Spring has sprung! OK, not really. But that one day of 70-degree weather earlier this week was enough to leave me aching for the end of winter, for the warmer days when daffodils begin to poke their way through thawed soil and bright green leaves unfurl from winter’s bare branches. I’m so ready for nature to come back to life. And plants aren’t just pretty things to look at, either. Studies have shown that plants can be beneficial to our mental health, with some researchers believing that “developing a ‘mild attachment’ to the plant added ‘slight but meaningful emotional involvement’ that intensified the benefits,” according to CNBC. Neat!
Most Nashvillians already know there’s plenty of vegetation up for grabs at Bates Nursery & Garden Center (voted Best Nursery/Garden Center, Readers’ Poll in Best of Nashville 2020) and Gardens of Babylon (declared Best Garden Center/Plant Shop, Writer’s Choice in Best of Nashville 2019), but they’re not the only plant action in town.
Here are a few more local shops and makers to check out if you’re on the hunt for some fresh foliage.
Flora Plant Shop has two locations — one on Trinity Lane and another on Main Street in Franklin — and both are open seven days a week for in-person shopping, but if you’re still trying to minimize in-person contact, you can shop online for delivery or curbside pickup. I personally love how their online shop is broken up into four helpful categories — bright light plants, medium light plants, low light plants and pet-friendly plants — and each section offers several options, so you’re almost guaranteed to find something that will work for your space.
Need something small to liven up a dim corner? Look at this pink-veined fittonia! Looking for a big statement plant that will tie a room together without killing your cat? Consider this five-foot-tall bamboo palm your new best friend!
Flora has a lot of lovely accessories, too. I’m currently coveting the speckled stone wall planter that looks kind of like a delicate, broken bird egg, and I love that they carry decorative watering cans — including this sweet ceramic rainbow design — so I can stop watering my smaller potted plants with drinking glasses that pour water out too fast in too wide a stream and spill everywhere every time. (Please tell me I’m not the only one who does that.)
Pepper Palm’s vibrant hand-painted pots are as pretty as the plants that go in them. The artist’s “For the 2000s” pot, she says, “is an homage to all of the pastels, glitter, and girly fashion of the early 2000s.” The “For the 90s” pot is a celebration “of the funky bold colors and patterns of the 90s.” It definitely has some of that era’s patchwork pants vibes.
She even recommends which kind of plant would look best with each pot’s color palette. For her Ablaze pot, she suggests “a tropical plant that has rich green leaves like an Alocasia Odora or Pilea,” for example.
Pepper Palm also sells kokedama, which, she writes on her Etsy page, is the “Japanese art of creating potless plants using soil, moss, and string.” Kokedama are available with ferns, succulents, pothos or dracaena, all of which are sourced from Nashville nurseries, and they’re sold with a ceiling hook and twine so you can quickly give any corner or window a low-maintenance pop of green.
Scene contributor Lance Conzett called Old Hickory’s Lawrence & Clarke Cacti Co. the Best Place to Buy a Cactus in the Scene’s Best of Nashville 2018 issue. “Their well-appointed shop in Old Hickory is a charming succulent heaven, offering a plethora of houseplants and vintage home decor,” he wrote at the time. While their classes and terrarium-building events are currently on hold, they’re still open for in-person (masked) shopping seven days a week and they’re often posting photos of their current inventory on Instagram. (Look at this sweet little heart-shaped cactus!)