If you’re a gardener, all the snow the Twin Cities received this winter (even what we got this week) might just be worth it.
The snow provided an extra layer of protection for perennials. As a result, those flowers that return in your yard every year could thrive to their fullest potential.
“Perennials getting snow cover is a great insulator for premature warmth,” says Steve Risan, owner of Terra Garden Center in Lakeville. “Tulips, for example, could bolt out of the ground from warm weather if it is not covered by snow. A big, hard freeze could come after that and ruin them and ruin their bloom cycle. A big snow cover with the snow melting slowly provides a gradual change.”
Record snowfall could also mean lots of moisture in the soil that will nourish plants during the growing season. Risan says that while the weather has slowed some shipments, which will force him and other garden centers to adjust, it’s making soil conditions ripe for the growing season.
“I think most of us can agree that while we would have rather had the snow be more steady all winter rather than come all in February, I think we’ll be grateful later on that we have that moisture,” Risan says. “As far as what’s happening in the ground, I don’t have any fears. I’m thinking the moisture levels in the Twin Cities are going to be awesome. I think we’ll see positive things from that out in our gardens.”
Looking to gear up for the growing season? Thumb through this garden guide of greenhouses, nurseries and retail centers to find ones right for you. Be sure to check in with stores before heading out as some close during the winter and reopen in the spring, with dates varying depending on the store.
This greenhouse grower with three fully stocked garden centers — in Stillwater, Scandia and St. Croix Falls — offers a wide selection of trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals and more for your landscaping needs. Garden decor and supplies as well as garden-themed gifts can also be found. Design and landscape services are available at each site. It might be especially worth checking out the St. Croix Falls greenhouse, which underwent a remodel this past winter. 2100 Tower Drive, Stillwater; 651-439-2140; 20021 St. Croix Trail N., Scandia; 651-433-2431; 1257 State Road 35, St. Croix Falls, Wis.; 715-483-3040; abrahamsonnurseries.com
The 131-year-old family-owned local enterprise has come a long way since founder Henry Bachman Sr. planted potatoes, lettuce, onions and squash in 1885 on a piece of land in South Minneapolis. That spot is now Bachman’s headquarters, as well as one of six retail centers, and it has become one of the largest garden centers and nurseries around. Famous for those purple delivery trucks, Bachman’s offers annuals, perennials, garden accessories, patio furniture, gift items and more. Landscape and garden services are also offered here. bachmans.com.
A St. Croix River Valley family-owned garden center, this establishment has been offering a large selection of annuals, perennials, vegetables and herbs for more than three decades. Standouts include unusual pepper and tomato varieties. Garden supplies and decor such as statues, birdbaths and yard art are also in store. Upon your arrival, you might even be greeted by the resident dogs or cat, which have become staples of the greenhouse and nursery. 15743 Hudson Blvd., Lakeland; 651-436-6799; blacksgreenhouse.com
This St. Croix Valley farmers’ market and greenhouse is a place to shop fruits, vegetables, annuals and perennials. Fairy garden classes, a small kids club and, come fall, a pick-your-own pumpkin patch are also popular draws. W10041 Wisconsin 29, River Falls, Wis.; 715-426-1831; cedarhillgreenhouse.net
This multigenerational, family-owned operation near the St. Croix River Valley has grown tremendously since planting its first seeds as a flower wholesale business. Today, greenhouses and a garden center filled with a colorful variety of flowers, plants and more from nature’s bounty have made Country Sun Farm a destination for green thumbs. 11211 N. 60th St., Lake Elmo; 651-439-4156; countrysunfarm.com
While Camrose Hill Flower Studio relocated from downtown Stillwater to Camrose Hill Flower Farm, Cindy Sinclair’s outdoor event venue surrounded by gardens is just 10 minutes away. Fans can still order farm fresh flower arrangements for pickup or delivery. 14587 30th St. N., Stillwater; 651-351-9631; camrosehillflowers.com
