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The North Bend Eagle


Landscape seems right for Morse Bluff entrepreneur

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 8/17/11

Shelly Riggs has lived in the hills west of Morse Bluff for twenty years. Her children, Coleman and Emily attended Morse Bluff Elementary and graduated from NBC. Riggs is now trying to make her home the base for a business, an outlet for her many eclectic abilities.

"The Gardener"Shelly Riggs stands at the gate of her home between Morse Bluff and Linwood.

Shelly and her husband John are both natives of Fremont, with John having ties to the Webster area north of North Bend. John, an electrician at Hormel, wanted to live in the country. They bought 30 acres on the former Navercal homeplace five miles west of Morse Bluff and totally remodeled it. The plan was to live in a small building, now Shelly’s potting shed, while John remodeled the house. That lasted two weeks. They moved in with Shelly’s mother in Fremont while a contractor built the basement and John did the rest of the remodeling. The place had been abandoned for about 10 years, so they had their work cut out for them.

Now a “country chic” home, it abounds with Shelly’s collections, folk art, their goats, chickens and an menagerie of dogs and cats.

When Shelly’s children were small, she worked from home building up a folk art business with items that were sold world wide. While she still does that occasionally, she does not want to do that expansive of a business again.

She is ready to try starting her own business once again. “The Gardener” will be a landscaping and floral design business. She will go to clients’ homes or businesses and help them with landscaping or other green designs in and around their home.

“I will go to for inspiration,” Riggs said. “To get a feel for their color, style, personality so I can design something suitable for them.”

Riggs, 50, has experience to back up her business. A certified horiculturist, she worked for Earl May for 16 years and has done freelancing for a Fremont florist. Riggs said she worked with Kathy Mensik to design the greenscape of the Morse Bluff park. In her positions she has been able to do a lot of design with plants.

“I’ve worked with a lot of people and learned a lot from the best,” Riggs said. “I’ve always dabbled in design and feel confident I can be on my own now.”

One thing she likes is doing four-season container gardens. She will decorate containers with appropriate plants or greenery for each of the seasons.

“I like making your porch have a personality,” Riggs said. “A touch of country living with a designer’s edge.”

Riggs would like to expand her business into weddings and other occasions when North Bend florist, Betty Hamata retires. She has done some silk flowers designing for weddings.

Services she now offers as “The Gardner” include the four-season containers, decorating homes inside and out, decorate store fronts for holidays, and care for plants when people are gone.

Her dream eventually would be to renovate her potting shed and have an open house at her home selling her folk art, floral items, plants, a farmers market and dairy goat products.

For now, Riggs will be content with her growing business. “The Gardner” business card reads “Innovative ideas inside and out,” and she welcomes people to call her at 402-216-3837 or e-mail her at She has a Facebook page she can show pictures of her work.

“The best part of this job is meeting new people,” Riggs said, “working together for a new creative style for their enjoyment.”

Riggs says she goes to her bluffs home for inspiration, with its view, its nature surroundings.

“Though a city girl,” Riggs said, “I wouldn’t trade my country home for anything now.”

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