Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Roxbury Greening

There are a lot of great reasons to love Roxbury just for being Roxbury.  We’re a Boston neighborhood with a texture and pattern distinct from any other.  We’re not the South End, North End, Chinatown, or Back Bay.   We’re Roxbury.

One of those great reasons, the Boston Gardner, moved into Dudley Square in 2009.   This all-encompassing gardening store sprung up half a block past the El Tropical grocery mart, as you enter the Square.  I noticed it earlier this Spring, when I was having one of those glum city moments, feeling drained by all the concrete and brick and painted-on metal.  Suddenly, I happened upon the Boston Gardener, brimming with small vegetable plants out front and a verdant ivy tenaciously climbing the façade.  I felt instantly better, just knowing the store was there.

I found the time to really check it out yesterday and had the good fortune to meet Jairo Haile, one of the store's staff members.   Upon my entrance, he was engaged in garden talk with a customer, so I wandered down the aisles, taking in the ambiance.   

There really is more here than an amateur gardener, like myself, could ever hope to need.   The store has all the basics, of course: compost, small gardening tools, fertilizer, seeds, etc.  As you continue into the store, however, you’ll also see sophisticated hydroponic equipment, full-spectrum lights, fans, special soil PH balancing agents, and other such items that are necessary only if you are growing specialty plants, like orchids, or you're determined to grow the biggest, greenest, meanest, healthiest plants this side of Eden.

When I came back around, Jairo greeted me and asked if I had any questions.  Honestly, I felt a little intimidated, as if he’d throw me out when he discovered that I had no clue what the PH balance of my backyard soil was, or that I let certain sections of my garden deteriorate because I don’t have the heart to kill snails.  

On the contrary, Jairo assured me the store was for everyone that loved getting dirt under their fingernails cultivating vegetables or flowers.  When I mentioned being surprised to see a gardening store so deep in the city, Jairo responded with an understanding nod.  One of the missions of the store, he explained, was to make the community strong, and to remind city dwellers how wonderful growing things can be.

I realized that he was right, very right, and I was even happier to live in Dudley Square because the Boston Gardener also calls it home.

The store has a web site,, which can give you a good idea of the wide variety of items you can get there, but you'd be doing yourself a favor to check out the store in person.  It's not only a place for all gardeners, it's the kind of place that makes you want to get home and get gardening.

The Boston Gardener 
2131 Washington Street, 
Boston, MA  02119

Store Hours
Monday-Friday 10am - 5:30pm
Saturday 10am - 5pm
Closed on Sunday

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