If you’re anything like me, your yard was telling you it was spring before the calendar was. The magnificent green grass sprouting through last year’s browning blades. And yes, the not-so-magnificent weeds creeping into your flower beds and your meticulously groomed patch of soul-soothing sod.
Your soil is screaming for some TLC right now and some new roots to call its own. When we put the call out to our budding panel of experts on best places to feed that need for seed, the answers weren’t quite as plentiful as our first edition of 10 Hot Spots for French fries.
The good news: Whether you’re an expert or a gardening newbie, the Lowcountry has plenty of vegetation virtuosos ready to lend their expertise to help you find the perfect plants to bring your garden to life.
“Plants are personal,” said one long-time gardener. “There are purchases where I’m less worried about customer service, but when it comes to my garden, I’m going where I find the best staff that make me feel like I have a fighting chance against Mother Nature.”
Here, in no particular order, are the best spots to accessorize and accentuate your yard this spring.
• Southern Marsh Nursery, 190 May River Road, Bluffton, 843-540-4928, southernmarshnursery.com: Owner Andrew Ahmann and his staff earn rave reviews from our panel for their personal service and wide-spanning knowledge. The nursery is relatively new (2015 opening), but earns high marks for organic soil, ground coverings and variety of plants.
• Taylor’s Landscape Supply, 36 Cecil Reynolds Drive, Bluffton, 843-705-2600, taylorsqls.com: The name might not always be tip of tongue (several of our respondents said, “Yeah, you know, that place next to Tractor Supply off 170.”) Multiple readers specifically called out Lauren as a pillar of knowledge, but all agree that the entire nursery staff at this 17-year Lowcountry staple are top notch. This is one spot that’s offering some tech assists as well. Get text alerts on specials by signing up on their website.
• The Green Thumb, 172 Bluffton Road, Bluffton (843-837-3111) and 35 Dillon Road, Hilton Head Island (843-715-2908), greenthumbhhi.com: Many of our newbie gardeners specifically raved about the service at the Bluffton nursery on the outer rim of the Old Town district. But this two-location nursery’s landscape design and construction team is equally adept at handling even the most complex and exotic plant and shrubbery needs.
• Sunshine Nursery, 38 Plantation Park Drive, Bluffton, 843-757-7256, sunshinehhi.com: Whether you’re looking for the basics or the most custom plant orders, Dee and the crew win raves from our readers for giving equal attention to both the residential noobs and the more demanding clientele. This 30-year fixture can handle all your hardscape and landscape needs as well with nursery-to-front door delivery and installations.
• The Greenery, 960 William Hilton Parkway, Hilton Head Island, 843-785-3848, thegreeneryinc.com: This island fixture wins raves for their vast selection of specimen and unique plants and a staff brimming with knowledge and energy to assist the most clueless to the most sophisticated gardener. Carol the horticulturist was repeated singled out for her expertise and friendly, approachable style of customer service. This employee-owned titan of the South has locations from Hilton Head and Beaufort to Charleston, Greenville, Savannah and Daytona, but readers continually remarked that it feels as intimate as a mom-and-pop shop at the island hub.
• Bruno Landscape and Nursery, 109 Dillon Road, Hilton Head Island, 843-682-2624, brunolandscapeandnursery.com: The family business was founded in 1989, the nursery was added in 2000 and continues to expand its offers with a deep inventory of pots, garden décor and yard decorations. The plants are the calling card though, where geraniums, tibouchina, hibiscus, Brazilian orchids, plumbago and mandevilla (to name a few) are in plentiful supply.
• The Garden Gate, 2 State of Mind Street, Bluffton, 843-757-4040, gardengatebluffton.com: This is a blooming gateway to Old Town and the Promenade, with an experienced staff to handle any query. Walking the grounds, it’s easy to get swept away in the nursery’s curated selection of accessories and décor, and the nursery is stocked with region-specific plants from local growers. And check in often for their schedule of classes and free lectures on subjects from herbs to fairy gardens and everything in between.
• Cahill’s Market, 1055 May River Road, Bluffton, 843-757-2921, cahillsmarket.com: As much as the Cahills have become known for their country kitchen and menu items like the chicken and waffles, the family’s roots are, well, in the roots. Our go-to voices are admittedly partial to the OGs of working the land, but continually point out the quality of the greenhouse’s plant selection.
If you’re up for a little bit more of a drive, a trio of nurseries down S.C. 170 won repeated praise from our panel. Jasper Seed and Feed (9988 South Jacob Smart Boulevard, Ridgeland) were singled out for their pepper plants, Cherry Point Nursery (3722 Argent Boulevard, Ridgeland) earned kudos for their fruit trees, and Palms on the Parkway (799 Sea Island Parkway, St. Helena Island) earned shoutouts for their sound advice and wide variety of plants, trees and shrubs.
One other pro tip: The Coastal Discovery Museum (70 Honey Horn Drive, Hilton Head Island) has a twice-a-year native plant sale, where you can find more than 90 species of plants like coneflowers, honey suckle, passion flowers and milkweed, as well as local master gardeners giving free advice on how to care for them. The prices are rock-bottom for the quality. The spring sale has already passed but reach out to the museum’s manager of natural history, Carlos Chacon (firstname.lastname@example.org) for details on the fall edition.
OK, that was 12 Hot Spots, giving you plenty of options for spring planting. Now let’s get to work in that garden!
Have a suggestion for our next topic for 10 Hot Spots? Email Tim Wood at email@example.com to give us your idea.