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Business takes root on Route 15

Sturbridge Gardens first step in an evolution

Piles of bark mulch, loam and stone for landscaping are seen on the nearly 10-acre Route 15 property of Sturbridge Gardens. The company is already making plans for expansion. Christopher Tanguay. (click for larger version)
July 27, 2010
STURBRIDGE — While the evolution of Route 15 may take years to fully play out, the landscape along the corridor connecting downtown Sturbridge to Union, Conn. is slowly changing, one section at a time.

Residents Steve and Julie Morris have been cultivating Sturbridge Gardens since early spring.

Located on Route 15, just past the River Road intersection, Sturbridge Gardens currently offers mulch, loam and stone products, but will, in time, become a full-service garden center with on-site greenhouses and family-friendly attractions.

"We're going to have plants, trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals," Steve Morris said.

Other plans for the Gardens include a pumpkin patch for open picking during autumn harvest and a corn maze.

"We really want to tie it in to Sturbridge with agribusiness," said Morris, who intends for the center to not only serve the immediate planting and gardening needs of locals, but to become a must-see destination for visitors to the area.

Route 15, Morris said, is the last "blank canvas" in Sturbridge that can be developed in such a way as to really add to the character of the town.

While that area's zoning as a special use district is not always the most accommodating of every proposed business that has come before the town in recent years, it was right in line with what the Morrises wanted to do.

Morris explained that he and his wife began looking for land on which to open a garden center about two year ago.

"It's a passion that we both have," he said.

See Thursday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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