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Rebecca's Garden grows

As a child, Rebecca Kolls spent her summers in Sunnyside, Utah, waking each morning to join her coalmining grandfather in the garden, where she watched him transform daily into a "gentle giant."

Courtney Mueller, Laurie Rudd -- Casual Living, February 15, 2005

It was these daily experiences that led Kolls to where she is now — an up-and-coming Martha Stewart incarnate for the casual and garden industries.

"He laid a seed that lay dormant and finally germinated in me," she said.

Retailers and manufacturers may have noticed Kolls' picture on hangtags in several showrooms during the fall's Casual Show. The master gardener, host of the HGTV nationally syndicated gardening series, Rebecca's Garden (in its ninth season), meteorologist and gardening and outdoor lifestyle correspondent for ABC's Good Morning America has been turning her focus on creating a brand for herself, Seasons by Rebecca Kolls.

"One day, I am going to be America's personal shopper," she said.

Seasons by Rebecca Kolls will include housewares, outdoor furniture, gardening tools and accessories, plants and flowers and even organic herbicides and fertilizers, bringing more than 200 products to the marketplace this year. Currently, manufacturers such as Creative Woodwork International, Boli Furniture and Midwest Rake Company are on board, with Seasonal Concepts, the Plymouth, Minn.-based patio and furniture multi-store retailer the first to sign up to carry Kolls' line.

Before choosing her brand partners, Kolls personally handpicks the companies and tests the product. "I'm looking for high-quality, eco-friendly products at reasonable prices," she said. "And I want the best craftsmanship possible and to know the products will work and the company will stand behind its products."

Creative Woodwork International serves as the exclusive source of outdoor wood furniture for Kolls' brand, with the first products debuting this spring. Kolls was attracted to CWI because it was a local manufacturer, based in Minneapolis, and is FSC certified.

"CWI and its manufacturer have gone through the rigorous process to ensure the wood in its furniture comes from sustainably managed forests that are certified according to Forest Stewardship Council environmental standards," Kolls said. "I have been, and always will be, an organic gardener. I do my best to promote a 'greener' lifestyle."

Beyond creating the partnerships, Kolls hopes to take her brand to catalogs, a Web site and magazine — perhaps the reason she could be compared to Martha Stewart.

"You've got to be more repsonsible in the direction you want to go," she said. "You have to have more control. I now know it's okay to be who I am. Who's going to replace — Martha? My answer is simple Martha. She'll come out smelling like a rose."

For more information on Rebecca Kolls, visitwww.rebeccasgarden.com.

CWI is the exclusive source for wood furniture for Kolls' brand. Here, the Tofino and Palomar collections are displayed in Kolls' back yard.

The Burnaby Chest from CWI is one product in Kolls' line. A potting bench, designed by Buck Campbell, is in the works as well.

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