As the temperamental days of April unfold into the glorious days of May, gardeners tap into their inner Maias (the goddess of plant growth and the month’s namesake) to create their own precious garden gems. Local gardening centers are at the ready to provide advice, information and a host of seeds, plants and products to help the growing season burst and blossom.
Gardening According to Donna isn’t just a title of a book; it’s a way of life. Any visit to At the Farm is worth its weight in gold if it includes a chat with author, organic gardener and owner Donna Frantz. Brimming with years of gardening experience and know-how (“Preparing the soil is the real key,” she says), Frantz also offers shoppers plants, seeds, a bounty of her picked-daily crops at the market and an antique loft. 8880 Minnesota Highway 5, Waconia; 952.442.4816.
From designing large, outdoor landscape venues to creating small, indoor vignettes, Bachman’s has been the go-to source for generations of gardeners and decorators. Classes and workshops help keep novice and master gardeners on their gardening toes, and staff well-versed in all things botanical can assist with quick queries and nagging dilemmas. A stroll through the indoor and outdoor spaces, which feature annuals, perennials, shrubs, trees, garden tools and products, as well as fresh-cut flowers and decorative items, yields a shopping cart teeming with seasonal goodies. 770 Prairie Center Drive, Eden Prairie; 952.941.7700.
With a focus on healthy living, Garden by the Woods offers family-friendly lawn and garden products and organically tended annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees. More than a garden center, it also offers a host of scheduled family events, including arts, crafts and a petting zoo. Shoppers are encouraged to wander through the gardens for a healthy dose of natural inspiration. 78 W. 78th St., Chanhassen; 952.949.0726.
There’s something new popping up at Hartmann’s this year. Look for an organically grown herb and vegetable stand just outside the garden center. Customers will be able to pick and choose their produce. Hartmann’s is known for its shade, evergreen and ornamental trees and also features annuals, perennials and seasonal gift items. 8099 Bavaria Road, Victoria; 952.443.2990.
Marshall’s Farm Market
For cooks who love adding fresh foods to their menu but are short on garden space, Marshall’s offers a cornucopia of produce, including 50 varieties each of tomatoes and gourds/pumpkins, 25 types of peppers, 15 kinds of potatoes and 40 varieties of cut flowers for bouquets. Grass- and grain-fed cattle from the family’s farm produce beef cuts for the market, which also includes jams, jellies, pickled veggies, and so much more. They also offer a full line of annuals and perennials, as well as hanging baskets and container gardens supplied by Sailer’s Greenhouse. 9100 Eden Prairie Road, Eden Prairie; 952.217.9573.
The Christian-based nursery offers new weekly annual plant offerings, along with a host of perennial selections, including native options. With low-voltage power technicians on staff, the Mustard Seed is able to provide pond and night lighting installations. Full-service landscape design and installation are offered. Spring seminars are available. Farm animal attractions, including miniature donkeys and chickens, help keep young shoppers busy. 10000 Great Plains Blvd., Chaska; 952.445.6555.
Willow Winds Gardens
With the inclusion of Curly Willow florist shop, Willow Winds is a full-service garden center, open year-round. The garden center grows much of its own annual and perennials. Gardeners interested in natural products will be pleased to know that Willow Winds focuses on natural, pesticide-free growing. 9460 County Road 10, Waconia; 952.442.7994.
Since 1977, the owners of Shady Acres have understood the health and beauty benefits of offering herbs and heirloom vegetables. This year, products will also include annuals and fairy gardening supplies. Plants grown from seed are non-GMO and many others are certified organic. The gift shop features gardening and kitchen accoutrements and a selection of reading materials. 7815 US-212, Chaska; 952.466.3391.
If variety is the spice of landscaping, then gardeners should visit Superior for its unique (in variety and color) inventory of annuals. Owner Eric Anderson also says the store features 250 shrub and tree varieties. For those planning outdoor living spaces, Superior displays several outdoor vignettes to help shoppers visualize the perfect setting for their outdoor entertaining, dining and respite needs. 4100 Steiner St., St. Bonifacius; 952.446.8000.
These seasonal sales will help you get your garden growing.
Birch Island Plant Sale
May 4-15 This popular plant sale raises money for scholarships to attend True Friends—Camp Eden Wood in Eden Prairie. Scholarships enable children and adults campers with a range of abilities to attend summer, winter and weekend sessions. Stop by the sale noon-7 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. weekends May 4-15 at Picha Heritage Farms (6649 Birch Island Road, Eden Prairie). Shoppers are offered a wide selection of annuals, perennials, trees and shrubs at near wholesale prices.
University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum’s Auxiliary Spring Plant Sale
May 7-8 The popular event is set for 9 a.m.-4 p.m. May 7-8 at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum (3675 Arboretum Drive, Chaska). General arboretum admission applies. The sale features hard-to-find varieties and University of Minnesota introductions. Garden helpers will be available for consultation. Selections are limited. Printed copies of the plant inventory will be available at the Gatehouse and Oswald Visitor Center Reception Desk for $1. Visit arboretum.umn.edu/auxplantsale.aspx for details.
Carver County Horticultural Society Plant Sale
June 4 This year’s event will be 9 a.m.-noon June 4 in the parking lot of Cooper’s Foods (710 N. Walnut St., Chaska). Find perennials from members’ gardens, donations from local nurseries, vegetable seedlings, select annuals, ornamental grasses and houseplants. Proceeds from the sale help the group promote civic beauty, community involvement and conservation of natural resources.
The Carver-Scott Extension Master Gardener’s 8th Annual Fall Plant Sale
August 27 This sale, benefiting the University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardeners in Carver and Scott counties, is set for 9 a.m.-noon August 27 in the Chaska Commons Cub Foods parking lot (200 Pioneer Trail, Chaska). Selections will include perennials, shrubs, fall bulbs, rhizomes, houseplants, fresh produce, garden art and more. Visit carverscottmastergardeners.org/plant-sale for details.