Best Boston Plant Nurseries – The Eastern Massachusetts Garden Center Guide

May 23, 2024

A visit to a real, local Boston garden center (not a box store) should give a healthy taste of the local terroir. As true regional experts in what the land can and should support and how to cultivate it, I believe that the best garden centers lean into their place and history and the seasonal traditions of the local area. In the Boston area, we have a variety of ecoregions – from coastal lowlands, salt marshes, mudflats, and sandy coastal shrublands to oak forests, pine barrens, and sugar-maple-filled hardwood woodlands. Mix in some inland acidic wetlands, a few alluvial floodplains, and even some peatlands, and you will start to see a wide variety of growing conditions for garden centers to support.

There are lots of great garden centers in the area, but these stand out in my mind as special places to visit. (updated Spring 2024)

A stone staircase bordered by a stone wall leads down to a brick path lined with blooming trees and potted plants, reminiscent of the Boston Garden Center, creating a serene, lush garden scene. Flower petals are scattered along the stairs, adding to the peaceful atmosphere.
The beautiful entrance to Weston’s at Stone Gate Nursery in Lincoln, MA. Image by Rochelle Greayer.

Great Plant Nurseries in Boston, Northshore, Southshore, and MetroWest (inside the 495)

Weston Nurseries

In 2024, Weston Nurseries took over the beautiful Stonegate Gardens in Lincoln, MA. The Mezitts and the Macdowells are two families with a long history of running iconic garden centers in Massachusetts. Weston has its original location in Hopkinton, as well as a handful of other satellite locations, but now, they also have adopted beautiful property that once was Stone Gate Gardens in Lincoln, MA.

Stone Gate Gardens in Lincoln (owned and operated by the Macdowells until 2024) has always been known for its curated charm. The selection often included antiques and other treasures mixed in with the plants. It also has the prettiest modern glass house in New England. (A massive construction project finished in just the last five years). The stone fireplace inside it makes me want to move in permanently.

Stone Gate is still trying to find its bearings with the handoff, but it has always been and still is an amazingly beautiful place to visit.

If you want to get the flavor of New England Gardens – this should be among your first stops.

Weston’s flagship nursery is located in the pretty town of Hopkinton, MA. If you are in Boston, it might be worth the drive. Hopkinton is famous for being the starting point of the Boston Marathon. Weston’s is a great all-around choice for plants, but it also propagates azaleas and rhododendrons. Many of the best choices (particularly for New Englanders) of these two varieties of plants were bred by the Mezzit family in the fields surrounding the nursery.

A lush Boston garden center displays a variety of potted plants and flowers, including blooming white and red azaleas. In the background, a greenhouse is partly visible among tall green trees under a cloudy sky. A gravel path winds through the vibrant display.
Stonegate Nursery in Lincoln, MA, oozes regional charm. Many plants suit the local vernacular, including a wide range of rhodies and azaleas bred and introduced by the Mezzit family. Image by Rochelle Greayer.


Winston’s is known in the Boston area as one of the premier high-end florists with many locations. Their signature style is luxurious and curated. There is only one garden center, though – and it is located in Newton. It isn’t big, but similar to its floral business, it’s a great place to find one-of-a-kind and heavily curated plants to create stylish urban landscapes. It’s modern, stylish, earthy, and glamorous all at the same time.


Russells reminds me of going to greenhouses with my mom as a kid in Denver. Those garden centers were always places that seemed to have grown organically over the years. Nooks and crannies in buildings budded like new arms of a freshly pruned shrub. All of these have been put to good use by resourceful and clever owners. Russells is a one-of-a-kind old-school Boston garden center, and there is only one location on Rt 20 in Wayland. It is tried and true and a great place to find something special for your garden.

A visit to the Garden in the Woods - bluebells
Bluebells at the Garden in the Woods – Image by Rochelle Greayer

Garden in the Woods

Garden in the Woods is the home of the New England Native Plant Trust and the New England Wildflower Society. If you’re visiting Russell’s, it is very nearby in Framingham.

The 6 acre property houses the Native Plant Trust’s showcase for native landscapes. A visit will surely inspire you toward plants that were in this area before Metro Boston filled the landscape with man-made constructions.

There is a small but unique nursery on the grounds that exclusively sells native plants.


Mahoneys, like Westons, is another family and locally-owned Boston garden center with a handful of satellite stores in the region. All are well stocked and nice places to shop, but the best one is their flagship store in Winchester, MA. This is a huge garden center that is one of the closest plant shopping locations to central Boston and Cambridge. (All the others I’ve mentioned, with the exception of Winstons, are outside of the 128).

