DESPITE OUR COLD CLIMATE, THE TWIN CITIES metro area has plenty of places to buy green things and garden supplies. (Note: Shops and garden centers vary their hours according to the season, so check Web sites or call for the most up-to-date information.)
A Potpourri of Garden Supply Shops
Bloomsbury Market. "It is like a shop you might find in Paris or a country village in England," the shop's Web site quotes one customer as observing. Stock includes unusual plants, garden accessories, custom metal ornamentals and gifts from around the world. 403 S. Cedar Lake Road (Interstate 394 and Penn Avenue), Minneapolis; bloomsburymkt.com or 612-377-7636.
Buell's Landscape and Garden Center. Specialty evergreens, shrubs and water plants, homegrown trees; landscape design and construction. Greenhouses up and running as early as mid-February to allow plants to reach a salable size by early May; opens for season in April. 7077 Manning Ave. S., Hastings; buells.com or 651-459-9331.
Camrose Hill Shop. If this shop were a flower, it would be a peony. So would its owner, Cindie Sinclaire of Camrose Hill Flower Studio and Farm, a green thumb with a romantic heart: "My favorite hot spot in the summer is my own screened porch," Sinclaire wrote in her online journal. "This old house has three porches, and the best of them is a screened porch off the east end of the house. All summer long, I eat and sleep on it I've created a sitting area and an eating area with the arrangement of the furniture.camrosehillflowers.com or 651-351-9631.
Fleur de lis. A wee flower shop in Cathedral Hill that is so pretty a wedding was once held there. Featuring pretty little gifts like French-milled soaps and a variety of potted plants. Connected to the Bon Vie Cafe. 516 Selby Ave., St. Paul.; fleurdelisfreshflowers.com or 651-292-9562.
Funkie Gardens. A familyowned business nursery, selling area, display gardens and propagation beds surrounding a pre-Civil War-era home. Funkie sells a wide variety of sun and shade perennials, including hostas, daylilies, ferns, grasses, lilies, geraniums, sedum, peonies, clematis, unique trees and shrubs, woodland plants and more. Opens for season April 22. 618 Pearl St., Prescott, Wis.; funkiegardens.com or 715-262-5593.
Garden Safari Gifts. Botanical soaps and lotions, jewelry, stuffed animals, children's gifts, live plants, bonsai, apparel and more. In the Visitor Center at the Como Zoo and Marjorie McNeely Conservatory, Como Park, St. Paul; www.comozooconservatory.org or 651-487-8222.
Gray Gardens. A landscaping service with a home store in a "painted lady" Victorian house. Browse among the decorative urns, planters, vintage gates, architectural elements, fountains, birdbaths and statuary. There are also home accessories for sale and items suitable for shower, wedding and birthday gifts. 366 Water St., Excelsior; www.comozooconservatory.org or 952-474-9150.
Hermes Floral & Greenhouses. Homegrown flowers and plants, full-service floral shop, gift shop includes European chocolates, soup mixes, candles. 1750 W. Larpenteur Ave., St. Paul; hermesfloral.com or 651-646-7135.
Highland Nursery. A nursery (with gift shop) that offers unique plants, bamboo, terra cotta, iron garden structures; many concrete vendors; herbs, heirloom vegetables and more. 1742 W. Seventh St., St. Paul; thehighlandnursery.com or 651-698-1708.
Leitner's. This small garden center offers custom potting, more than 100 varieties of herbs early in the growing season and heirloom vegetables. 945 Randolph Ave., St. Paul; 651-291-2655.
Lilydale Garden Center. The business says it has one of the widest varieties of perennials in the area, and Mpls.St.Paul Magazine has awarded the center "the best of the best" for them. Also check out the annuals; a considerable selection of trees, shrubs and 85 varieties of evergreens; fountains, statuary, birdbaths and benches; pottery and wrought-iron accessories. The shop is open yearround for gifts, fresh flowers, houseplants, birdseed and feeders. 941 Sibley Memorial Highway, St. Paul; lilydalegardencenter.com or 651-457-6040.
Mother Earth Gardens. A garden center specializing in organic gardening. Native trees and shrubs, beneficial insects, locally made gifts and garden decor, organic seeds, vegetables, herbs and sustainably grown annuals and perennials. The store offers seminars, too, like "Urban Vegetable Gardening." 3738 42nd Ave. S., Minneapolis; motherearthgarden.com or 612-724-2296.
