This is the time of the year when our minds turn to all things green and growing. You’ll see lines outside your favorite garden centers, and it’s worth it.

We've been waiting all year to see a beautiful garden of plants and blooms decorating the home.

Landscaping is one of the most exciting parts of summer in New Jersey, but where to go? We’ve compiled a list of some of New Jersey’s favorite garden centers.

The ones that are tried and true, and year after year consistently carry an extensive selection of great plants and have people who love what they’re doing to help you out in your quest for that gorgeous garden.

It is the Garden State, after all.

Twin Pond Farm, Howell

Twin Pond Farm in Howell has been family-owned and operated since 1923. For three generations, they have worked hard to provide their customers with a fantastic selection of top-quality products. People who shop there say they’re famous for being able to supply you with everything from garden gloves to pond supplies. In fact, they were recently voted Best of the Best Koi Pond and Water Garden Centers in Monmouth County by the readers of the Asbury Park Press!

Holly Brook Farms Garden Center, Wall

Holly Brook Farms Garden Center was established in 1981. What people love about this Wall Township garden center is that they always know they’re going to get high-quality healthy plants. Their motto is "if we wouldn’t buy it we won’t sell it." Not only did they have everything you would need in annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees but they have great advice too.

Alpine Garden Center, Belleville

Alpine Garden Center in Belleville is one of those places that you need to walk into to appreciate. From the road, it doesn’t look like much. Once you get in there, you will marvel at the expansive growing space and the knowledgeable people who can help you beautify your home. Thousands of colors and textures and design experts who know how to combine them to make your garden a showplace. Plus, for newbies like me this is important: Instructions on the care and feeding of everything.

Brock Farms, Freehold and Colts Neck

What’s so cool about Brock Farms is that this family business still has its founders Ed and Jeanne Brock, along with their son Ed Jr., and daughter Linda, involved. They are very active in the nursery and garden centers' two locations in Freehold and Colts Neck. I don’t have to tell you the kind of care that family businesses, especially multigenerational ones, bring to the service and expertise. Since 1958 all of New Jersey knows that the best finest garden supplies and equipment for New Jersey homeowners are here.

Maple Leaf Farms and Country Store, Holmdel

My husband and I took a trip to Maple Leaf Farms last spring and it was such an amazing experience. It was almost like stepping back in time. The Country Store is a rustic retreat that is filled with unique décor, gifts, and essentials for your outdoor landscaping needs. They’ve got fun country music playing while you browse through their nursery and store, as well as the 300 acres of trees and shrubs. Don’t forget to try their famous apple cider donuts and roasted peanuts, nostalgic candy, jams, syrups, fudge, and popcorn.

Gasko's Family Farm and Greenhouses, Monroe

Year after year families return to Gasko's for their gardening needs and there’s good reason: Amazing seasonal garden and decorating options. I’ve been a visitor of Gasko's on and off for the past 30 years and it’s one of my preferred places. Gigantic selection at the best prices I've ever seen anywhere! Rows and rows of gorgeous, healthy plants with excellent prices! It truly is a gardener's dream to come here. Great seasonal selection for every season. The way I describe Gasko's to people is "a well oiled machine."

Eisele's Nursery and Garden Center, Paramus

The best in North Jersey for a stunning selection of healthy plants and trees. Not only does this nursery have a beautiful selection of annuals and perennials, but people come from all over New Jersey for their design advice. They help you create sophisticated gardens. Eisele’s Nursery also has a landscape design team that can be hired to help you create your perfect garden.

Barlow's, Sea Girt

They take such good care of their plants, it's such a pleasure walking through the greenhouse. You get this zen/relaxation feeling that makes you want to purchase everything Barlow's has to offer. Flowers and plants are arriving daily and you won't want to miss them for the best veggie starts in Monmouth County. They also offer a gardening club, farm-to-table dinners, and numerous educational classes such as gardening to attract birds.

The Farm at Green Village, Chatham

This 32-acre location includes a healthy selection of beautiful trees, shrubs, and flowering nursery products. They’re careful to source their plants from the best growers all over the country, selecting only reliable varieties. When you go into some garden places, things could be all over the place. Not so at The Farm at Green Village. All plants are carefully organized, so you can find exactly what you’re looking for. Visitors are welcome to stroll through their grounds and enjoy seeing the swans, ducks, rabbits, and peacocks that live on the grounds.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco only.

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