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.
The florists at Bel Aire Flowers have been assembling visual and olfactory works of art since 1964, arranging vibrant and elegant pieces for any number of special occasions. Much like the curators of the Smithsonian, they restock their selection daily, bringing tropical flowers in from Hilo, Hawaii, and buying blooming plants from local growers. As professional FTD florists, they also prepare exclusive and branded arrangements, delivering their bouquets throughout Milwaukee as well as Waukesha and Lake Counties. In addition to blooms, the florist also lines Bel Aire's shelves with gifts and keepsakes, including teddy bears, balloons, and candies.
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.
With more than 100 years of botany experience, the family-owned business offers a sizeable selection of creative floral designs. Use this Groupon toward sophisticating your mother with a My Sophisticated Mom ($125+) arrangement of roses, exotic orchids, tulips, and hydrangeas, or hand her the profound feelings you've never been able to verbally articulate with a My Mom Loves Purple ($59+) or My Mom Loves Soft Pink Flowers ($35+) display.
The grassplot professionals at Green Machine Landscaping prep lawns to grow their greenest come springtime. During the aeration process, landscapers loosen tightly compacted soil and thatch in order to allow better permeation by water, oxygen, and magic beans. Newly decompressed soil extends an invitation for grass to grow healthier and for nutrients to transfer more effectively, which can help curb future infestations of crabgrass and weeds. Because no two yards are exactly alike, Green Machine's timely lawn tenders apply custom treatment to each tract to best serve its individual needs, whether it requires more water, has sandy soil, or just needs constant reassurance that its haircut looks good.