Mickman Brothers has been helping Anoka County residents with gardening and landscaping projects since opening in 1975. Over the years, the business has expanded to include a full service Garden Center, professional Landscape Irrigation and Landscape Maintenance businesses and a Christmas Wreath Fundraising business.
Throughout its entire history, Mickman Brothers has stayed committed to Anoka County. Founders John S. and Chris Mickman opened across the street from the Majestic Oaks Golf Course in 1975 as a landscape business. They added an irrigation division in 1976, bought their father’s wreath business in 1977, moved to its current Ham Lake site in 1987 and purchased 40 acres in Oak Grove in 1997 to facilitate growth in their Christmas Wreath Business. In 2000 the brothers made a major expansion to their Ham Lake facility, adding a new Garden Center store, a warehouse and new glass greenhouses.
John said what has helped Chris and him survive in the business for over 37 years is they stay ahead of the curve on new products and technology. This includes advances in conservation such as the promotion of water saving devices to Landscape Irrigation Systems which can save a significant amount of water and money for their clients.
The Garden Center updates the annuals and perennials based on what the hottest products are at that time. They even organized a section of the garden center by color themes to help you select flowers and plants that will match and thrive in the area you are planting.
They sell permeable pavers material that can serve as your garden walkway or home driveway, for example. These surfaces absorb water back into the ground so it can recharge the groundwater instead of flowing to nearby storm sewers, lakes and rivers.
Mickman Brothers staff have always been available to answer questions, but the business is putting even more focus on consulting.
John’s daughter Mariah is in charge of the new Landscape Management division. For $99 — or more for large properties — Mariah will do an on-site evaluation of your landscape.
John said people make the mistake of assuming they can just plant a tree and let it be. That’s not the case even for the thousands of customers for whom Mickman Brothers have installed new landscaping.
“It shouldn’t look the best the day we get done,” John said. “It should look the best five years down the line, but it won’t unless it’s properly maintained.” For example, young trees need corrective pruning to ensure their canopies are healthy and strong when they mature.
Lighting these landscapes can really accentuate the positive features of your property if you are sitting outside on a beautiful evening with guests and want to show off your property. Or maybe you work long hours like John and hardly see your landscaping for half the year because the sun has already set by the time you get home.
A key aspect of maintaining a beautiful lawn and landscaping is proper watering. Mickman Brothers has sold all kinds of irrigation systems for over 30 years to meet the needs of small residential lots and large commercial lots. If you purchase a Mickman Brothers irrigation system for your lawn, you can brag to your friends and family that the company that installed your irrigation system is the same company responsible for keeping the grass green at the Minnesota Twins’ Target Field. Mickman Brothers was the subcontractor that installed the irrigation system at this major league ball park.
Mickman Brothers continues to work with the Twins on monitoring the irrigation system and making upgrades. Twins’ fans probably remember the trees that were removed in the outfield because the green backdrop and the trees apparently distracted the players when they were up to bat. John said the Twins’ grounds crew is planting annuals, perennials and shrubs where the trees used to be. The grounds crew used to manually water the trees, so Mickman Brothers installed a trickle irrigation system in this new landscaped area that has been specially modified so water does not spray over the wall and onto an outfielder during a game.
Mickman Brothers utilizes their CAD program that enables the landscape architects on staff to modify designs and to demonstrate how a system works to meet your specific needs. For example, Mickman Brothers designed and installed the irrigation system within The Lakes housing development in Blaine. John said this area would be using twice as much water for irrigation with a traditional system compared to the advanced moisture sensor system they installed.
Selling Christmas wreaths has been a family tradition since John’s father, John Victor Mickman, sold his first wreath for 75 cents in 1934 when he was just 12 years old. He wanted to buy a Christmas present for his mother Joanna, but was unable to afford one, so he took the Christmas wreath from her door and sold it to a family on Summit Avenue. She was not upset. She was shocked he sold the wreath for that much money.
Joanna started making and selling wreaths. John Victor and his wife Lucy Mickman eventually took over the business in the early 1950s before the business was passed on to Chris and John S. Mickman in 1977 after their father retired. Joanna kept making wreaths until she was 89 years old.
A big part of Mickman Brothers’ business each year is the Holiday Fundraising initiative in which it sells Christmas wreaths, door sprays and various other holiday decorations to customers in 49 states, except Hawaii, each holiday season. Over 90 percent are sold to organizations selling the wreaths and other products for fundraising. John said since he and his brother took over the wreath business from their father in 1977, these organizations have raised more than $75 million for their causes.
Since 2007, Mickman Brothers has set aside some of the profits from this holiday program to fund the planting of 50,000 or more tree seedlings each year, the Nature’s Holiday Gift Program. To date, over 250,000 seedlings have been planted in 19 states, including Minnesota.
John and Chris Mickman were honored in 2003 as the Minnesota Small Businessmen of the Year by the S.B.A.
Garden center hours are from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call the garden center at 763-413-3000, the irrigation division at 763-434-1487 or the landscape design division at 763-434-3346.