Karen Ramsey works in one of her greenhouses at Ledgewood Gardens in Orrington in this 2019 file photo.  Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

The Old Farmer’s Almanac says the last spring frost in Bangor is usually around May 9. That date is rapidly approaching, and with it comes every gardener’s favorite time of year: planting season.

While many gardeners have the skills and patience to start things from seed, not everyone has such horticultural savvy. That means that in the coming weeks, people will flock to local greenhouses and nurseries to purchase loads of flowers for beds, containers and window boxes — a shopping excursion that can double as a form of floral therapy after a long cold winter. Stepping into a warm, humid, brilliantly colored greenhouse is like taking an instant vacation.

Where do you go to buy flowers in the greater Bangor area? If you’re not sure or want to try someplace new, here’s a list of places to try out this year, all with their own specialties and unique qualities.

Rob Miller (left) and Marc Webb, who work at Sprague’s Nursery & Garden Center in Bangor, lay sod along the Union Street side of the nursery in this 2019 photo. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

Sprague’s Nursery and Garden Center

1664 Union St., Bangor

Best stuff: In addition to flowers, herbs and vegetables, Sprague’s has a great selection of ornamental shrubs and trees. If you’re looking for that centerpiece rose bush, hydrangea or fruit tree for your property, this is the place to go. It’s also a good place for mulch, soil, fertilizers and other amendments for your precious posies.

Opening date: Already open

Windswept Gardens

1709 Broadway, Bangor

Best stuff: The place to go for perennials — loads of hardy, year-after-year bloomers, many of which are great for Maine’s climate, like bee balm, yarrow, astilbe, phlox, clematis and other old-fashioned flowers. It’s also a lot of fun to take in their beautifully landscaped grounds for inspiration.

Opening date: May 6

Temperatures hover in the 20’s outside while warm moist air fills Rideout Gardens greenhouses in this 2014 file photo. Credit: Kevin Bennett / BDN

Rideout Gardens

264 Main Road, Eddington

Best stuff: Rideout has been operating for decades, with a loyal, local following — especially for its incredibly healthy and durable selection of annuals. There’s a huge variety of annual flowers available to buy, at very reasonable prices, alongside some vegetables and perennials.

Opening date: Already open

The Garden Shed

109 Stillwater Avenue, Orono

Best stuff: Formerly Bagley’s Greenhouse, its new owners have renamed it The Garden Shed, and offer a varied mix of annuals, perennials, vegetables and houseplants, including succulents. There’s also a wide array of fun planters to add some artistic flair to your container garden.

Opening date: Already open

Evermay Nursery

A hardy gloxinia or Chinese trumpet flower at Evermay Nursery. Credit: Bridget Brown / BDN

Forest Avenue, Orono, and at the Orono Farmers Market on weekends

Best stuff: Renowned regionally for its organic practices, Evermay grows everything from favorites like petunias and pansies to more exotic — but still Maine-hardy — delights like pincushions, Chinese trumpet flower and shooting stars.

Opening date: Already open

Calkin’s Farm Stand

295 Main Road South, Hampden

Best stuff: A reliable place to get classics like petunias, pansies, marigolds and zinnia. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to resist snapping up some Maine maple syrup, fresh eggs or vegetables alongside your flowers, though.

Opening date: Already open

Hutchings Greenhouse

445 Riverside Drive, Eddington

Best stuff: All the beautiful garden classics you’d expect from a family-owned greenhouse in Maine, like hardy, long-lasting geraniums, African daisies and snapdragons.

Opening date: Open already

Wiswell Farm Greenhouse

109 River Road, Orrington

Best stuff: If hanging baskets and patio pots are what you’re looking for, this is the place to go. There’s plenty of annuals and vegetables too, though, and it’s really neat to know that nine generations of the same family have farmed and worked on this property, with the greenhouses in operation for more than 40 years.

Opening date: Already open

Ledgewood Gardens

563 Johnson Mill Road, Orrington

Best stuff: A stellar place to get vegetables, if you want to grow a tomato patch or bean arch in your backyard — but the annuals and perennials shine equally brightly.

Opening date: Already open

Wooly Ridge Greenhouse

348 Betts Road, Orrington

Best stuff: You can drop your window boxes and other planters off at Wooly Ridge, and they’ll fill them with flowers for you. Or you can come in and buy your own. Both options sound pretty nice, as spring weather finally arrives.

Opening date: Already open

Ellis Greenhouse and Nursery

218 Old Town Road, Hudson

Best stuff: Take a scenic drive out Route 43 and visit Ellis Greenhouse, where in addition to annuals, perennials and vegetables they sell a wide array of Johnny’s Selected Seeds, for those with a proper green thumb.

Opening date: Already open


Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.