Even if your outdoor space consists of a two-by-two foot fire escape, it’s likely to leave you with a touch of garden fever, a condition easily cured at a growing number of garden centers in Brooklyn:
Gowanus Nursery is like a living museum of unusual plants like this Begonia Rex “Escargot” plant (center). Here you’ll find strange succulents, colorful climbers, and phosphorescent bushes, along with funky flowers like cosmos. The service here is just as odd — it seems the owner would rather tend to her plants than deal with humans — but for the indoor and outdoor gardener, you won’t find cooler flora anywhere (718-852-3116; gowanusnursery.com).
Liberty Sunset Garden Center is worth the trek for the setting alone. Situated on Pier 41 in Red Hook, the 20,000 square feet of outdoor space is bounded on both sides by the water, and a clear shot of the Statue of Liberty. Sandor Gubis builds wood planters inside the warehouse, and his partner Hope Kaufman, an extremely warm and helpful woman, is dedicated to stocking the nursery with native and organic plants (718-858-3400; libertysunset.com).
The new Chelsea Garden Center in Red Hook is an offshoot of the original Chelsea center in Manhattan, and as such feels slightly impersonal, but they have a good selection of supplies and an impressive number of trees: about 30 deciduous and 30 evergreens at last count (718-875-2100; chelseagardencenter.com)
Also on Van Brunt, Extech will sell mason-quality stones to lay gardeners looking to hardscape their own yards (718-852-7090; extechind.com).
Once you stock up on cool plants, pick out beautiful ceramic, fiberglass and clay containers and pots at Dig Gardens on Atlantic Avenue, where the owner Chuck Dorr also offers landscape design services, as all of these garden centers do (718-554-0207; gardendig.com).
Williamsburg’s Outside NY has the lock on designer outdoor furniture, like a teak and steel table and chair set from Viteo, beautiful glass terrariums like these from Esque Studio in Oregon, and the brilliant Dutchtub, a soaking tub heated by fire. Look for their new, 3,000-square-foot nursery to open mid-June at 61 Kent Ave. (718-782-4800; outsideny.com).
And for the serious backyard gardener, check out the Brooklyn Terminal Market in Canarsie (718-444-5700; terminalmarkets.com), where plants and potting soil cost 10 percent to half the price at inner Brooklyn nurseries. Nearby is the Market Garden Center, which sells Long Island sod, the only kind you want to lay down (718-649-7250; themarketgardencenter.com).