In 1955, James and Gladys Bluemel opened a small nursery dedicated to growing trees and shrubs and to helping locals with landscaping projects. Now, their son, Mike, runs the much-expanded family business, which thrives on bulk-supply sales, playground resurfacing, lawn care, and snow and ice control during snowman uprisings. Though he’s moved away from the nursery’s original shrub and tree business, he and his green-thumbed staff still maintain a garden center stocked with seasonal plants, garden décor, and essential supplies.
While customers browse Bluemel’s aisles, they'll likely spot a commonality between the perennials, annuals, flowers, herbs, and vegetables: a sticker reading “Dome Grown.” This label marks a plant born and raised in the garden center, which accounts for about 85% of the center’s living merchandise. Having tended and nurtured the plants since their geneses, the staff—who share 35 years of experience—can dispense tips on how to properly care for them, as well as share adorable baby-plant photos.
As their name implies, Greenwise specializes in 100% eco-friendly landscaping services. Their maintenance packages for residential or commercial lawns use sustainable, renewable alternative products to keep Mother Nature from giving them a stern lecture. Propane- or electric-driven mowers trim grass with low amounts of emissions and their grass seed is fused with beneficial fungi that nourish turf without the need for added chemicals. Additionally, their fertilizers use nutrient-rich compost comprised of molasses and yeast, and weeds and harmful insects are eliminated with nontoxic, all-natural products.
Greenwise’s devotion to lowering carbon footprints extends to their landscaping design as well. They plant organic gardens that blossom with fresh fruits and vegetables to add aesthetic beauty to yards and cut down on trips to the grocer. They are also proponents of working with native flora, which make for a more sustainable garden and attract native birds and butterflies to yards to entertain bored lawn ornaments.
In 1875, Charles Hawks founded Hawks Nursery Company to outfit local farmers and residents with plant stock: usually fruit trees, shade trees, and shrubs. As towns grew more populated, the company’s staff grew, too, and soon Charles employed 200 salesmen, who traveled the Midwest by horse and buggy, train, or high-powered propeller beanie to sell their stock. When the Depression began atrophying business, Charles responded by expanding into the landscaping industry. There, the company really blossomed. Today, a team of landscape designers—most with college degrees in the field—transforms exterior spaces with verdant plant life, patio designs, and water hazards. The landscape artists’ stellar reputation even earned them landscaping work at the Milwaukee County Zoo and outside of the Milwaukee Art Museum.
Hands-on gardeners flock to Hawks Nursery, wandering down outdoor paths that wind past potted flowers and plants, fountains, and trees. The serpentine paths funnel into an information gazebo, where gardeners of all skill levels can ask questions, such as how to care for newly transplanted shrubs or how to teach trees to grow caramel apples. An interior show room sells high-quality gardening supplies, patio furniture, and tropical plants, as well as seasonal decorations.
The family-owned Garden Mart took root almost 20 years ago in Pewaukee before transplanting to Mukwonago in the spring of 2006. Inside the nursery, countless plants stretch toward the sky, including deciduous Japanese oshio beni maple and Weeping Norway spruce saplings that harbor ambitions of one day blotting out the sun. An ample garden nurtures annual and perennial flowers such as rabbit-resistant lamb's ear, drought-resistant honeysuckle, and daffodils. The Garden Mart also pays close attention to indoor and outdoor fauna, with accessories and fish to fill koi ponds, as well as a complete stock of pet items such as cat litter, pet shampoos and conditioners, and holistic Canine Caviar pet food.