Where to Get the Plants for Your First Garden

If you’re a novice gardener, this is when everything can become a tad overwhelming. It is often the phase where newbies become exposed to planning, planting, and further landscaping their own garden space.

Good sources of plants for a first garden include local nurseries, garden centers, and greenhouses. Nearby botanical gardens, universities, or municipalities may also offer regular plant sales. In addition, local gardening clubs can often be a great source of plant material and knowledge.

If you’re still scratching your head over where to get plants for your first garden, stick around, as we will go over the details for all of the most popular plant buying options next. 

Order Plants and Seeds for Delivery

Back in the days before the internet made online shopping ubiquitous, many planters came to rely on old-school paper catalogs and mail orders to get certain plants into their gardens that may be harder to find locally.

Such services still have their benefits but using one also often meant that gardeners had to sow their desired specimens from seed. This can be a time-consuming and cost-prohibitive process for many. While this may have been the preferred method for many horticulturists, those days appear long past, as there are much better ways to judge a plant than by looking at photos online.

Check Out Your Local Nursery and Greenhouse Providers

There is only so much you can tell about a plant by looking at a picture online. This is where visiting a local plant supplier can make all the difference. Your local greenhouse and nursery pros will be able to give much more expert advice than you could ever find online. They should be familiar with the conditions your plantings will face.

There are many other benefits that a local outfit may enjoy as well. One example is growing most of the stock on-premise or nearby, making the plants better adapted to the local climate and lessening the distance they have to travel before being planted in your garden. The plants on offer are also much more likely to be native to the area. Native plantings are easier to maintain and hardier. It often results in a win-win situation for both gardener and provider.

Consider the following options:

  • Go to a large home center that has plants from all over the world in a variety of conditions;
  • Roll the dice on picking a healthy plant to take home;
  • Visit a local nursery & greenhouse in Bedford, PA, that will be able to tell you where each plant they sell was grown and how it could best adapt to your space. 

When you consider all the other benefits of supporting a local provider, the choice for most horticulturists becomes pretty apparent. 

Look for Pop-Up Plant Sales

Especially in the spring and early summer months, be on the lookout for pop-up plant sales. While not guaranteed to be happening around you, such sales often offer a broad scope of shrubs, flowers, and saplings. Some will even have rare heritage varieties, often at low prices. Local gardens or schools often run these sales, and it can be a great way to fill out a garden’s bald spots for cheap. Check out your local state college’s extension office for more information on potential sales and tips on tasks such as testing your soil pH. (You can find the website for Oregon State here.)

Join a Gardening Club

Chances are you aren’t the only one with a passion for gardening in your area. Hence, joining a local gardening club can be a great way to meet such like-minded individuals. But, of course, there won’t always be an existing club near you, in which case you may have to start one yourself (check out this video for tips on how).

Gardening clubs can be a great source of plants, as horticulturists are known to over-order. There are plenty of opportunities to build up your garden repertoire between clippings and plants that members are no longer interested in. Almost as invaluable as the free plants you might be able to get from generous members is the know-how that more experienced gardeners are often only too happy to dispense to beginners.

Getting Your Plants is Only the Beginning

As anyone who has gardened for any length of time will be able to tell you, getting the plants you want in the ground is only the beginning. The real work has only just begun, and many hours of labor stand before you. But most won’t care, as they will be just as happy tootling around their garden weeding and watering. And if this already sounds like you, it may very well be your first garden – but it certainly won’t be your last!

Kevin Darabont
I am a freelance writer who loves to craft, home decor improvement, and active DIYers. I am happy to share my knowledge and experience to the world and learn new things everyday.