Close-up of pink blossoming branches against a backdrop of an out-of-focus dark-colored house under a cloudy sky. The flowers are prominent in the foreground, adding color to the scene, reminiscent of a charming Boston Garden Center, while the house and sky provide a muted background.
Pink Flowering Dogwood image by Rochelle Greayer.

Season’s Four

Unless you are local, Seasons Four in Lexington is probably not a place you would visit (for plants). But it is a place you want to know about if you are looking for outdoor furniture. They have a relatively large store filled with a wide range of styles and brands of chairs, sofas, tables, and other hard goods that you might need to make your garden welcoming and comfortable.

Seasons Four is also right on the Minuteman bike and walking trail in Lexington, MA – both of which (the trail and the town) are just really nice places to spend some time outdoors, taking in the landscape and history of the Boston area.

A man sits comfortably in a chair outside, surrounded by lush greenery at the Boston Garden Center.
Micheal Levin prunes a bonsai tree in the gardens at Bonsai West in Littleton, MA.

Bonsai West

Bonsai West is a treasure that deserves a stop on any garden enthusiast’s itinerary of horticulturally interesting and important places to visit in New England.

The nursery has everything a budding or experienced bonsai enthusiast could ever want or need (from courses to tools and materials). It is also an astounding showcase of the art of Bonsai. Tucked away in an unexpected corner of Littleton, MA, Bonsai West houses “one of the largest collections of historically important Specimen Bonsai outside of Japan.” To visit is to be swept away into an unexpected world that you’d never expect to exist in this New England suburb.

(As a nearby neighbor, I am awed every time I visit that such an unexpectedly extraordinary showcase exists in my own backyard).

Owner Micheal Levin founded the nursery in 1982 and is a tremendous resource for Bonsai enthusiasts.

A greenhouse interior at the Boston Garden Center with a variety of potted plants and flowers. Green leafy plants and vibrant orchids fill the space, with some hanging from the ceiling. The greenhouse has a glass roof and rustic white walls, supported by beams.
A huge selection of orchids can be found at The Lyman Greenhouses in Waltham, MA – image by Rochelle Greayer

The Lyman Estate Greenhouses

The Lyman Estate greenhouses are a Historic New England Property in Waltham, MA. The greenhouses – which are part of the property that also features a historic home open throughout the year for events and tours – are the oldest surviving glasshouses in the United States. The series of connected structures were all built between 1804 and 1840.

Today, the greenhouses are home to a large collection of camellias and orchids as well as a small nursery that sells orchids, exotic houseplants, herbs, and some related accessories (like special potting soil and pots). The staff is very helpful and knowledgeable – particularly about orchids.

I love to visit – the light and mood of glasshouses always make me feel healthier and happier (particularly in the midst of a dreary New England Winter). And the atmosphere in the Lyman greenhouses is unmatched by its historic architecture and huge plants.

A cluster of blooming orchids displaying shades of pink, peach, and burgundy with yellow centers are surrounded by long, slender green leaves. The flowers are set against a backdrop of other leafy plants in the Boston Garden Center.
Orchids at the Lyman Greenhouses (image by Rochelle Greayer)

Nurseries Worth a Drive (outside the 495)

Avant Gardens

Avant Gardens in Dartmouth, MA is a place where you will find special things. From their Instagram to their website to their online catalog, you can see that Avant Gardens exists to inspire your gardens into something a little more. The varieties are always ones you haven’t seen everywhere, and the way they put them all together is a showcase for Avant Garden’s signature elegant upscale gardening style.

A serene garden scene with a large, old tree in the foreground. Lush green foliage and blooming flowers surround the area, reminiscent of the tranquility found at a Boston Garden Center. A small wooden shed is visible in the background, partially obscured by morning mist and soft light filtering through the trees.

Avant Gardens Nursery

Dartmouth, MA (Images from Avant Gardens)


At Avant Gardens Nursery in Dartmouth, MA

Close-up of a cluster of purple and green hellebore flowers in bloom, with slender stems and delicate yellow stamens. The background is out of focus, showcasing an earthy, natural setting reminiscent of a Boston Garden Center.


Bigelows in Northborough, MA caters to landscapers and locals closer to Worcester. This is another old-school garden place where I have sourced trees and shrubs as a wholesale client, and they can always be readily relied upon for quality locally grown materials (they have over 700 acres in Central MA of growing fields).


