1st) Van Wilgen's Garden Center
“There’s nothing better,” Bill Van Wilgen says, than 2 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon, filling the benches with new-grown plants. Bill and his son Ryan manage the Garden Center’s 56 acres in North Branford. They’re the best at what they do because father and son are dedicated to all aspects of gardening. Van Wilgen's sells locally-grown plants and breeds new varieties — such as the black petunia — and because their staff of “plant geeks” try out new products, sharing know-how with aspiring gardeners. And the Garden has expanded, with satellites in Old Saybrook, Guilford, and this year in Milford. The purpose is to get growing things to people who want to plant them, but who can’t get to Branford often enough. So, stop in at one of the other outlets and visit what Ryan calls “The Blooming Plant Vending Machine.” Can you ever have too much beauty?
51 Valley Road
2nd) Vinny's Home and Garden Showplace
1076 S. Colony Road
3rd) Shelley's Garden Center
217 Main St.