Opening a nursery in the middle of a drought may seem crazy to most folks, but for Duanne and Janet Karle, launching The Weeping Mulberry in Warwick is a dream come true.

“This idea has been in my head for probably 20 years,” Duanne said, smiling. “It’s been in the pipeline for a long time.” Tucked into the former office building of the once bustling hub of the Warwick Cooperative Dairy, The Weeping Mulberry is an oasis of beauty and inspiration with a coffee lounge, nursery, interior design, and hopefully, one day soon, an upmarket wine and whiskey lounge. “I want it to be a unique experience where nothing is the same as anywhere else in town,” Duanne said.“A place for people to come to relax, lounge and forget their troubles. A place where they don’t feel rushed to leave.”

Duanne and Janet have created their oasis by not changing the building at all, save for removing the old oil heaters. The result is a cosy and delightful warren of rooms where customers can happily wander from place to place discovering new ideas for their homes and gardens. There is a Reading Room full of books and comfy chairs to sink right into, and the Retro Room filled with retro furniture where guests often linger for hours. They are both popular with those who want a private room for a book club, quiet workspace or simply to get away with a group of friends for a good old visit.

Duanne and Janet are huge supporters of local talent, showcasing the works of local artists and featuring the delicious wares of local cooks and bakers in the charming coffee lounge. “I think it’s important to support local businesses because we can feed off each other,” Duanne said. “Especially during this hard time with the dry.” The nursery itself has a special range of items perfectly suited to local conditions and Duanne is excited to offer classes and workshops to help locals learn how to build thriving gardens even in drought. “I’m big on garden preparation,” Duanne said. “Things will survive if you prepare the soil properly.”

The Weeping Mulberry coffee lounge has become a local hotspot for people to gather for catch-ups and meetings where they can sip ethically and sustainably produced Campos coffee and indulge in homemade cakes, slices, muffins and a range of savouries such as lasagne, frittatas and quiche. It is especially popular with those who have dietary restrictions since they cater to gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, keto and vegan requirements. Pet owners have also found a welcoming haven in the pet friendly outdoor seating area and can even treat their dogs to homemade dog treats or a pupaccino made with cold water, lactose free milk and liver sprinkles.

Future plans include a nursery pergola featuring church pews, a large function area and the greatly anticipated wine and whiskey lounge. “The community has been really supportive,” Duanne said. “We’ve only been open since July, but we’re already looking to expand.”

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