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Stories from the NFCCA Newsletter, the “Northwood News”

Northwood News ♦ April 2020

Nurseries and Garden Centers in Maryland Near Us

By Taffy Turner

The closing of Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville was very distressing for the gardeners among us, but not to worry; there are still many nurseries and garden centers in our greater Maryland-D.C. suburban area.

I am a certified horticulturalist, a University of Maryland Extension Master Gardener, and a passionate plant collector.  So the more interesting and unusual the plant, the more I’m likely to give it a try.  Behnke’s had a great selection, and many of the plants in my garden came from there.  But it’s like shopping for anything — the more shops you visit, the more variety you are likely to find.  I have found interesting cultivars in the most unlikely of garden centers, many of them listed below.

Here are nurseries I have used over the past 29 years since I’ve lived in my house on Lorain Avenue.  They are listed alphabetically.  I have added a few comments (my opinion only).

American Plant

2 locations, in Potomac and Bethesda.  The Potomac location is larger with more variety, nice selection of annuals in the spring, perennials and woodies, knowledgeable staff.  Nice garden shop, lots of pots, etc.

Fehr’s Nursery and Garden Center

Burtonsville.  I haven’t been here in years, mostly because I was unimpressed with the place.  But I know other people like it, and it’s not too far from us.

Good Earth Garden Center

2 locations, in Potomac and Sandy Spring.  Small but the staff is knowledgeable.  I have found some good things at the Potomac location over the years.

Grey Goose Farm

Laytonville on Rte. 108.  Mostly hardscape supplies — stepping stones, rocks, nice pots, etc. — not so many plants.  Mulch, soil, etc., in bags.

Homestead Garden Center

Davidsonville, about 35 minutes from here.  A large, very nice garden center on the same order as Behnke’s, probably a bit more expensive.  A great garden shop, especially during the holidays – all kinds of things like tools, ornaments, furniture, outdoor cooking equipment, knick knacks of all kinds.  They also carry pet supplies, an enormous stock of pots and containers, water gardening supplies, etc.  Knowledgeable staff; you can sign up for their “garden club” for discounts.

Johnson’s Nursery

2 locations, in Kensington and Olney.  The little store in Kensington is convenient and carries nice annuals in the spring.  The Olney store is a lot bigger, good selection of plants, nice garden shop, knowledgeable staff.

Meadows Farm Nursery

Burtonsville.  There are many Meadows Farm locations all over the greater D.C. area.  Pretty basic plant selection, but it’s where I usually get my annuals every spring because you can still get trays for a reasonable price.  I have found the occasional gem in their “dent and scratch” area.

Patuxent Nursery

Bowie.  I haven’t been here in a while, but I remember it as having a good selection of plants and knowledgeable staff.  It’s where I got my Franklinia tree 17 years ago when they were nearly impossible to find in the trade.

Potomac Garden Center

North Potomac.  Again, I haven’t been here in a while.  Mid-size place; worth a visit if you’re in the area.

Seasons Nursery

Gaithersburg.  Small, local; but I have found nice plants here in the past.  It’s probably not a destination place, but I always stop by when I’m in the area.

Stadler’s Nursery

Laytonsville.  Very nice, large nursery, not quite as big as Benhke’s but nice plants, knowledgeable staff.  They are known for their trees; if you buy one for over $200 in the spring or fall, they will plant it for free, which I have done several times.

Susanna Farm Nursery

Boyds.  Not a full service garden center but a specialty nursery for unusual dwarf Japanese maples, conifers, and other shrubs and trees.  A real treat for the plant collector, but not cheap!  They recently added a garden shop with lovely pots, containers, and other nice stuff.  One of my all time favorites!

All of these places sell native as well as non-native plants.  The idea is to plant a wide diversity of plant material — perennials, shrubs, trees — with lots of different flower types and bloom times so your garden will be a sustainable environment for pollinators and other insects.  Know your garden and its light conditions, soil, etc.  One of the mantras we are taught as Master Gardeners is “right plant, right place.”

If you want a more in-depth opinion of these nurseries as well as a few additional ones, check out the blog of my friend, garden writer Susan Harris:  www.greenbelt online.org/after-behnkes-where-to-buy-plants.  Keep in mind that she lives in Old Greenbelt when she talks about driving distances, etc.   ■


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