Never mind that it was snowing last week. Today, it finally feels like spring, and that means it’s time to plant pansies in your front step pots. If you want to do your flower shopping in Wellesley, you can certainly swing by Roche Bros., Whole Foods Market, Green’s Hardware, or Ace Hardware for a quick fix. But if you want real selection, you’re going to have to take it on the road. A pansy shopping field trip, if you will. Sounds like heaven to me. Plot your escape with this list:
Fran’s, 881 Worcester St., Natick (route 9, Stop & Shop plaza)
According to Fran, co-owner of Fran’s Flowers, located at the junction of Route 9 and 27 in Natick in the Stop & Shop area, there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about early spring planting. “Pansies can take some real cold (25 degrees). It really depends on how cold they were grown. Some growers grow them cold and slow. That is the right way. Others grow them fast and hot and of course, in my estimation, that is the wrong way.” Take away: Buyer beware and ask questions of your pansy purveyor.
Fran says he gets most of his pansies from Cavicchio Greenhouses in Sudbury, a place that grows them in their own greenhouses, cold and slow. A wholesale operation, Cavicchio’s does not sell to the public, and they won’t even let you wander the aisles without non-profit or trade credentials.
Oh, well. There are plenty of other places you can find a wide array of pansies and other cold-tolerant plants to coax your gardening skills out of dormancy.
– Russell’s Garden Center, 397 Boston Post Road, Wayland
They’ve got it all, from houseplants and silk arrangements, to summer perennials, trees, bird feeding supplies, garden tools, and an extensive gift shop
– Home Depot, 339 Speen St., Natick
– Needham Garden Center & Power Equipment, 53 Chestnut St., Needham
– Hillcrest Gardens, 888 Great Plain Ave., Needham
– Volante Farms, 292 Forest St., Needham
Pansies available now. Ice cream to follow.
– Mahoney’s, Wayland, 115 Boston Post Rd, and other locations
– River’s Edge Garden Center, 12 Auburn St. Extension, Framingham
Tucked away on a side street near the Trader Joe’s end of Framingham, River’s Edge has a cult following of loyalists who rave about the family-owned business.
– Windy-Lo Nursery, 309 Eliot St., Natick
Plenty of pansies and always several cats wandering around to give the place atmosphere.
Sometimes, though, it seems like such effort, all this shopping and planning and planting. If your spirit just isn’t moved in a DIY kind of way, you can always hire someone to put together your outdoor pots. A few local possibilites:
Posies of Wellesley, 77 Central St.
To put together a standard-sized window box about 42″ in length with a good amount of pansies, some pussy willows and maybe some trailing ivy would run about $200. A pot of about 20″ in diameter filled with the same idea would be around $75. Neither price includes maintenance, so you’re on your own with the dead heading, watering, and fertilizing.
Estate Gardeners, firstname.lastname@example.org, 781-235-4130
Based out of Wellesley and owned by a Wellesley family, they can put together a standard-sized window box or a 20″ diameter pot, both with plenty of pansies, pussy willows, and ivy for in the $150 range, depending on the plant material and how much you want in there.
Rutland Nurseries, Inc., 396 Washington St. 781-237-1122
This company exhibited at the Boston Flower show and maintains an office in town. They will do large-scale projects or just your window boxes or porch step pots.
Winston flowers, 31 Central St. Winston’s does beautiful things, as we all know, but their pricing is a closely guarded secret. Here’s the real deal: I made the mistake of asking how much it cost. And like my grandma always said, honey, if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.
Whichever route you choose, it really is up to you to set an example for neighborhood beautification. So get out there and dig in the dirt, or get someone to do it for you. I mean, somebody’s got to gentrify this town.