For New Yorkers looking to plant spring flowers, shrubs, or vegetable seedlings, figuring out which garden centers and nurseries are open — let alone what’s in stock — can be a chore. So to help you navigate the complicated task of buying seeds, plants, pots, soil, and compost in the middle of the coronavirus lockdown, we talked to five NYC plant experts about their favorite local nurseries that are still open, delivering, or offering curbside pickup.
Because they sell edible plants like vegetables and herbs, many of these small businesses have been deemed essential and allowed to stay open. If you do make a trip to buy something in person, remember to follow the same basic rules of social distancing and mask-wearing as you would at the grocery store. To keep your visit quick, George Pisegna, deputy director and chief of horticulture at the Horticulture Society of New York, suggests calling ahead to make sure they have what you are looking for. And if you are having plants delivered, don’t forget to tip generously.
Urban Garden Center
Both Pisegna and Andrew Barrett, NYC program director of FoodCorps (a nonprofit that connects kids to gardening and healthy food in school), mentioned this family-owned nursery in Harlem as a favorite place to source plant materials. Pisegna says it’s “probably one of the biggest real garden shops left in Manhattan,” offering everything from vegetable seedlings to garden fencing. Shopping hours and curbside pickup is seven days a week from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Deliveries are made Monday through Saturday between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Though the center is open, to avoid crowding, they encourage customers to shop online, by phone (9 a.m. to 7 p.m.) or by sending an email to Info@UrbanGardenNYC.com. Urban Garden Center is also offering special shopping hours for elderly or immunocompromised customers on a case-by-case basis.
Pisegna suggests this family-owned business that works with local farmers and specializes in flowers and houseplants. Despite having to close their three brick-and-mortar locations, the Plant Shed is making deliveries for online orders every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
This third-generation garden store comes recommended by both Pisegna and Melissa Metrick, professor of urban agriculture at NYU’s school of Nutrition and Food Studies. According to Pisegna, they specialize in succulents but also carry a ton of vegetables, fruit trees, and herbs. They have two locations and are currently offering online orders for delivery or pickup.
When we asked Brooklyn Grange co-founder Anastasia Cole Plakias and director of design Cecilia de Corral about their favorite local garden shops, they quickly shouted out Crest Hardware, saying, “We’re very excited to be delivering our first-ever round of vegetable seedlings to Crest Hardware in Williamsburg.” The seedlings got their start in the Brooklyn Grange greenhouse in Sunset Park and are acclimated to this climate, making them a great bet for NYC growers. Pisegna is also a big fan of the business. The company recently expanded and now carries a ton of plants, seeds, and other hardware-store essentials. If you go in person, hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and they are enforcing strict social-distancing rules, asking all customers to wear a mask inside or purchase one for $1. You can schedule a delivery by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of Metrick’s favorite spots, the Gowanus Nursery is offering online shopping for pickup or delivery (although there is a delivery fee). Browse their plants, seeds, and soil online, then email your selections and they’ll invoice you. Curbside pickups are available Thursday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Carroll Street nursery gate. Deliveries are made on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. They are also offering individual in-store appointments, which include a 20-minute one-on-one coaching session with a gardening expert. There is a nonrefundable $25 fee for appointments, but you can apply that balance to any purchase you make.
Pisegna raves about this old-fashioned Brooklyn nursery specializing in vegetables and herbs, orchids, and houseplants. He says they have a big outdoor center and the staff is friendly and helpful. They are limiting customers to five at a time and asking that everyone wear a face mask whether entering the store or the yard. Delivery is available on a first-come, first-served basis, with a $150 minimum purchase. To make an order for delivery or curbside pickup, send an email listing what you want, and they will check stock and get back to you.
Until their ecommerce site is up and running in mid-May, Tula (recommended by Pisegna) is selling plants via Instagram, with inventory updated every week. To shop, send them a DM (@tulahouse) or email to email@example.com with your selection. No contact deliveries and curbside pickups at their location near the Brooklyn Navy Yard are available on Wednesdays and Fridays. The cutoff time for Wednesday delivery is Tuesday at 4 p.m., and the cutoff for Friday delivery is Thursday at 4 p.m.
Other Times Vintage
Although it’s not technically a nursery, garden and landscape designer Krissie Nagy of BK Bumpkin recommends this Bushwick shop that specializes in vintage furniture, home décor, and stylish houseplants. Other Times Vintage is currently offering curbside pickup and no-contact delivery of house plants throughout NYC.
For her part, Nagy, who has a farm in Western New Jersey, where she grows a lot of plants, has started offering deliveries of flowering perennials, organic vegetable plants, houseplants, succulents, and even some small fruit trees. She is currently making deliveries to Brooklyn and lower Manhattan and can take orders by email via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sweet Brook Garden Center carries a wide variety of ornamental and edible plants, including berry bushes and fruiting trees. Their online catalogue (run through monrovia.com) is comprehensive and categorized by climate zones to help you pick plants that will do well at your home. You can order online and have plants shipped to your home for an additional fee, or Sweet Brook is also offering curbside pickup between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Sundays. Orders for pickup can be made over the phone, but if you would like to go in person, their staff can help you browse their seasonal inventory through their gate and pull your order while you wait.
This 50-year-old nursery is another pick from Pisegna, who describes it as family-owned and very “mom and pop.” They have two locations, one in Long Island and one in Flushing, Queens, and both are still open with modified hours (and doing Mother’s Day bouquets). They also offer curbside pickup and same-day or scheduled deliveries.
For those looking to buy plants and produce on Long Island, Cole Plakias and de Corral recommend this nursery in Riverhead. (It also doubles as an organic farm where you can pick up fresh seasonal vegetables ready to eat.) You can order plants through their site and pick them up at any of the following farmers’ markets: Roslyn, Glendale, Kew Gardens, Forest Hills, Williamsburg, Bushwick, Carroll Gardens, and Kensington-Windsor Terrace. You can also sign up for their CSA or make a one-time CSA purchase online.
Located in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, Hall’s Garden Center comes recommended by Cole Plakias and de Corral for their great selection of organic soils and soil amendments. The family-owned nursery is offering delivery and curbside pickup and encourages customers to call with any questions they may have at 908-665-0331.
If you’re looking to plant a vegetable garden, Plakias and de Corral also recommend Good Earth Nursery in Cream Ridge, New Jersey. The store carries a nice selection of native plants and a few kid-friendly garden kits. Not all of their inventory is online, so your best bet is to call and ask for what you need. For in-person visits, they are practicing social distancing and are happy to deliver free of charge to neighboring towns.
The nursery is not open for in-person shopping, but it is offering both curbside pickup and delivery. Call or send an email to email@example.com to place an order.
This family business runs both a plant nursery and a farmers’ market in South Salem, New York. They offer curbside pickup and have moved their cash register outdoors to make socially-distant visits easier. In addition, they have expanded their farmers’ market from Saturdays between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. to include Wednesdays, as well. To keep in-person transactions to a minimum, they ask that customers call and place farmers’ market orders and payments over the phone in advance.
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