It was 1979 and Suzanne Lafleur wanted to follow her dream of living in the country and having her own business – so she bought a property at 205 Fulford Road and scored a greenhouse from Slack Bros. in Waterloo to start Serres Lafleur.
Young Suzanne’s vision was to have an all natural greenhouse and nursery that would offer customers healthy, organically- grown annuals, perennials, vegetables and herbs.
Now into her third greenhouse, and her 40th year of producing some of the region’s finest plants, Suzanne says that she and her daughter Chantal Larose make great partners. “Chantal grew up in the greenhouse, and she is very knowledgeable.” Chantal is also following in her mother’s footsteps and is encouraging her small daughter to be part of the 3rd generation Lafleur legacy. To round out the family business, Suzanne’s sister, Joanne Lafleur, also works in the green- house doing whatever needs doing.
Serres Lafleur prides itself on growing everything they sell from seeds, cuttings, bulbs and bare roots. They do not re-sell anything, and once they run out of something, that’s it for the season.
While customers see the glorious results in May and June, the Lafleur team has been hard at work since November, after cleaning and closing down the greenhouse, when they plan their Spring offerings and order their seeds. By February, when the propane heaters come back on, they are already starting to plant into their “black gold” soil. Good people, good earth, healthy seeds, proper feeding, ample sun- light and cross ventilation – those are just some of the secret ingredients that make it all work.
While specializing in begonias – reigers, tuberous and new solenias, they also have a reputation for dahlias, surfinia petunias, geraniums, heirloom tomatoes, and creative, colourful hanging baskets. Asked for a favourite, Chantal Larose voted for solenia begonias for sun and reiger begonias for shade; Suzanne shyly said Serres Lafleur had the best tuberous begonias in all of the Eastern Townships!
With a new crop of Serres Lafleur partners, there’s hope for another 40 years of serving the public with amazing blooms.
By Alison Marks