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Where do some of the area’s most experienced gardeners go for supplies and plants? We asked some 20 of them and came up with this list. Each business is listed under the category for which it was mentioned most often, although many offer products and services across several categories.

Flowers

Carroll Gardens was started in the 1930s as a mail-order catalog for unusual perennials and evolved into a full-service garden center with one of the broadest selections of plants in the area. “We specialize in plants that are easier to care for but are still distinct,” says co-owner and president Alan Summers, citing mildew-free Dwarf Korean Lilac and the hearty Carefree Beauty rose. Summers dispenses advice and encouragement to gardeners every Saturday morning, year-round 7a.m. to 9 a.m. during his radio show, Garden Talk, on WCBM 680AM. (444 E. Main St., Westminster, 410-876-7336, http://www.carrollgardens.com. Open 8:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. Monday – Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sundays.)

Main’s Greenhouse. This mom and pop operation founded in 1977 by Chuck and Liza Main has a wide selection of annuals and more than 500 varieties of perennials. “It’s a hidden little place,” says garden designer Lisa Sherwood, “with wonderfully home grown unusual plants.” Best sellers include unusual tropical plants for outdoors like the Canna and Colocasia “Elephant Ears”, and the New Zealand Flax. All plants are grown in eight on-site greenhouses. (3659 Riva Road, Davidsonville, 410-798-6980. Open daily, 8:30 to 5:30, Sunday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. until June 1. Summer hours: Tues. –Sat., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sun. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.)

A Towson institution, Radebaugh’s Florist and Greenhouses has been in the Radebaugh family for four generations and features a wide selection of annuals and perennials. The business grows many of the cut flowers it uses in its signature quick bouquets. Staff designers also create elaborate centerpieces and decorative wreaths. “It’s too often overlooked as a gardener’s resource because people think of first for its arrangements,” says one regular. (Burke Ave, 410-825-4300. Open Mon.-Sat. 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. )

This family-run Worthington Gardens in Glyndon has offered one of the best varieties of annuals in the area since opening in 1958. “They grow certain annuals that no one else grows, and wonderful vegetables,” says regular customer Eleanor Weller, an interior designer and garden historian. The nursery’s in-house experts can create custom hanging baskets and will custom grow plants to fit a customer’s needs. (4405 Butler Rd., 410-833-4112, Glyndon. Open Mon.-Sat., 9 a.m.- 6 p.m.; Sun. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

Tools

Smith and Hawken has long been a popular source of high quality—- and high-priced—- equipment and tools, including specialty items such as the Asian-inspired Japanese Weeder and Falco pruners. “Once you get them, you have them forever and ever,” says veteran gardener Susie Russell. Wares also include garden stakes, hand-wrought pots, and garden-inspired gifts. (1340 Smith Ave., 410-433-0119, (http://www.SmithandHawken.com). Open Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.- 6 p.m., Sun., noon- 6 p.m.)

Begun 30 years ago as a feed and tool shop for area farmers, Bowens Farm Supply has grown into a garden center that offers everything from flowers to tractors. “They have sturdy tools, as reliable as they come,” notes garden designer Sherwood. “Maybe not as fancy as some, but expensive isn’t always the best.” And if they don’t have it, they’ll order it. (2550 Riva Rd, 410-841-6626. Open Mon.-Fri., 7:30 a.m– 6 p.m.; Sat. 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.)

Trees/Shrubs

Situated in Northern Baltimore County, Fieldstone Nursery, Inc. is a family operation with one of the best selections of Japanese Maples in the Mid-atlantic area, some 100 varieties of them. (19136 Middletown Rd., 410-357-5114, http://www.fieldstonenurseryinc.com. Open Wed.-Sat. 9 a.m.-6p.m., and Sun., 12 – 4 p.m.)

