This is the time of year when those of us with a proclivity to grow start to venture out to the garden centers and begin plant collecting. Many of our “up-Island” friends and guests of the B&B plan garden weekends, because the North Fork has so many varied and unique garden centers. Although I like to go through the whole growing cycle from seed to harvest, I am still tempted by the many unusual plants whose seed is either too difficult to grow or is unavailable. Jamesport has many garden centers, nurseries and greenhouses, a few of which I was able to get to this weekend. One of the biggest is the Glass Greenhouse. Although they offer standard fair, their selection can still be overwhelming. Right across the street is Gabrielson’s who’s offerings are similar, but they also include some livestock that can be feed, and a cornmaze in the fall. I didn’t get to Colorful Gardens, just east of town, but I like their selection of herbs, unusual annuals and smaller pots of perennials. If you have the patience, this is a more affordable way to get perennials since most nurseries only offer them in the pricier one gallon + pots. A garden center that just opened it’s retail site, also just east of town is The Gardens at Beds & Borders. Torie Cande was very helpful. In addition to some unusual and healthy looking plants they also offer many pots and hanging baskets with a variety of different, complimentary plants arranged attractively into “Mini-gardens.” My last stop this weekend was Trimbles of Corchaug, located just west of Cutchogue village. This is one of my favorite places. First, proprietors Anne Trimble and Nancy Leskody are very knowledgeable and helpful. Their stock is vigerous and combines the unusual and whimsical with the old standards. They see plants from the point of view of a horticulturist and an artist, including vast arrays of leaf color combinations and textures as well plant flowers and forms. Found objects are artfully arranged all over the garden center showing outstanding creativity and cleverness. And if you go, you must allow yourself extra time to take a walk in their idea garden. You will relax in it’s peaceful and serene setting and see the plants growing in the ground, displaying their actual habit, and of course get ideas for plant combinations and garden art. Unfortunately that’s all I had time for this week, but within the next few weeks I hope to get to another of my favorite places, The Peconic River Herb Farm.Violas and Pansies bloom in front of the Glass Greenhouse in Jamesport.A large display of Easter flowers at the Glass GreenhouseThe Glass Greenhouse in Jamesport.Gabrienson’s across the street form the Glass Greenhouse.An arrangement of succulents at Beds and Borders.Torie Cande of Beds & BordersHellebores or Lentin Roses at Beds & Borders.Subtle coloring of violas at Beds and BordersNancy Leskody of Trimbles of Corchaug.The entrance to the Idea Garden at Trimbles.A shot of the idea garden at Trimbles. Bursting with great ideas, even this early in the season.One of the many little whimsical still lifes created from found objects that make the visit to Trimbles even that much more interesting.Vinca blooms in the shade area of Trimbles.This is an example of the incredible variety of leaf colors and textures that can be found at Trimbles. Believe it or not, these are all Geraniums!