The Bargers opened Natural Gatherings 14 years ago, when the couple decided that instead of taking a traditional retirement, they would turn their gardening, woodworking and flower-arranging hobbies into a business. Day after day, flowers feed their souls and provide joy during retirement.
The Bargers live in Jarrettsville, where their yard — just over an acre of land — includes extensive gardens and a workshop. Both the gardens and the workshop are largely Rick's domain. He grows flowers and dries them in the workshop, then Jane uses them in the wreaths and arrangements she creates to sell in the shop.
"I love the designing end of it — that's my thing," she says. "And Rick just lives in the garden from early spring to late fall. Gardening has always been his passion, and decorating and design have always been mine."
Jane estimates that about 90 percent of the flowers sold in the shop come from their garden — she outsources only the greens. She does her arranging in a small room in the back of Natural Gatherings, where she has plenty of space for storage and movement.
In addition to floral arrangements and wreaths, Natural Gatherings sells heavy, rustic wood furniture built by companies in Pennsylvania and Virginia, as well as cute home goods (like that "Flowers feed the soul" sign). In his workshop, Rick also builds mirrors framed in hardwood, and he dries and varnishes impressive, oversized decorative gourds for sale in the shop.
Both the mirrors and gourds are polished and striking — sophisticated enough that it's surprising to hear that Rick is entirely self-taught. He started building the mirrors using reclaimed windowpanes Jane had found; they were so popular that he began building frames of his own to keep up with demand.
flowers for Jane.