All About Us

The Skyline Story

Skyline Gardens and is Skyline's latest adventure. Thanks to alot of help, and good friends, we're now online (yay!). Our goal is to help our customers avoid common mistakes, and have enjoyable gardens and ponds. "Free advice from your local growers!" has been our motto since 1984, when Karen and Clay (aka Catfish) started Skyline Greenhouse.

Karen had been running a garden center, and had worked at a large nursery/landscape operation since receiving her horticulture degree. Clay caught the garden bug from his grandfather Joel Vogstrom, who grew "the best tomatoes" (I'm sure!), which led to doing lawn and garden maintenance, and then on to landscaping.

After becoming known in the neighborhood as "the gardeners", Clay asked Karen if she would like a greenhouse. She thought it would be great, but she adds "it was the dirtiest trick Clay has ever played on me". "I was thinking of a cute little greenhouse on the end of the house, not that he was setting me up in my own business - SKYLINE GREENHOUSE".

Skyline has been a family name since 1954, when Clay's grandparents Joe and Leone (Lee Baby) started Skyline Stables, raising champion quarter horses. In 1961, Clay's dad, CJ, started Skyline Saddlary at our present location. In 1984 we started Skyline Greenhouse and built our first greenhouse. (We thought it was SO big.) We started growing hanging baskets, bedding plants and orchids, and enjoyed being avid members of the Minnesota Orchid Society. We soon needed to add more greenhouses and added display gardens. Then we added a daughter Klee, later a son Cody (We thought they'd help. Hey, we were young).

In the late 80's we saw our first Koi while working at the Kansas State Fair, and the Koi "bug" began to grow. By the mid 90's we had built a "Koi greenhouse" and went to our 1st AKCA (Associated Koi Clubs of America) seminar. Unlike other seminars and trade shows we had experienced, the people were friendly, genuinely enthusiatic, and overflowing with knowledge. Clay was struck by this willingness to share, and mentioned it to one of the show organisers. She said "What do you expect, we're critter people". (Which explains alot!) We became "regulars," enjoying the annual reunion (AKCA seminar) with our Koi friends/mentors from around the world. By this time, the Koi "bug" was a full blown addiction! (KOI KICHI) We were traveling from WI to FL, to CA, to TN, to LA learning all we could about Koi, filtration, and waterplants. We were starting to be known as "the greenhouse with the Koi pond and waterlilies."

In 1994, we had another daughter, Christie Rose, our little red head, and had the opportunity to landscape the courtyard for the Royal American Shows at the Minnesota State Fair. Clay designed and installed a beautiful garden centered around a lilypond with a waterfall. The following year the MSF Board contacted Clay about landscaping the Midway and KiddyLand attractions. From that first year up to 2006, Clay's customers have enjoyed winning all of the landscape design awards. In the meantime, we add our next red head daughter Kaia, while starting on our new growing range of gutter-connected greenhouses, which Clay fabricated.

As the word spread of "that greenhouse with the Koi pond and waterlilies," it became more than a curiousity or attraction, it's become a main part of our business. Clay says that a larger greenhouse may have the biggest greenhouse, or may have been in business for over 100 years, we're just shootin' for the best Koi pond! Then we added another son, Carl (yay!)

Clay and Cody attended the I.W.G.S. (International Water/Garden Society) Symposium in FL and visited private and public gardens, behind the scene tours of top aquatic plant producers, and wetland parks. They met alot of great people.

Today, Skyline greenhouse, aquatic nursery and landscape has over 17,000 sq. ft. of greenhouses growing a full line of annuals, unique perennials, herbs, colorful hanging baskets, bedding plants and exotics like palm trees and banana trees. Thanks to our customers, 2006 was our biggest bulk bark year ever! Our aquatic nursery grows a full line of marginals, waterlilies, and lotus. We also have a 2,000 sq. ft. Koi greenhouse, featuring 4,000 gal and 7,000 gal. Koi ponds, and several vat systems, which support a large selection of japanese Koi, butterfly Koi and domestic Koi. We offer Koi food for growth and color. As a D.I.Y. headquarters, we supply everything for watergardens and Koi ponds (bottom drains, filters, pumps) and surrounding gardens. We can help with as little or as much as you like, with design, installation, and maintance of your water features and gardens. Karen and Clay enjoy sharing their experiences and common mistakes, to help their customers have enjoyable gardens and ponds.

Thanks again to all of our customers and friends for helping make Skyline Gardens and Ponds a great success!

Karen & Clay

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The story of Skyline Gardens and Ponds.
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