Have you been to these local garden centers?

Cape Cod Life  /  April 2019 /

Writer: Julie Craven Wagner / Photographer: Teagan Anne 

How Does Your Garden Grow?

There are few resources as valuable as your local garden center for those who consider gardening among their passions, pursuits or hobbies. Just think about it: If you love to cook, other than your local cooking supply shop, where can you go to get free consultation as well as solutions to move forward with your efforts? If woodworking is your hobby, where do you turn when you have a tricky problem? And if you are a novice in most anything, where could you go to get a fairly informative plan that will get you started, from the ground up, literally?

Our local garden centers offer an incredible set of resources, knowledge-based professionals as well as a dizzying array of products and choices for virtually any type of garden or yard endeavor.

Soares Flower Garden Nursery

Terry and Reg Soares have been providing their expertise and know-how to gardeners for over three decades. Tucked into a shady enclave off of Sandwich Road in Falmouth, the garden center is a tour de force of horticultural acumen. Their knowledge of established as well as evolving gardening practices is a local gold mine. They offer all the beloved specimen of perennials, annuals, vegetables and shrubs, but you can also count on discovering a brand new favorite.

Helping gardeners understand how to successfully create an environment that not only meets but also exceeds their expectations—whether that involves creating a pollinator garden, a hydrangea border or a shade selection that commands attention—is what Soares’ customers have come to expect from this exceptional garden center.

“Our focus is on making gardeners smile by offering unique plants and good advice,” says Terry Soares. “We love it when we are able to ignite the excitement of gardening in both new and experienced gardeners.” She goes on to say that their many workshops, talks and classes are a great hands-on way for people to experience the joy of gardening. Simply put, what Soares has to offer is best summed up in the company’s tagline: “Making gardeners smile for over twenty years.”

Hyannis Country Garden

This extraordinary resource, located on West Main Street in Hyannis, is one of the largest gardening retailers in New England and has been providing local gardeners with everything they need for our unique Cape environment. Also specializing in water gardening and koi ponds, their knowledgeable staff can help add a special element to any backyard. 

During the warmer months, their greenhouses and acres of display area are full of perennials, annuals, vegetables, roses, shrubs and trees that are sure to fulfill any gardener’s wish list. A robust schedule of special events keeps their calendar busy throughout the year, with talks and workshops on such topics as bonsai gardening, fairy gardens and more.

A new service they provide allows individuals to order specific plant varieties offered by Monrovia growers and have them delivered to Country Garden in time for planting. That kind of personalized, exacting service extends to their Personal Shopper offering, which allows customers to communicate a product list and they will have it ready for pick-up. Taking it one step further, the relationship established with their Personal Shoppers keeps customers in-the-know when it comes to new shipments that are due in. “Sometimes the relationship between the Shoppers and their customers becomes so close that the buyers will reach out to their customers when something ‘right up their alley’ arrives,” says Jocelyn Duffley, general manager and third-generation co-owner.

And the full-service commitment doesn’t stop there. Country Garden will help clients find the perfect pot for their plants and even do their potting for them in any of the countless pots in their inventory. Just shop, and like fairies, the plants you fall in love with at the garden center will magically be ready to place in your home.

Crocker Nurseries

For almost 45 years, Crocker Nurseries on Route 137 in Brewster has been keeping the Cape in bloom. Their commitment to providing the highest quality product and service to help ensure gardeners’ success has been their driving force since the beginning. Their individualized, educational approach pairs the right plants with the right spot in your own environment.

Known for their extensive selection of nursery stock, consisting of shrubs, trees, evergreens and roses, Crocker sources varieties with a proven track record of success in the unique Cape Cod growing habitat. Keeping this stock vital and healthy is at the forefront of Crocker’s product presentation for their customers. Specimen are cared for to ensure minimal stress, all so that by the time they are planted in their forever home they are ready to thrive.

That care and attention also extends to their stock of annuals and perennials. Since they grow the bulk of their perennials, their efforts begin in the fall with their order of cuttings from the previous year’s star performers. Then a winter spent in a warm and humid greenhouse ultimately reveals an ideal specimen for your beds, planters or other destination. Annual planting starts early spring, and careful attention is paid to the best type of container for each plant, whether it is a pot or a hanging basket. 

Founder and owner David Crocker says: “Our tagline is ‘Where quality is your best buy,’ but that actually comes from the quality, care and service that we strive to deliver. There is plenty of competition these days, but I’m proud to say we are seeing second and third generations of our loyal customers.”

The Farm

This friendly and approachable center on Rock Harbor Road in Orleans might very well become your family’s favorite destination. Owned by the Richardson family, they have been successfully planting and growing on the Cape for decades, and are eager to share their knowledge and expertise with any willing gardener. Their selection of annuals and edibles (vegetables, etc.) is one that is truly unique and not found elsewhere.

