The Bruce Company, which received gold awards for its flora from Madison Magazine’s Best of Madison readers’ poll in 2009 and 2010, grows a huge variety of plants, trees, and shrubs on about 600 acres of nursery fields. These fields are tended affectionately with conservation practices such as crop rotation, Sudan grass composting, and finger aeration. Greenify your backyard with a large selection of outside plants—blooming shrubs start at $25, for example. Or, brighten your living room with assorted inside plants, from bonsai and cacti to cyclamen and mini-cyclone ($15 and up). Gardening supplies are also available; customers can partition their yards into child-friendly and unfriendly segments with 25 feet of garden hose ($23), deceive sky animals into posing for photos with a birdhouse ($15 and up) or feeder ($30 and up), or surprise a roommate by adding a cubic yard of mulch to his or her closet (around $32/cubic yard). If you’re uncertain about the proper leafiness to add to your life, The Bruce Company's able staff of helpful horticulturalists is on-site to offer suggestions.
A family gathers in front of a fire to watch flames dance inside a teepee of logs. After several moments, a uniformed staffer walks over to ask whether they have any questions, and, startled, they stop telling ghost stories or reminiscing about bygone summer bonfires to think about whether they'd like that very model in their own home. Fireside Hearth & Home's cozy design room has that effect. Several staged but comfortable living rooms, kitchens, and patios revolve around fireplaces and stoves, letting customers really imagine life around the hearth. The inventory of gas, wood, and electric fireplaces, as well as stoves and inserts come out of the workshops of top brands such as Heat & Glo, Heatilator, Quadra-Fire, and Outdoor Lifestyles. The knowledgeable staffers can explain the variances of styles and features, as well as install new fireplaces and convert wood fireplaces to gas ones.
Since 1989, designers and framers at the locally owned and operated The Great Frame Up have covered artwork and photos with thousands of frame and mat combinations and prevented 3-D keepsakes and sports memorabilia from selling themselves on eBay by enshrouding them in shadowboxes and acrylic cases. Framing jobs take place entirely on-site, ensuring a speedy turnaround on projects and a personal guarantee on all craftsmanship. The Great Frame Up’s website offers tips and trends to help customers navigate the process, from choosing frames to hanging and arranging finished pieces.
Jung Garden Center's five verdant locations flourish with a multitude of seeds, bulbs, and live plants to spruce up windowsills and landscaped yards. Customers can transport spring to flora-starved yards by sprinkling the seeds of the Alaska shasta daisy ($2.25/200-seed packet), or ward off colds and close social interaction by planting 10 200-seed packets of garlic chive herbs ($15). Lady Mix marigolds ($3.45 for a 50-seed packet) permeate spaces with citrusy hues, and the bright red Lizzano hybrid tomato ($5.50 for two 10-seed packets) tries to sneak out of backyard gardens disguised as a clown nose.
Bead Bin's staff furnishes jewelry boxes with a wide array of well-organized beads and stringing material and teaches the craft of creating jewelry by leading a variety of instructive classes. A smorgasbord of glass pearls and Swarovski crystals populate beading kits available in a galaxy of colors, outfitted with either base-metal or sterling-silver fasteners. After baubles in favorite colors or eye-matching hues have been chosen, guests receive an in-store tutorial on proper bead-slinging techniques to create bracelets that decorate delicate joints like a piñata decorates the interior of a lucky politician's limousine.
The Kitchen Gallery features around 2,000 products in its diverse and expansive store. All manner of kitchen utensils and accessories are available from TKG to aid chefs throughout all stages of food preparation and consumption. Practice your speedy onion dices with a Kershaw Shun Wasabi Santoku knife ($34.95) on a brand-new bamboo Hana grooved cutting board ($12.99), both ideal for menacingly polishing in a front-porch rocking chair. Mix and mash to your heart's content with a Duralex Lys nine-piece nesting-bowl set ($25). Use the 11" barbecue wok/stir-fry non-stick pan ($9.50) for Asian-infused meals or as a highly ineffective canoe paddle. Finish your fabulous feast with a chocolate-dipped delicacy made with a 12-piece Fest chocolate-fondue set ($28), along with some after-dinner caffeine from a Chambord 32 oz. French press ($39.95).