Shorewood's Urban Garden Packs More Than Just Flowers
Garden Room is a gardener's playground in the middle of the city.
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Despite the recent numbers showing up on our thermometers, spring is
just around the corner. It's almost time for the thawing of gardens and
planting of flowers and veggies. And all of that is within reach
whether you have a sprawling yard or tiny balcony thanks to the
expertise at Garden Room, 2107 E. Capitol Dr.
The brick building, which was acquired by owner Deborah Kern in 1999
and transformed in 2001, appears unassuming in a quick drive by. The
second story greenhouse is easy to miss. One step inside the sprawling
shop, however, and you're transported into an urban rainforest dotted
with a wide assortment of gifts, supplies, books and toys. Lush green
plants and vines travel from the lower level, which houses the Anaba
Tea Room, through the shop and up to the rooftop greenhouse. Anaba Tea
Room offering a lunch and dinner menu, selection of wines and of
The shop itself is home to a large variety of gifts, from children’s
toys and learning tools to candles and unique home decor accents. The
paper goods section was recently expanded to help fill the void of the
recently closed local bookstore. Bird feeders and bistro sets are
additionally on display.
The retail level similarly showcases a vast selection of gardening
tools from all points of the globe including American made, Japanese,
Dutch, English and innovative tools from Wisconsin makers. Pots in all
shapes and sizes compliment the many green indoor plants that are also
"All the sorts of things an avid gardener and a beginning gardener
would want to pick up and at a very broad price range," Doug McDonald,
general manager, said.
A quick trip up the elevator transports patrons to the 4,000 square
foot rooftop, home to the greenhouse which is open year round and hosts
daily food service from the Anaba Tea Room. An occasional small wedding
has also taken place in Shorewood's very own secret garden, amongst the
wrought iron gates and beautiful fountain.
"It's really nice up here, and it's actually quite nice up here in
the middle of winter in a snow storm. People come up here and have
lunch and we have free Wi-Fi," said McDonald.
The green house offers indoor and outdoor seating and boasts a retractable roof when the weather allows.
Garden Room is gearing up for the upcoming planting season,
which generally coincides with Mother's Day. When the temperatures
finally take a turn for the warmth, the garage doors on the facade of
the building will roll open and carts filled with annuals will occupy
the sidewalks. The plants are sourced from local, small greenhouses.
"We want to do small business to small business work whenever we can," McDonald said.
If your thumb is not quite the shade of green you're striving for, Garden Room is here to help.
"We're always, always able to look things up and reference things.
That's part of our service here," McDonald said. "We've always had a
customer service motto that's a bit old school. If we don't know it
we'll find someone who does."
And if your gardening space is more of a studio than a sprawling
mansion, that's not a problem. The seasoned gardeners on staff are
knowledgeable in the art of urbanized landscaping.
"We're very mindful of small gardening spaces and urban living. From
window boxes to hanging balcony baskets, there's lots of
considerations," McDonald said.
Garden Room is often referred to as an "upscale" garden center.
The quality and locally sourced products are top notch and atmosphere
is decadent, but the strive for distinction shouldn't be mistaken for
stuffiness McDonald said.
"I think that's a stumbling block for people but we are so not that.
We love when people come in and talk about their personal gardening
experiences. We're far more casual than people take us for," McDonald
Garden Room hosts a bouquet of ever changing events including
their ongoing art exhibit and upcoming spring workshops. You can
register for them online or by calling 414-963-1657.