As visitors meander down the dirt lane and finally come upon this oasis of gardening delight, they are continually amazed at what they find, says owner Sassy Richardson-Roche. “The look of amazement always lets us know when a new customer arrives.” This environmentally conscious business thrives in a pesticide-free zone, which Richardson-Roche says is not organic, but, “We are very responsible in our use of fertilizers.” That deliberate application of beneficial treatment extends past the plant material when she explains that they are also very conscious about their energy and water use in this fragile Cape environment.

The 10-plus acres here consist of eight greenhouses, and paths upon paths that meander through the 25,000 perennials encourage a leisurely stroll to consider how the stock might work in your own garden. The communal, supportive vibe that is present may partially influence the easy exchange of questions and advice between The Farm’s staff and their customers. Richardson-Roche says that people always have questions about which tomatoes bear the best fruit, what attracts pollinators, and of course questions about the Cape’s beloved hydrangeas.

Bayberry Gardens

For over 40 years, this outpost on Route 6 in Truro has been keeping gardeners happy, satisfied and energized. Recognizing that gardening is a slightly different undertaking at this part of the Cape, their knowledgeable staff helps homeowners navigate the challenges of sandier soil and relentless winds. One of the most successful solutions to Outer Cape gardening is an understanding of what has a higher likelihood to thrive and succeed.

The use of native plant species is one of the most natural solutions, and Bayberry has plenty from which to choose. Grasses, shrubs, evergreens and even some herbs and ornamentals can be the perfect solution to not only provide stability and longevity to your outdoor space, but they can also contribute a sense of style and color that homeowners hope to achieve.

In addition to the perennials, annuals, vegetables and organic seeds you would expect to find, this one-stop garden center can make sure you have all of the compost, top soil and mulch you need, whether in bags or in bulk. Seasonally, they have cut and potted Christmas trees and greens, and their shop is full of every gardening tool, accessory and garden item you will ever need.

The Outer Cape may seem a bit bare and sparse, but the sight of Bayberry Gardens as you travel along Route 6 dispels that myth in a mere glimpse.

Garden Renovations

At the tip of the Cape is a small nursery at the beginning of Race Point Road. As with everything Provincetown, space is at a premium, and the folks at Garden Renovations have made the very best use of theirs. Manager Jennifer Corliss says that the warmer months of May through August are when they are at their busiest. “Homeowners arrive in May, and whether they plan on setting things up for themselves or for renters, they flock here to get everything they need.” 

The nursery has been a landmark for decades and under the same ownership since 2007. The operation also specializes in full-service landscape installation and maintenance services for their clients that also include hardscape solutions. Given the tight living quarters and challenges associated with parking in the downtown area, Garden Renovations full-service options are a popular choice for homeowners.

Corliss says that customers are looking for the kinds of plants that don’t require a significant amount of maintenance, but annuals, vegetables, trees and shrubs are on just about everyone’s lists. They also offer a large variety of native species that homeowners and professional landscapers often have to incorporate into mitigation plans when properties impact sensitive conservation areas.

At the tip of Cape Cod, it is comforting to know that you can still find everything you need to make your world bloom.

Donaroma’s Nursery

Just the name Martha’s Vineyard conjures up images of lush, verdant environments, so it is no wonder that Donaroma’s on Upper Main Street in Edgartown is the epitome of a Garden of Eden. Fourth-generation Martha’s Vineyard resident Mike Donaroma has been getting his hands dirty for over 50 years. 

This full-service nursery has everything any island homeowner might need, and even a few things an off-islander might wonder if they can take home on the ferry. The lush grounds embrace the adjacent Bad Martha’s Brewery and provide an idyllic backdrop to the tasting terrace. 

Recent offerings include a hand-selected variety of plants to create a naturalized meadow garden that would put the finishing touches on any Vineyard landscape. Nursery manager Patty Mundt says: “We have loads of native plants as well that incorporate into the natural setting. When you combine them with other native perennials that are prone to re-seeding, like echinacea and coreopsis, and even an annual like cleome, it just all blends together.”

The operation at Donaroma’s includes 14 greenhouses and several acres, including a couple acres dedicated to hardy perennials they uncover through the colder months.

From bonsai to begonias and butterfly bushes in between, the selection, expertise and quality found at Donaroma’s will never leave you feeling that you are living on a desert island.

Julie Craven Wagner

Julie Craven Wagner began her experience with Cape Cod Life in 2010 when she joined the sales team after 10 years of working with local businesses on the Cape and Islands with WMVY. In addition to sales, she is the Associate Publisher/Editor of Cape Cod LIFE, Cape Cod HOME, and Cape Cod ART. Growing up on the Outer Cape has given her a unique perspective of life on Cape Cod, from tip to bridge, and that is reflected in her appreciation and presentation of stories found within the pages of our publications. Julie lives in North Falmouth with her husband, Eric, and their yellow lab, Enzo. When she finds free time, she enjoys her Cape Cod life sailing on Buzzards Bay, spending time on the beach in Wellfleet, or exploring Martha’s Vineyard.