PRAGUE – Jeff and Jan Lewis, residents of Prague, are building a dream.
Jeff is a restaurant recruiter, who works from home recruiting managers for Logan’s Road House and Rock Bottom, just to name a few.
Jeff has always been an avid gardener throughout his life, but had never delved into the world of flowers. A year ago after research into lucrative businesses for retirees, the couple decided on a business that could make weddings and events more affordable. As a result, A-Maze-ing Flowers and Studio was born.
“It’s a field of dreams/secret garden mashup. But as far as we know, it’s the only cut flower maze in the entire world, and it’s located right here in Saunders County, Nebraska,” said Jeff.
An important aspect of a great event involves flowers, so Jan and Jeff decided to research unique flower varieties that most florists wouldn’t have in the store. In doing this, they found that they could offer cut flower buckets for a fraction of the cost that most couples pay for flowers at an event.
“It’s not just about the cost, we create an experience and memories,” said Jeff.
The prospective bride and groom can come and tour the garden, which is in the form of a maze. They pick out the flowers that they want and have a lasting memory as well as a great selection of flowers for bouquets, centerpieces, etc.
Weddings, anniversaries, Mother’s Day and even making memorials for funerals are all flower-focused, Jeff said. They offer over 75 varieties of unique flowers that you won’t be able to find anywhere else, according to Jeff.
He also researched varieties that last longer when cut because he wanted to offer flowers that wouldn’t fade after a day of being in a vase.
“It’s all about enjoyment, and making people happy,” added Jeff.
Jeff starts the majority of his flowers from seed in a grow room upstairs in his house. He transplants them into the raised beds in the maze. Some of the flowers that he has transplanted earlier in the season haven’t bloomed yet, so he is excited to see what they will look like when they do bloom.
Pollinators were an important part in the planning stages of the garden as well.
“I will come out and have to wake the bees up, because they are just lazily hanging out on the flowers,” Jeff said.
Jeff also said that he has been very impressed with the client base that has come to tour the maze.
“Everyone has been very respectful,” he said.
The maze is color coded, so each section has different colors highlighted in them. Each section is also complete with a scroll saw plaque that Jeff’s 92-year-old dad made. The work in these plaques has great detail, and enhances the overall look as well as character of the area. Some of the designs include an American eagle, frog, butterfly, fish, peacock and there is even a monkey that highlights one of the maze’s dead ends.
During a recent tour through the maze, Lewis offered advice on which flowers should be highlighted in a bouquet as well as the importance of support flowers and filler flowers.
A great filler flower that is stunning is Queen Anne’s lace, Lewis said, because it is also is very fluffy. Another great filler flower that is reminiscent of baby’s breath is the pearl yarrow. Lewis has pink yarrow, white yarrow and purple yarrow.
Some other flowers and plants that are featured in Lewis’ maze are Culver’s psychic, lilies, bee balm, sweet pea, zinnias, lisianthus, cosmos, sage, mint, coneflowers, snapdragons and sunflowers, just to name a few. The lisianthus is the “rose” of Jeff’s garden and they are beautiful.
Jeff also plans to open the garden up to preschool students in the fall. They will be dwarfed by giant corn stalks including popcorn plants that can reach up to 10 feet tall and boast sparkly kernels called “glass gem” popcorn. The stalks will be bundled and sold as fall decorations.
The maze is surrounded by a border of corn plants. Once dried, they will offer fall fun and depth to the maze, Jeff said.
The couple also wanted a way for customers to preserve the beautiful flowers that decorated their events.
This is where Jan excels. She has a pressed flower studio on the property and her work is stunning.
“People often save their flowers, whether it is from a memorial service, wedding, anniversary, etc., but oftentimes, when they are pressed, they lose their colors, and don’t stay pretty,” she said.
Jeff and Jan have almost perfected the method to keep colors bright; they use a micro fleur, which involves foam and microwave. The flowers are then finished in a homemade press that Jeff made.
They have different projects for maze goers in the studio, including antique lamps, shades, frames and cards. Jan is even working on what she thought would make a great bathroom towel/soap holder.
The Lewises will do custom projects as well. Pressed flowers are also available to purchase for projects to be done at home; but they also want to make the studio a place for groups to go and spend quality time together as well as creating a memory, they said.
Through their hard work, the couple has found ways to improve the maze and the cut flowers. Jeff said that the water they use in the buckets is kept outside in the sun because the warm water is better for the flowers.
“Cold water will make your flowers shrink,” said Jan.
Jeff said that all the revenue they make right now will go back into improvements for the maze.
The garden tour is only available by reservation due to COVID-19 restrictions put into place. Jeff said he wants to make sure that everyone has the best experience while maintaining and following social distancing guidelines.
If you are looking for a family-friendly, fun outing, Jan and Jeff’s flower maze makes the grade. Not only are they very hospitable, but they also offer an educational and fun experience for all, because as Jeff says, “How can you not be happy around flowers”?
The garden does not cost anything to tour, but donations are accepted and appreciated. If customers bring their own vase, they can fill it for $12.00. The vase needs to have a five-inch top and the Lewises will be glad to help pick the best options.
Customers can also fill a pail for $25.00, which will make three to four nice sized flower arrangements.
Customers can also call and schedule a pressed flower studio session along with the tour.
For more information on this venue, their Facebook page can be found by searching A-Maze-ing Flowers and Studio.