My Sister's Garden. This business includes a gift shop (check out the Scandinavian gifts and treats), garden center (specializing in perennials) and hillside farm (pickyour-own raspberries and ready-togo herbs, tomatoes, squash and more). 538 Sixth St. N. (Wisconsin Highway 35), North Hudson, Wis.; mysistersgarden.com or call 715-386-4111.
Petunia's. A shop of vintage and upholstered furnishings, garden statuary and ironwork, home decor and more. 421 Third St., Excelsior; petuniasonthird.com or 952-474-0461.
Savory's Gardens. A bare-root hosta mail-order business with a garden store that offers onsite sales of potted hostas and other perennials. Open for season May 1, with display gardens opening June 1 and an open house from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 6. 5300 Whiting Ave., Edina; savorysgardens.com or 952-941-8755.
Sam Kedem Nursery. Homemade jam, garden and landscape roses, ornamental shrubs; annuals, perennials and planters; hanging baskets; blueberry and rhubarb plants; certified organic berries, fruit, vegetables in season; freerange brown and blue eggs; gardening necessities. Opens for season April 1. 12414 191st St. E., Hastings; kedemroses.com or 651-437-7516.
Squire House Gardens. A gift and garden shop housed in an 1875 house in Afton's tiny business district. Specializes in unusual perennials, annuals and herbs, as well as a selection of hard-to-find trees and shrubs. Stroll through the gardens or browse the store for French soaps and lotions, fair-trade silk scarves, hand-carved wood bowls and garden ornaments and tools. 3390 St. Croix Trail S., Afton; squirehousegardens.com or 651-436-8080.
Two Oaks. A retail location of Prairie Restorations, which helps restore wetland, woodland and shoreline plant communities. Shoppers can purchase native plants, including trees and shrubs; high-quality native seed mixes; sod flats (a way to create instant prairie or wetland in smaller spaces); garden and nature books, bird supplies; gift items for the wildlife enthusiast. By appointment only until early April. 21120 Ozark Court N. (in the Hawkinson Business Park), Scandia; prairieresto.com or 651-433-1437.
Tropical Plants Unlimited. Specializing in tropical landscaping, topiaries and special events. Check out the palm trees, hibiscus, gardenias, orchids, cacti and more. 16155 Forest Blvd. (U.S. 61), Hugo; tropicalplantsunlimited.com or 651-488-7717.
Larger Garden Supply Centers
Bachman's Floral, Home & Garden centers: A local institution with those famous purple trucks, this family-owned business describes itself as "one of the largest traditional floral and nursery operations in the world." The centers sell everything from patio furniture to perennials, garden gloves to birdhouses. Cedar Acres, the chain's newest and largest landscape and garden center, includes a huge selection of plantings, landscape finishes, statuary, fountains, containers and garden art. There are also display gardens and a putting green. Bachmans.com.
> Bachman's Lyndale (flagship location), 6010 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-861-7600
> Bachman's Maplewood, 2600 White Bear Ave.; 651-770-0531
> Bachman's Apple Valley, 7955 W. 150th St.; 952-431-2242
> Bachman's Plymouth, 10050 Sixth Ave. N.; 763-541-1188
> Bachman's Eden Prairie, 770 Prairie Center Drive; 952-941-7700
> Bachman's Fridley, 8200 University Ave. N.E.; 763-786-8200
> Bachman's Cedar Acres (opens for season April 13, weather permitting), 23004 Cedar Ave. S., Farmington; 952-469-3833
Linder's Garden Center: The garden center of this family-owned enterprise is a popular shopping destination in St. Paul. The center with main store, greenhouses and outdoor display gardens carries trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, roses, indoor plants, seasonal blooming plants, water garden plants and gardening supplies and tools. Seminars held year-round. 270 W. Larpenteur Ave., St. Paul; linders.com or 651-488-1927.
Gertens: Holy roses, is this place big or what? The sprawling suburban garden center encompasses more than 40,000 square feet of retail space, including a "grill zone," gift shop, water garden and outdoor living space. Gertens also has a huge landscape supply yard and year-round seminars and clinics. 5500 Blaine Ave., Inver Grove Heights; gertens.com or 651-450-1501.