A quaint, European-style floral shop on Cathedral Hill, this shop offers charming seasonal and themed bouquets. In addition to specializing in containers and gardens, the shop’s expertise extends to creating living walls and botanical installations. The gift shop is worth checking out for its well-curated selection of pottery and jewelry from local artists. While there, grab a bite to eat at French Hen Cafe, also on the premises. 516 Selby Ave., St. Paul; 651-292-9562; fleurfresh.com
Located just 30 minutes east of St. Paul, this garden and gift shop in River Falls spotlights funky to traditional garden art, unique containers, several plant varieties, home decor, gifts and jewelry. You’ll also find fair trade, eco-friendly, local, organic repurposed as well as a variety of vintage. Look for onsite classes and annual tours too. N7789 State Road 65, River Falls, Wis.; 715-222-0436; facebook.com/GardenDivasRF
This shop inside the Como Zoo and Marjorie McNeely Conservatory offers bonsai plants and hard-to-find supplies. It is also a destination for garden-themed gifts like botanicals, jewelry, apparel, interactive children’s gifts and stuffed animals. While on the grounds, find inspiration by visiting the various themed gardens, from tropical to sunken gardens. 1225 Estabrook Drive, St. Paul; 651-487-8222; comozooconservatory.org
With the motto “Buy from the grower,” this third-generation family-owned establishment sports a sprawling garden center with a large selection of annuals, roses and other perennials, plus trees and shrubs of all sizes and shapes. A “grill zone,” gift shop, water garden and an outdoor living space are among themed areas that take up more than 40,000 square feet of retail space. A large landscape supply yard, hobby greenhouses and year-round seminars and clinics also attract visitors. A state-of-the-art automated greenhouse is part of the main campus. 5500 Blaine Ave., Inver Grove Heights; 651-450-1501; gertens.com
This full-service floral and gift shop has been in business since 1906 and is known for its reliable service as well as lush flowers and plants. Bouquets cater to a variety of occasions, from classic to contemporary, simple to lavish. 1639 W. Larpenteur Ave., St. Paul; 651-646-7135 or 800-547-6334; hermesfloral.com
A lot has changed since Lois and Henry Harich started with a tent for a shop and a cigar box for a cash register on Cleveland Avenue in Highland Village. Now on West Seventh Street, the family-run institution that has been around since 1947 touts a shop and attached greenhouse featuring a mix that includes heirloom vegetables, woody and herbaceous plants and ornamental grasses. Statues and other garden accents are featured, too. While you’re strolling the grounds, check out the elaborate Bur Oak tree sculpture paying tribute to John Smith and Elizabeth Ryan Smith, Irish immigrants who homesteaded the site in 1850. 1742 W. Seventh St., St. Paul; 651-698-1708; facebook.com/thehighlandnursery
In downtown Hugo amid historic buildings, this store offers a variety of items for your hobby farm, lawn and gardening needs. The spot is also a hub for tomato and pepper varieties. Look for the mill’s annual tasting events, which some years has featured as many as 120 tomato varieties and 190 pepper varieties. 5582 146th St. N.; Hugo; 651-429-3361
This floral shop features design-savvy arrangements to suit a variety of occasions, plus an eclectic, not-to-be missed gift shop. A lineup of community events, floral and art classes as well as trunk shows are also offered here. 4001 Rice St., Shoreview; 651-486-0403; hummingbirdfloralandgifts.com
It’s all about local-local at this nursery near the banks of the Kinnickinnic River. With seeds sourced within 50 miles or less, the spot specializes in native perennials, wildflowers and grasses friendly to the local climate and its creatures such as birds, bees and butterflies. 235 State Road 65, River Falls, Wis.; 715-425-7605; kinninatives.com
