Where Do You Buy Your Plants?

The other day we wrote a post about a new garden we’ve built this spring. That garden was built with a lot of sweat, and a lot of visits to various garden centers, markets and a local farm. I thought our experiences might help you with your gardens. Here’s where we went to get our supplies…

First, we had to dig up a good portion of the yard and deploy that “sod” elsewhere. We have a fairly small plot, .16 acres, so that was a bit of a challenge. We placed it in some areas that needed to be filled and then scattered it in various areas around the yard. It wasn’t pretty at first, but we’ve since fixed it and made it look normal.

Once there was a big hole, it needed to be filled with dirt. We ordered some topsoil from Moscarillo’s in West Hartford after calling around to a few West-of-the-River local places. They seemed to have the best combined price and delivery fee. The soil was very clean and I would recommend them if they’re in your area. Remember, delivery fee is based on distance, so you may want to find a place closer to your home. Most local, large garden stores will deliver dirt or mulch. We also realized we needed some nutrients for the soil, so we bought some organic manure compound there too.

The garden was filled with dirt and nutrients, so then it was time to plant. We went to our old stand by and favorite market, the Hartford Regional Farmer’s Market. If you’ve never been to this, drag your bum out of bed really early some Saturday morning (yes, 6:00am) and go. There are many, many vendors and you can get shrubs, perennials, annuals, vegetable plants and herbs very cheaply. No, super cheaply. Many of the shrubs and perennials we purchased were at least half the cost of what we would have paid at a garden center, locally owned or nationally owned. It’s so worth it. Just go.

The one bush we wanted that we couldn’t find at the Farmer’s Market was a Rose of Sharon. After doing some internet research, I found Woodland Gardens in Manchester. A quick call to them confirmed they had the plant we were looking for. I’m so glad we found them! They’re a huge center with just about any house plant, outdoor plant, shrub or tree you could imagine. They also had the manure compound bags for about half the price of what we paid at Moscarillo’s. The staff was friendly and very knowledgeable, giving suggestions for plants that would work based on the sunlight we get and the fact that some of our plants would be planted at the base of a tree. We bought our Rose of Sharon and a few shade perennials there. Prices on the shrub and plants were more than reasonable, but not as cheap as the Farmer’s Market.

Finally, we needed our tomato plants to complete the space. Kyle had heard good things about Urban Oaks Organic Farm in New Britain. They apparently had a very large selection of organic, heirloom tomato seedlings. Their plant sale started last Friday and runs on Fridays and Saturdays through June 16. We went last Friday and bought several different kinds of tomato plants. They had an impressive number of varieties, both slicing tomatoes and cherry tomatoes. They also had seedlings for many other vegetables. The prices were incredibly reasonable, particularly for heirloom varieties.

With all of our finds in place we then decided to mulch in order to minimize the need for weeding later in the season. Back to Moscarillo’s for mulch which was delivered to our driveway. It was a lot more expensive that I thought it would be. A friend discovered that Hartford’s Open Hearth also has mulch and their prices were very reasonable. We typically get our firewood from the organization, but never realized they do mulch. Next year… Call them for details if you’d like to learn more about their mulch options.

Unfortunately I didn’t get around to writing this post in time for the Knox Parks Annual Plant Sale. I have heard that they still have plants left though, so if you call you can get details on when you could stop by to buy plants. I wasn’t able to make it this year due to work, but have shopped the sale in years past and had very good luck. The perennials I previously purchased are thriving in our other gardens. Knox does a lot of wonderful work in Hartford greening our public spaces and neighborhoods. Show your support if you can.

A couple of other local places you may want to check out are Comstock, Ferre & Co. in Wethersfield and Gledhill Nursery in West Hartford. Comstock, Ferre is located in picturesque Old Wethersfield. They have a huge selection of vegetable seeds (many heirloom), some seedlings and some shrubs and plants. The variety of live plants change, but the selection of seeds is always there. Prices are reasonable and the staff is helpful. They are not open on Saturdays though, so plan accordingly.

Gledhill is in its own little world in West Hartford. Tucked away off of Mountain Road, you’d think you were in the middle of the woods. Displays are beautiful, they have all sorts of pots and crocks and plants and shrubs. The staff knows their stuff. The pricing is high. Really high. Just plan on spending a lot if you buy your plants/shrubs there.

Now our garden is in and we’re in maintenance mode. It will be interesting to see how things grow and what makes it and what doesn’t.

What are your favorite gardening places in the area?

3 thoughts on “Where Do You Buy Your Plants?

  1. Gledhill is our go-to spot for all things garden. In my experiences, I’ve actually found them cheaper than Moscarillo’s (sometimes significantly), plus Gledhill has a rewards program, so you earn $$ back on all your purchases. And the staff are super knowledgeable and helpful.

    The other hidden gem is O’Brien Hosta Farm in Granby. A trek, but totally worth it – John has 1100(!) varieties of hostas, most of which he also has planted in his display gardens so you can see what they will look like when they grow up. He also has tons of other specialty plants. Only open Fri, Sat, Sun. Check his schedule online.

    If you are in West Hartford, you can get cheap (and free, in some cases) topsoil, compost and mulch from the transfer station on Brixton Street. Pick-up or deliver.

  2. Megan, thanks for the tips! Good to know you’ve had a better experience at Gledhill. We were pricing shrubs and the prices were higher than other places we looked. We didn’t go to Moscarillo’s to look for shrubs, so no idea how they compare on that front.

    I had not heard of the Hosta Farm before. That’s a great tip, as many of us in the West End have shade yards given the huge trees in the neighborhood.

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