Green Fields Nursery & Landscaping Company, started out of August Dubbert’s home in the Hamilton neighborhood in 1923 and was moved to its current location in the ‘40s. Jim McElroy purchased the business from Dubbert’s son, Lou, and greatly expanded the business, adding landscaping design and installation services. One of the few nurseries still operating in Baltimore city, Greenfields carries an extensive offering of trees and shrubs, annuals, perennials, pots and hard goods such as tools and mulch. Offerings include harder to find trees such as the Weeping Red Bud, White Bud and Ginko, and signature flowering shrubs such as Clethra and low-growing, late blooming azaleas. Knowledgeable staff designers offer advice on garden design and tree care. (5424 Falls Rd., at Northern Parkway, 410-323-3444. Mon.- Sat., 9 a.m.- 7 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.)

Pots, Urns, Statuary

For the past 30 years, family-run Myland Farms has been a favored provider of planting containers in everything from ceramic to iron, plus hard to find garden accents such as decorative pillars, statues and bird baths. Located in the heart of the Green Spring Valley, the firm is also known for its growing floral design and decorating services, for which it creates bouquets and centerpieces and rents potted trees. (Stevenson Village Center, 410-484-5540. Open Mon.- Fri., 9 a.m.- 5 p.m., and Sat. 9 a.m.- 4 p.m.)

Mulch, Fertilizer, Soil

Now at its third location in Baltimore, 91-year-old Meyers Seed Company offers a wide variety of mulches, soil and fertilizer. One of their newest trends is custom-dyed mulch made to order. “Brick red seems to be the favorite, but I’ve seen blue, orange, and green too,” explains long time employee John Kozenski. They also carry the ever popular dehydrated cow manure fertilizer, which is ideal for providing nutrients to flowers—“especially in established beds,” notes Susie Russell, who also recommends a light potting soil called Pro Mix. Over the years, Meyers’ seed selection has expanded from vegetables-only to field seeds including rye, barley, and buckwheat, flowers like Ricinus and Moon Flower and birdseed. They deliver, too. (Maryland, Northern Virginia, Delaware, West Virginia, and New Jersey) (600 S. Caroline St, 410-342-4224. Open Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.; Sat. 8 a.m.- noon

Herbs

Betty’s Gardens offers a hundred or more varieties of herbs home-grown on Betty Baldwin’s family farm, including hard to find varieties such as Foxglove used as heart medicine and Sorrel, a colonial herb for soups, dips, and salads. Betty and her small staff also make custom arrangements and will custom design herb gardens for customers. They also offer advice on decorating with herbs, mostly dried. (1517 Providence Rd. 410-823-2321. Open Mon.-Sat., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sun. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April & May)

Hildreth Morton started growing tomato plants in the corner of a tobacco farm amid the rolling hills of Davidsonville in 1961. Today, Bittersweet Hill is a specialty nursery offering hundreds of herbs– medicinal, culinary and decorative. In addition to herbs, the company grows aquatic plants and carries state-of-the-art pond equipment. And “dear Hildreth,” as one fan refers to the founder, offers great tips in addition to great plants. (1274 Governors Bridge Rd., Davidsonville, 410-798-0231. Open daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

Water Gardening

This 4th generation family business was started in 1917 as a roadside goldfish stand operated by the great-grandfather of current company president Margaret Koogle. Lilypons now operates 500 ponds on 300 acres in Buckeystown, Md. and sells everything needed for aquatic gardening, from plants and fish to pumps and statuary. Although the company offers some five varieties of fish, it’s new specialty is water lilies—- more than 50 types. The mail-order part of the company ships virtually everything it sells. (6800 Lilypons Road, Buckeystown, Md., 1-800-999-LILY [5459]. Open Mon.-Sat., 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m ; Sun. 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.)

General Gardening Retail

Many gardeners consider Home Depot to be the best kept secret in the area when it comes to standard supplies at reasonable prices—trees and shrubs, annuals, perennials, tools and statuary, backed by a one-year guarantee. (Several area locations. Call for hours.)

Recommended Catalogs

White Flower Farm (http://www.whiteflowerfarm.com)
Carroll Gardens (http://www.carrollgardens.com)
A.M. Leonard (http://www.amleo.com)
Heronswood Nursery (http://www.heronswood.com)

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