While we wondered if winter would ever end, elves at local greenhouses have been busy with seeds and seedlings; cleaning and refurbishing shops, grounds and display areas and stocking soil, fertilizer, potted plants and shrubs ready to burst into bloom.
Most nurseries opened quietly last month for those intrepid gardeners who wanted to get a head start on the season. These days, they are buzzing with preparations for Palm Sunday on April 13, which for many Islanders is the unofficial “grand opening,” when the spirits of plant lovers are lifted by displays of early spring flowers, the smell of warm soil in greenhouses filled with young growing plants, that long-awaited breath of spring. It is indeed a time to awaken from the winter doldrums and begin dreaming of flowers, herbs, vegetables, and the warm days ahead.
All nurseries carry conventional and organic soils and fertilizers, pest control products, gardening tools, containers, and paraphernalia. They offer a variety of special discounts and bargains to tempt the green-thumbed customer.
Palm Sunday Open House: 11am to 2 pm; free plants, refreshments and Easter Sunday Egg Hunt (1 pm).
What else: Saturday morning (11 am) free lectures range from starting plants from seed to vegetable gardening, lawn care and maintenance and more. Saturday hands-on workshops teach how to prepare seeds and seedlings, and bring them home to plant ($20 fee).
What’s new: Greenhouse attached to front shop; Amish-made Adirondack chairs.
What’s special: Each week, a special plant is offered at a 20-percent discount.
“Please stop by for a breath of spring,” says Chris Wiley, co-owner with husband Chuck. “The greenhouses are full and gorgeous.”
484 State Road, West Tisbury. VineyardGardens.net, 508-693-8511
Palm Sunday: Family Fun Day visitors can plant a mini-strawberry or flower garden.
What else: Free seminars with organic gardener Roxanne Kapitan, “The Backyard Vegetable Garden from Seed to Harvest,” begin April 19, 1-2 pm. Topics include composting, building organic soil, and maximizing garden yield.
What’s new: remodeled the shop and creation of parklike display grounds with educational displays and new plants.
What’s special: the Island’s exclusive Husqvarna Dealer offers power tools and equipment. “Yard Sale” discounts are offered through April 19.
“We hope for a beautiful Easter Sunday and invite families to join us from 10 am to 1 pm for an Easter filled with the colors of spring,” said manager Steven Elliott.
680 State Road, West Tisbury. (508)696-7600
Easter season: Easter Cookie Decorating party for the kids on Easter Sunday, 9 am-3 pm.
What else: Lush tropicals and indoor hydrangeas, tulips, daffodils and even aromatic herbs welcome visitors into the big greenhouse. Also, fruit trees including apple, pear, plums, and cherries and berry bushes.
What’s special: Sale on blueberry bushes while supplies last.
Wandering the grounds makes for a nice spring walk and the garden center stocks everything you need to get outdoors and start digging.
45 Edgartown Vineyard Haven Road, Oak Bluffs. jardinmahoney.com, (508) 693-3511.
Palm Sunday: 10 am-2 pm, Donaroma’s welcomes guests with cut daffodils for all; Easter Sunday from 10 am-2 pm.
What’s new: Easter Lilies and hyacinths; early blooming shrubs like lilac, forsythia, and dogwood.
What’s special: A spring sale runs April 11 to 13; weekly specials for landscapers only.
The spacious florist shop and greenhouse is bursting with cheerful Easter decorations, plant baskets, bunnies, butterflies, and chicks.
Upper Main St., Edgartown. Donaromas.com; (508)627-3036.
Palm Sunday (8:30 am- 3 pm) open house featuring free plants, warm refreshments, and sweet goodies.
What else: According to owner Mike Saunier, the nursery features the Island’s largest selection of locally grown, hand-seeded annuals in six-packs.
What’s new: Expanded variety of shrubs.
What’s special: one greenhouse filled with lush tropical houseplants and the tiny potting shed offering antique garden collectibles.
“We have the same friendly staff as in previous years who are always eager to help,” said Mr. Saunier, echoing the welcome of all Island nurseries.
377 State Road, West Tisbury. heather-gardens.com, (508)693-1467.
This story was updated on April 14, 2014, to correct a mistake in the Middletown Nursery section. Steven Elliott was mistakenly identified as the owner of the West Tisbury nursery. John and Heather Hoff have owned the business for five years. Mr. Elliott is the manager.