Before I get into our urban garden and where to find outdoor garden plants in DC, I have a confession. Despite being a blogger and active on Instagram, I don’t like indoor plants. Dirt inside grosses me out. Besides for a few succulents of Adam’s, I don’t let any plants inside. But, outdoors, that’s fair game.
And, since we’re staying at home, outdoor plants have become a higher priority. Last summer, I grew basil out back, but I battled against the squirrels. This year, I’m determined to create a lush, green space that almost makes us forget that our little outdoor space is the best we’re going to get for a while.
CREATING A LITTLE OUTDOOR GARDEN
You may recall this post where I outlined our plans for our outdoor space. My goal is to create a true outdoor room where we can eat, entertain (someday), work, and relax. All of which we currently do out there, but, you know, I want it to be more enjoyable. A garden is a big part of that plan.
Our space is very gray and black from the brick to the trim to the furniture. Granted, that’s kind of my decor aesthetic, it just doesn’t hit as well outside. It needs some life. So, the plan is to incorporate planters of all sizes and heights across the table and on the ground. I’ll get more into that in a later post, but let’s chat about the plants for a second.
I planted edible flower seeds back at the beginning of March and, while I don’t have any blooms yet, these have been flourishing as much as possible given that the squirrels try to dig up the dirt on a regular basis. So, I looked into plants that could help deter squirrels. The answer: hot peppers. Luckily, we also happened to make queso on Saturday, so we deseeded the jalapeños and let them dry out before planting on Sunday.
However, I also marched myself up to the plant store and picked up several pepper plants — I don’t have time to wait for seeds. This is serious business keeping the squirrels out. I also picked up mint because I’ve heard it grows like a weed and I’m seeing a long summer of mojitos ahead of us.
I planted a pepper plant in the middle of the flowers and, so far, we’ve gone 5 days without a squirrel attack. Is this why? Not sure yet, but I’ll take it. I also plan on looking into mosquito repelling plants over the next few weeks, so stay tuned.
WHERE TO FIND OUTDOOR PLANTS IN DC
Okay, so this is probably why you’re here, yet I made you listen to my stream of consciousness about peppers and squirrels. You’re welcome.
I have two favorites when it comes to where to find outdoor plants in DC, but I’m also going to give you a bonus that’s better for the indoor plant lovers among you.
- Gingko Gardens: This garden enter tucked inconspicuously on 11th St SE in Capitol Hill seems to be the hip place to pick up plants these days, though they’ve been in business in their current location for over 20 years. The website does a great job of letting you know the exact plants they have in stock, though you may want to chat with them to figure out specifics of what will work in your space. Also, you can do both curbside pickup and delivery right now, but place your order ahead of time: they were so popular last weekend that they had to hold on online orders until Monday.
- Frager’s Hardware and Garden Center: Frager’s Hardware is on Pennsylvania Ave SE, but directly around the corner on 12th Street SE, you’ll find the Garden Center. This is a surprisingly big and lush space just off a main road and the employees here couldn’t be friendlier. I ended up picking up our plants here this past weekend and was happy to see that they were limiting the number of customers in at one time. I was able to get everything I needed in this organized outdoor space and I spotted a few planters to add to my wish list.
- Little Leaf: Of course, if you’re looking for the coolest plant store in DC, this jungle-like shop at 14th and S St NW is your spot. I think of Little Leaf as offering more indoor plants, like succulents, fiddle leaf figs, and the like, but I’m sure they could offer guidance on whether any of their plants could weather a DC summer.
So, for my gardeners in DC, are there any must-visit garden centers I missed? I’d love to know what’s out there in neighborhoods I haven’t explored!