This floral design, garden center and landscape products store features annuals, perennials, fruiting plants and shrubs for patio and garden. Plants and flowers that range from classic to unique come from local, independently owned growers. Creative potting plants, gardening equipment and original garden art are also a draw. 945 Randolph Ave., St. Paul; 651-291-2655; leitnersstpaul.com
With a welcoming garden and gift shop, this is a place to stock up on annuals, perennials, shrubs and fruit trees. Garden accessories such as statuary, fountains and ceramic pots are also offered. While there, check out the shop’s carefully selected gift items such as soaps, lotions, candles and decor. Purchases come with free gift-wrapping. Garden-style arrangements and design services are also available. 941 Sibley Memorial Highway, Lilydale; 651-457-6040; lilydalegardencenter.com
This independently and cooperatively owned operation with two locations emphasizes local, organic and sustainable options. Shop seeds, vegetables, herbs as well as annuals and perennials that include native varieties. Growing practices include compost tea applications, soy-based fertilizers, alternative energy and rainwater harvesting. Eco-friendly, local and handmade gifts and garden decor are also a draw. 3738 42nd Ave. S., Minneapolis, 612-724-2296; and 2318 Lowry Ave. N.E., Minneapolis, 612-789-0796; motherearthgarden.com
According to the website, the nursery and garden center was recently redesigned. This western Wisconsin shop is a destination for its selection of annuals, provided by My Sister’s Garden, as well as perennials, herbs, vegetables, garden decor and gifts. Floral arrangements, landscaping services and garden chats can be found, too. 850 Kelly Road off Wisconsin 12, Hudson, Wis.; 715-386-4111; willowrivertree.com
This garden center with a greenhouse and nursery has a little bit of everything. Green thumbs can stock up on zinnias, hibiscus, palms, herbs, tomatoes and much more. Landscape enthusiasts will find a wide selection of garden decor, fountains, birdbaths and statuary to choose from. During the summer, the shop offers produce, such as sweet corn, green beans, tomatoes, watermelon and berries, grown onsite or acquired through local growers. Services include a community-supported agriculture program in partnership with Von Hanson’s Meats. Landscaping services can be found, too. 6885 160th St. W., Apple Valley; 952-431-4345; pahls.com
In a shared retail spot called Shop 501 & Co., Petunia’s carries an eclectic mix of accessories emphasizing vintage items, including themed miniature gardens. 501 Chestnut St., Chaska; 612-224-0231; shop501.com
This business offers native plant restoration experts for wetland, woodland and shoreline plant communities. In addition to various service locations, the operation includes retail stores in Scandia and Princeton for seeds, plants, shrubs and trees. A retail spot is also housed in Munger near Duluth. Prairie Restoration greenhouses produce plants, trees and shrubs especially friendly to northern climates. The gift shop is also a gem, with an unusual, high-quality selection of garden accessories and nature-themed items, such as bird supplies, kids’ gifts, books, botanicals and local art. 31646 128th St., Princeton, 763-389-4342; and 21120 Ozark Court N., Scandia, 651-433-1437; prairieresto.com
For more than 30 years, this floral shop and greenhouse has been outfitting gardens with its selection of fresh-as-can-be annuals, perennials and hanging baskets. Home decor for inside and out includes pieces for that terrarium or fairy garden. 14298 60th St., Stillwater; 651-439-3765 or 1-800-272-0715; rosefloral.com/garden-center
While hardy roses are top sellers, Sam Kedem Nursery is also a draw for its selection of certified organic and locally grown produce and plants such as fruit and shade trees, shrubs, perennials and vegetables. In addition to the horticultural offerings, a wide selection of pick-your-own fruits — from gooseberries and cherries to plums and pears — draws crowds. A farm store stocks edibles such as free-range eggs, honey and fruit preserves and more. 12414 191st St. E., Hastings; 651-437-7516; kedemgarden.com
While the retail store in Edina has closed, the mail-order business from this outfit specializing in hostas is still going strong. In addition, hostas enthusiasts can still call or email to set up an appointment to visit the Edina or Savory’s Gardens’ retail location in Lester Prairie, according to the website. Look for special shopping days and events through the Facebook page. 952-941-8755; savorysgardens.com; facebook.com/SavorysGardens
