Spring is in the air and the borough is blooming. Hidden among its churches and stoops, Brooklyn also has a bountiful botany selection — and not just in the cut-flower racks of bodegas.
Looking to invest in some window-box tulips or a bit of greenery for that stoop planter or backyard? These seven garden centers offer a diverse array of plants to suit any garden in our clime, including many that can thrive with the help of just a little love and sunshine.
We left off the obvious national chains and focused on independent and local operations that carry harder-to-find quality perennials, shrubs and evergreens in quantities suitable for garden design and landscaping. Below, seven spots with big enough selection of outdoor plants to be worth a special trip.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
In addition to being a year-round borough green space, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden also annually hosts one of the largest plant sales in the metropolitan area. While the garden sells indoor plants and related paraphernalia in its gift shop and online store, the annual plant sale is a major event, featuring not just a large selection of greenery for purchase but also free talks and workshops by BBG curators. For the few days of the sale, the Cherry Esplanade sports a bigger selection of herbs, vegetables, annuals and perennials for sun and shade than most other garden centers in Brooklyn. Edibles, dahlias, and roses are especially plentiful.
990 Washington Avenue. The plant sale takes place every year in early May. It opens the first evening for members only from 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and then opens to the public the following day from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Brooklyn Terminal Market
A retail and wholesale market operating in Canarsie since 1942, Brooklyn Terminal Market is home to two nurseries, A. Visconti Inc. and Brooklyn Plantology by Lapide. Most easily reached by car, the market specializes in produce and seasonal goods and is known for its reasonable prices. The two nurseries are no exception and boast a large selection of perennials, evergreens, indoor plants and seasonal decorations, typically for slightly less than what you would pay elsewhere in the borough.
Brooklyn Terminal Market (Canarsie). Located at 14 Brooklyn Terminal Market (at East 83rd and Foster Avenue), A. Visconti Inc. is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Sunday. Located at 26 South Market Street (entrance is on East 87th Street and Foster Avenue), Brooklyn Plantology by Lapide is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Sunday.
Chelsea Garden Center
Originally located in Chelsea, the Chelsea Garden Center now has two locations in Brooklyn. The Red Hook store near Fairway is one of the borough’s largest nurseries, with ample outdoor space and a vast plant selection. The original Chelsea store closed in 2015 and relocated to Williamsburg the same year, opening in a sunny lot in the heart of the busy neighborhood.
The centers sell pottery, garden furniture, acclimated tropical houseplants from Florida and Hawaii, and a huge selection of outdoor shrubs, trees, and perennials.
444 Van Brunt Street (Red Hook); open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. 87 Havemeyer Street (Williamsburg); open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.
Crest True Value Hardware & Urban Garden Center
A 50-year-old family-owned business on Williamsburg’s Metropolitan Avenue, Crest True Value Hardware & Urban Garden Center offers garden tools and accessories and an unexpectedly large selection of plants in its hidden backyard space. Pick up annuals and vegetables from the store’s sidewalk display or browse perennials and shrubs outside in the back. The outdoor selection emphasizes informal-looking plants such as daisy-like coreopsis and rudbeckias, salvias, and simple single- and double-petal roses. Crest also boasts an annual hardware-themed art show with local artists that takes place every year in June inside and out. As well, the shop is home to Franklin, a pot bellied pig.
Crest True Value Hardware & Urban Garden Center is located at 558 Metropolitan Avenue and is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.
David Shannon Nursery and Florist
Family owned and operated for more than 40 years, David Shannon Nursery and Florist brags of being Brooklyn’s largest greenhouse. Located directly south of Green-Wood Cemetery, David Shannon’s (which is actually run by the Perrotta family) offers colorful annuals, perennials, ground covers, vegetables, shrubs and trees. They deliver to all five boroughs.
3380 Fort Hamilton Parkway. Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays.
Kings County Nurseries
A few blocks east of Prospect Park, in East Flatbush close to Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Kings County Nurseries sells everything from bamboo and berries to sod and stone in its 20,000-square-foot garden center. The mostly outdoor space offers a wide selection of annuals, perennials, evergreens, roses and trees. The nursery’s website also offers a virtual tour for those on the fence about visiting.
625 New York Avenue. Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.
Yet another Williamsburg-based nursery, Sprout Home specializes in gardening for small urban spaces, including container gardens for rooftops and decks. The store offers a variety of classes on everything from terrarium building to floral design in addition to the array of pots, plants and other supplies featured in its indoor and outdoor space. Founded in 2003, the nursery began in Chicago and opened its second location, in Brooklyn, in 2007. The store maintains large outdoor storage spaces on the block, making its actual inventory larger than it appears in the store. Its backyard space is big on grasses, evergreens, and colorful perennials that offer year-round impact to make the most of small gardens.
Sprout is located at 59 Grand Street and is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day.
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