Family patriarch Nordy Rockler opened the doors of his first store in 1954 to supply his fellow craftsmen with knowledge, friendly advice, and a large selection of tools for at-home woodworking projects. Now, the chain of retail outlets brims with more than 20,000 tools and specialized woodworking equipment. Next to a steely rainbow of hinges, casters, and screws, a supply of lumber and exotic hardwoods provides planks for building tree houses or just leaving around as a warning to uncooperative trees. The tenor buzz of power tools operated by newly knowledgeable guests drifts from educational sessions on operating equipment and woodworking.
The botanical bond between the Mickman Brothers has sparked more than three decades of award-winning landscaping services and their unwavering commitment to eco-friendly harvesting practices. Comb through the aisles of Mickman Brothers' garden center to discover a colorful variety of 4-inch annuals ($4.79) and persistent perennials ($7.99), which grace the public with years of repeated appearances, like Kiss farewell tours. Assorted floral shrubbery, such as a rhododendron ($24.99), regally presides over mulched kingdoms to accent landscapes and decorate house façades. The vivid red petals and prodigious stamen of a tropical hibiscus ($14.99) form a horticultural satellite for insects to download up-to-date pollen reports and test emergency sprinkler alert systems. The Mickman Brothers' helpful blog for plant purchasers suffering from greenhouse quandaries works in concert with on-site employees to answer customer questions.
A participant in HGTV's Landscape Smart, Lawn and Landscape Gardens imbues its services with 19 years of knowledge as they craft unique designs and maintain lush lawns. Its brigade of yard artists pledges allegiance to the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association and continually takes continuing-education classes to stay ahead of industry advances. Refusing to sacrifice quality for profits, the company limits the number of new customers it takes on each season to make sure each one gets enough attention and hand-typed secret-admirer notes. In addition to beautifying neighborhood yards, Lawn and Landscape Gardens extends their service into the community at large, sponsoring courses at the University of Minnesota's agricultural school and assisting schools with garden projects.
Boasting the longest tube rides on the Apple River, Float Rite Park sets the scene for a three-hour vacation through the winding river's gentle rapids. Friends can tether their tubes together and pass around canned drinks and sunscreen without the hassle of training a pigeon to carry them. At the end of their trip, everyone climbs out onto the riverside campground, where they're welcome to extend their respite from reality at an open-air patio bar.
At the campground, visitors can take showers and pitch their tents or reserve one- and two-bedroom rustic log cabins. The campground keeps things lively with mechanical-bull rides, volleyball games on sand courts, and nightly activities such as themed costume dances and outdoor film screenings.
Beberg's Landscape Supply houses a community of seasonal shrubbery and decorative lawn accents. A colorful array of plants such as a gallon of perennials ($7.99–$17.99), a pot of Autumn Joy sedum ($8.99), or a pocket full of hardy fall garden mums ($10.99) can speckle lawns with more practical accents than plying gnomes with gumdrops until they agree to pose in the garden.
As a child, Brian Axdahl and his sister loved heading to the end of their road to sell their father's sweet corn and freshly picked vegetables. Just as Axdahl's Garden Farm & Greenhouse evolved from his father's hobby into a large-scale business, Brian's involvement soon evolved from roadside seller to current owner.
Approved by the Food Alliance Midwest, Axdahl's sustainable approach to crop growing ensures pesticide-free yields and ensure healthy produce with every bounty. Through a Community Supported Agriculture program, he distributes produce shares at various pickup sites over a 20-week period each year. The program partially overlaps with the farm's vegetable season, when Axdahl's crew harvests produce ranging from bi-color sweet corn to zucchini.
When not tending to their land, Axdahl's Garden Farm & Greenhouse stays busy ushering in the farm's other seasons. From May to September, fruit trees, hardy shrubs, and more than 50 combinations of hanging basket await new homes from their spots in the greenhouse. In autumn, the farm entices visitors with a corn maze and a pick-your-own pumpkin patch. Inside a restored red barn, more autumnal treats reside, including decorated indian corn and fall mums. To ring in the winter holidays, Axdahl's treats guests to free hot cider and hot chocolate as they select holiday decorations such as Christmas trees and custom-decorated wreaths.