This greenhouse, aquatic nursery and landscape outfit is a place to shop annuals, perennials, herbs, hanging baskets, palm trees and banana trees. This family-run business also has become a destination for koi, water plants and water gardens. 148 County Road F, River Falls, Wis.; 715-425-1468; skylinegardensandponds.com
This plant nursery, on the grounds of an old farmstead with a historic barn, garden store and greenhouses, is in its 32nd year and offers one of the largest selections of perennials in the Maiden Rock, Stockholm and Pepin area. Herbs, annuals, trees and shrubs are also a specialty here. Shop unique garden ornaments, a large selection of pots, garden supplies and antiques. A display garden on the premises also offers inspiration. W12014 Wisconsin 35, Stockholm, Wis.; 715-442-3200; stockholmgardens.com
Meander the grounds and check out the themed gardens at this charming and historic renovated 1875 home on Afton’s main street in the St. Croix River Valley. Stock up on annuals, perennials, herbs, trees and shrubs hardy enough to survive the extreme Upper Midwest climate. Martagon Lily Bulbs are part of the lineup. In addition to a display garden and nursery, there’s a gift shop with fashion accessories such as fine jewelry and upcycled wallets, body care, gourmet foods, gifts, home and garden decor and fair-trade products. Landscape design services are available too. Art show and “tea & talk” sessions are also hosted on the premises. 3390 St. Croix Trail S., Afton; 651-436-8080; squirehousegardens.com
Tangletown Gardens has gained a following for its large assortment of heirloom vegetable, aquatic, tropical plant, annual and perennial varieties. In the shop, look for unique garden art, pottery as well as tested-and-true gardening tools, artisan jewelry and gifts. During the growing season, regulars come to shop the daily farmers’ market as well as buy CSA shares with items from Tangletown’s own 140-acre farm in Plato, Minn. 5353 Nicollet Ave. S., Mpls.; 612-822-4769; tangletowngardens.com
This family-owned operation grows plants on-site and offers a variety of perennials, annuals, evergreens and fruits, as well supplies for the fairy garden. While there, browse the spacious showroom. 20230 Kenrick Ave., Lakeville; 952-469-3506; terragardencenter.com
Green thumbs and bookworms will appreciate this delight with one of the nation’s largest stocks of books on planting, gardening and natural history. Rare and out-of-print books, seed and plant catalogs and periodicals are among the bookstore’s vast collection. The grounds feature display gardens, and if your timing is right, you might catch a “tea at the terrace” reception held several times a day. This past year, Terrace Horticultural celebrated 27 years in the business. 503 St. Clair Ave., St. Paul; 651-222-5536; terracehorticulturalbooks.com
This family-run garden center is a place to stock up on quality plants, garden accessories and produce. Check out the farm animals at the adjoining barnyard. 8174 Lake Drive, Lino Lakes; 651-780-1207; waldochfarm.com
A multigenerational, family-owned operation that started as a small business in a back yard in 1993 with perennials has blossomed into a design service and full-service garden center that includes annuals, trees and shrubs. The spot also has gained a reputation for its hanging baskets, bedding plants as well as its selection of hostas and tomato varieties. The garden gift shop offers water features, wind chimes, garden art as well as cabin gifts, jewelry and botanicals. Be sure to wander the 1.5-acre landscaped display and event garden with perennials, gazebo and large waterfall. 11180 70th St. S., Cottage Grove; 651-459-8080; whisperinggardens.com
Shop the flower shop and greenhouse for flower arrangements and gifts to suit a variety of occasions. Cook Water Farms, the wholesale supplier of water plants with production site in Askov, Minn., hosts a retail outlet in the south greenhouse of White Bear Floral & Nursery. 3550 Hoffman Road, White Bear Lake; 651-484-3391; whitebearfloral.com