From this neck of the woods

Springtime seems closer at Down to Earth Garden Center

McKenna Dirks

More stories from McKenna Dirks

3rd and Vine
April 5, 2022

Red roses, tiny cacti and green leaves are things not exactly seen this time of year. In the dead of winter, piles of white surround us and hide some of life’s colorful creations. However, there is a place where one could indulge in a myriad of colors year round, rain or shine. Down to Earth Garden Center features colorful garden goodies to spice up the cold, wintery outdoor scene.

Located on the south side of Eau Claire, Down to Earth Garden Center is a family-owned business made up of a garden center, a cafe and a boutique. The seed of this business was planted in Cadott, Wisconsin.

Amanda Danke, outside manager of the garden center, said the owners, John and Sandi Polzin, had the idea of starting their business when their son, Benjamin Polzin who at twelve years old, worked with pumpkin and sweet corn sales.

Benjamin’s cousin, Dominic Paull joined the family business as well. Their business in Cadott took off in 1997, but he said the family expanded into the Eau Claire area around nine years ago. Their center in Cadott is now the growing facility, open to the public.

Danke said the business now holds around six acres of sales area, inside and outside. In addition, she said the family does a lot of traveling to find unique things for their business and providing education of items sold to customers. According to their website they also specialize in landscaping — which is done by professionals that take pride in their work — all while being friendly, courteous and down to earth.

“The experiences change every day, there’s always new adventures,” Danke said, “I love the plants. My bosses are the best bosses I’ve ever worked for.”

Down to Earth Garden Center holds many events for the public, such as succulent planter workshops, yoga classes in their greenhouse during the winter and hanging basket workshops. One of the largest events the center holds is an annual Easter egg hunt accompanied by real bunnies and baby chicks. They also host an exotic animal zoo in the fall. All events hosted by Down to Earth Garden Center can be found on their website.

Amy Heikkinen, an Eau Claire community member, visited the garden center Saturday with her her twin children Claire and Eli.

“I’m here for Valentine’s Day, my husband told me to pick something out,” Heikkinen said. “It’s nice to get out of the house and out of the frigid air to let the kids roam around.”

In addition to the garden center, there’s also a cafe called Five and Two and a boutique called The Mustard Seed located next door.

Danke said the name Five and Two comes from a verse in the Bible, Mark 6:39, which is the story of Jesus taking five loaves of bread and two fish and sharing them among five thousand men. She also said the Polzin family runs their business on a Christian basis, bringing out the significance of the name of the cafe.

A garden full of green plants, coffee and clothes; all things to consider when attempting to rid oneself of the winter blues.

Dirks can be reached at [email protected].