Garden Nurseries in Puerto Rico – Norte/Metro

First of all, hello and Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a great Holiday season and are looking forward to a great year.

This post might not apply to a lot of you, (unless you’re a “plant person” and live on the North to Metro side of the island) but what the hell, I’m posting it anyway.  Maybe it will help someone. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it’s pretty damned difficult to find certain businesses here on the internet, en Español or not. After a couple of years of searching high and low for the perfect place to get my plant fix I finally narrowed it down to four nurseries. Granted most of these will have your typical ho-hum plants but they also carry a wide variety of unusual and stand outs on the regular. Basically, you’re getting the best of both worlds.

Byron Pikes Nursery in Arecibo – When we lived in Arecibo this was a convenient place to visit on weekends but even after moving 30 minutes away, I find myself visiting here first for the basics and then some. Byron Pikes simply has almost everything you could ever want or need in a nursery. Their inventory includes succulents, gorgeous cacti, orchids, (claro que si) carnivorous plants, landscape essentials, 1000’s of tropicals, trees, ground coverings, various potting mediums, pots galore and just about every stone under the sun. This place is always busy for good reason. Oh and the staff is great too of course. It gets hotter than hell here in the afternoon though, so bring water and a hat or just go first thing in the morning.

bp

 
Paisajes in Guaynabo – This is one of those nurseries that every gardener dreams of. Situated on the outskirts of Guaynabo this is a welcome sanctuary to linger and forget about the outside world. Some sections are so beautifully landscaped, it’s as if you were walking into a friends back yard. There are corners with aquatic plants, well established trees and tropicals. The staff are the most knowledgeable I have come across yet.  It’s one of those places you would miss if it were ever to disappear. I can’t really say that about anyone else here on the list. Just go.

p3

Gramaslindas in Dorado – This place is one of the fancier schmancier nurseries. They’ve been around for 50 years and the tentacles of their business reach far and wide throughout the island. From bags of soil at major retailers to landscaping all over the island and everything in between. Their main nursery is just a couple blocks down from the Doramar Plaza, you know, that place you get your Krispy Kreme doughnuts on. Down the road a ways from there is their sister nursery geared towards bulk purchases, plenty of graveled roadway to back up that truck and haul off a plethora of plants. Did I mention they make their own compost as well? As far as compost goes for Puerto Rico it’s above average. They sell topsoil and mulch in bulk as well.

What’s great about Gramas Lindas is that for the most part you are in a shaded sanctuary of sorts. There’s a place to buy cold drinks/snacks inside and plenty of beautiful rocking chairs for the “non-plant” people to sit and bask in the glow of their smart phones. The other notable aspect of Gramas Lindas is their actual storefront consists of a row of buildings replicating living conditions of a traditional historical Puerto Rican farm. Oh and I think there is a mascot walking around somewhere who wouldn’t mind keeping you company.

gl-dog

Jardin Selecto (Garden & Bonsai store) in San Juan – Since I have a thing for Bonsai trees, I had to list this nursery. The nursery itself has a plenitude of other plants and the owners go out of their way to change up their displays on a regular basis. You don’t see much of that here, it’s nice to go in once in awhile to see what’s new and their latest creative endeavor. Of course, their Bonsai section is ridiculous, in a great way. If nothing else, it’s worth a visit on this merit alone. Sorry, somehow I lost my photos of the Bonsais so this cacti will have to do.

bp1

Let me know in the comments if you have any favorite nurseries or resources you would like to share, I would love to hear about it!

Baker Creek Free Shipping offer for PR residents

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds is offering free shipping for 6 months if you register tonight. Their seeds have an exceptionally high germination rate and customer service is a 10. Best of all, they ship to PUERTO RICO, even the live plants will ship free if you register in time.

If for some reason you miss out on this deal, it’s still well worth a try since shipping is very economical compared to other vendors.

I am not affiliated with the company, just a huge fan. :)

Oregon State University Launch Free Permaculture Introductory Course

Interested in Permaculture? OSU is offering a free 4 week introductory course to get you started, right NOW. 

Oregon State University Launch Free Permaculture Introductory Course

Agricultores Unidos del Centro, Utuado

Due to a gardening obsession, I was able to see an abandoned cigar factory and a lot of bats. Aka, our trip to the Agricultores Unidos del Centro (AUC) in Utuado.

I have been searching for compost for ages now, months and months and months. Why do I need compost when the island is full of great soil? Because I am just a lowly container gardener for now, a gardener that MUST plant something or she goes nutty. After watching hours and hours of videos on Puerto Rico farms and reading about the slow and steady food movement taking hold here I finally got in contact with someone who could “set me up”. This turned out to be a farmers co-op in Utuado at the AUC.

As some of you may know, maps are useless in Puerto Rico – Puerto Rico laughs at your GPS. Not only that, directions include statements such as “turn right after the cemetery, then you’ll see a big yellow building, keep going until you get to a crossroads with a broken lamp pole…”

As usual though I had convinced myself we could find the people who possessed my precious compost without asking for any help this time. After all I had my NEW map, produced by the DTOP of all people! Surely, they know what is what. Right?

So…after asking 3 people (all who said the co-op was next to “the old cigar factory”) and about 30 minutes making wrong turns we finally found it. Clearly marked at the entrance, yay!

There are several vendors at this co-op, which frankly, was a bonus because no one ever mentioned it. I was under the impression this was solely shared farm land and not an outdoor market as well. It was a pleasant surprise to say the least, they even had adorable puppies for an adoption fee.

We were given permission to check out the grounds on foot after we collected several bags of compost. The huge tree you see houses a metal hive for bees in the area, they were incredibly active so this is as close as I was willing to get. Acres upon acres of banana trees, pepper plants, all the staples of Puerto Rican agriculture.

Most of the vendors had packed up by the time our walk was done so we hurried over to the cigar factory before the gates were locked.

The cigar factory mostly houses several hundred (if not thousands) of bats now but you can evidently see this must have been one beauty in its heyday. Steve, always fascinated by architecture, wished for a few million dollars to restore it to its former glory. I had my doubts that decades of bat guano could ever really be adequately removed.

Around the Garden @ Casi’s Home

I am desperately coveting Casi’s garden, she has just about everything a gardener desires.

 

An Orchard microcosm, birds dig it.

 

Macheted the lime tree, got peed on by a coqui.

Today was a good day. – Dr. Dre