a week.

“I’m doing this until I die,” Tim Glascock, who turned 71 this year, said. "I don’t want to retire. I enjoy people, and I’m always glad to see my customers.

“I can remember when I was 20 and 30,” he said, and would meet people in their 70s. He thought, “‘Man they’re old.’ But I don’t feel old. I have aches and pains, but who doesn’t? I have no intention of retiring. As long as I can get up here every morning and get things done I’m going to keep doing it.”

A specialty at River City Greenhouse is the Bougainvillea, a tropical plant that blooms all summer. Tim Glascock, owner, said that he likes to offer plants that can’t be found at other locations. Photo contributed by Chris Smith.


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