I remember flipping through the Logee’s plant catalog that my mom would get in the mail as a kid. So when I discovered that the actual real Logee’s was in nearby Killingly, CT – not far from where I live in the Boston area, I was eager to visit the far away and exotic place I imagined it might be as a kid in Denver. Logee’s does not disappoint. It is chock full of exotic and fascinating plants you will not find anywhere else. Rare and Tropical plants are their specialty, and even if you aren’t in the market, their nursery rivals any more grandiose greenhouses you could visit.

A lush greenhouse reminiscent of a Boston Garden Center, filled with a variety of potted plants. Tall, clipped topiary trees and coniferous shrubs are arranged neatly among smaller plants. The structure’s curved roof and wooden framework are visible, creating an organized and serene atmosphere.
image from Snug Harbor Farm.

Snug Harbour Farm

Tucked away in Kittery, Maine, Snug Harbor Farm is one of my favorite places to head toward if I’m looking for a beautiful drive with a nice payoff at the other end. Tony (owner) has made snug a destination for his own brand of cultivated style. Standards of all sorts (plants that have been pruned into balls on sticks) and custom pottery are just two of the treasure troves of products you will find that only exist at Snug Harbour Farm. There is also a really great gift shop and extensive seasonal events, classes, gardens, and shopping that will inspire you.

A variety of new england native plants supplied by Van Berkum Nursery. Image from Van Berkum Nursery.

Boston area Nurseries that are Wholesale Only

I also have a couple of wholesale-only favorites. If you’re a designer or landscaper in the area looking for something a bit different or better than what you can get in Sudbury at the main wholesale outlet, these suppliers are a great resource.
Van Burkum is the best place to go for New England Woodland Natives (Hands down. Period.). If you are buying Natives in a retail center in New England, it is likely coming from their seed stock. Van Berkum is constantly botanizing for new natives and better performers, specifically for the eco-regions of Northeast USA.

Serving a range of Boston garden centers with wholesale plants, Van Berkum Nursery is also a premier source for native and eco-region-appropriate plants.

Quansett Nurseries has the best selection of plants for projects that are well within zone 6. They run trucks up and down the North east with their plants. They also custom grow in non-plastic bio-degradable pots.

Select Horticulture in Lancaster, MA, is a wonderful place to visit, as the owners are the nicest, most helpful people. (And friends of P+V). Their stock is primarily large (really, I mean large) trees and shrubs. If you are looking for instant gratification ask your landscape installation crew to go here. You will need their heavy equipment to get your purchases home and planted. Call ahead.

Select Horticulture in Lancaster, MA brings the biggest trees and shrubs to the Boston market. This is the place to shop if you have heavy equipment and want instant maturity in your landscape.

In Memoriam (The Growers and Garden Centers that Are So Missed – Can They Come Back???):

Over the twenty years I have lived in the Boston area, many great local nurseries and garden centers have retired or withdrawn from business for one reason or another. In many retirements, it seems that there is a missing link between the aging owners and a younger person who would like to own a horticultural business. New businesses never start as fast as old ones shut down.

I miss Quality Plants in Leominster, who once grew the biggest and best fall mums for the money that I have ever seen.

The ‘Carlisle Cluster’ (as I called it) – was anchored by Blanchette’s and Seawright’s (both are now closed). And there were also several other little growers in the neighborhood. My favorite is a guy (I don’t know the name) who is either on Lowell Street or East Street on the left, coming from the center of town. He mostly grew grasses and had an interesting selection at a great price. Seawright’s made me happy just by being there. They focused solely on field-grown Hostas and Daylilies, and they had over 600 varieties. I miss these specialists. You could wander the fields of Daylilies to pick what you want and then dig it. Just driving by and seeing the people out among the blooms always satisfied me that things were right in the world.

Cataldos in Littleton was my local, and while it wasn’t always my favorite place to shop, it was my nearest plant emergency place, and it was well stocked with everything I could ever need. This year (2024) will feel sad and different without them.

I refuse to believe that it is as simple as saying young people don’t care or don’t want to work in the nursery trade. I know that isn’t the truth. But I am not sure I understand the mix of factors that need to align to change things. Perhaps I can help you connect with those who still exist so that we can collectively support them.

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  1. Claudia says:

    What an amazing variety! I bet the landscaping is to die for. Love that there’s nothing flashy or glam except for the flowers!

  2. Louise says:

    just came across blanchette online and am looking forward to visiting them- the catalog selection is impressive.. and it is closer than vanberkum- tho I also use VB reliably and gladly for the great selection of woodland perennials. enjoying you entries..L.

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