Great Garden Centers: Kelley & Kelley

Visiting Kelley & Kelley Nursery in Long Lake is like a step back in time. The 91-year-old nursery, which is on the old homestead of the Kelley farm, is just off Watertown Road on the far west side of the Twin Cities. For those of us not from that area, it takes a bit of looking to find it, but the Kelley & Kelley website has helpful directions.

The nursery’s approach to selling plants is decidedly low-key. There are rows and rows of plants lined up by genus, and you can wander among the choices, placing your selections in a wagon before checking out. Kelley & Kelley grows its own selections of hostas, ferns, coralbells and daylilies in raised beds (so you know they will be Minnesota hardy) as well as growing many plants in the greenhouse.

Kelley & Kelley also has several display gardens for both sun and shade as well as a shop featuring an abundance of garden decor. The large-scale urns and terra cotta pots offered at the nursery are especially impressive. There are places to sit among the gardens, making a trip to Kelley & Kelley feel almost like a visit to a friend’s gardens.

One of the extra benefits of shopping at Kelley & Kelley is that you will get a copy of the nursery’s catalog each spring. This publication is not a catalog in the traditional sense (though it lists plants) but rather an intelligent and erudite magazine filled with thoughts on gardening. For a sample, check out the website’s “This and That from Steve” column written by Steve Kelley.

Check tomorrow’s blog post for another one of Minnesota’s great garden centers that’s just down the road from Kelley & Kelley.

—Mary Lahr Schier