Pulse: At Your Service: How-To Secret Garden Research

First-time gardeners, there’s no need to be intimidated. You’ll get down and dirty (and grow something fantastic) with these local experts on your side

Grow an edible garden
Philadelphia urban gardening doyenne Grace Wicks of Graceful Gardens can turn any roof deck or balcony into a cornucopia of fruits, herbs and veggies. After a free in-home consultation, she’ll custom-design and maintain your garden, or provide hands-on coaching along the way. Prices start at $75. Gracefulgardens.net.

McNaughton’s Gardens has been providing South Jersey residents with plants, veggies and flowers for more than 80 years. Bring in a photo of your space, and they’ll hook you up with everything—from planters to seeds to tools to advice—to get you started. Ask about upcoming classes.
351 Kresson Road, Cherry Hill, 856-429-6745, mcnaughtonsgardens.com.

Grow a flower garden
Wyndmoor’s Livable Landscape horticulturalist Maria Hasenecz loves teaching newbies through one-on-one consultations. Or learn as you go with LL’s DIY kits. 215-836-5145, livablelandscape.com.

Andrew Savinson, owner of Creative Landscapes in Media, will help you choose flowers that Bambi doesn’t like, so your hard work doesn’t fall victim to the voracious deer in our region. (Bonus: He’s a pro at super-natural perennial setups, so your efforts appear effortless.) 610-565-9910, creativelandscapes.com.

Terrain at Styer’s landscape designer Ken LaRosa hosts a free “cutting garden” class on May 16th. Learn which annuals and perennials to plant to have fresh bouquets all summer.
914 Baltimore Pike, Glen Mills, 610-459-2400, shopterrain.com.

Grow a hassle-free garden
Queen Village “Flower Man” Michael Winer has a knack for creating beauty without all the hassle—thanks to an understanding of plants, watering systems and timers. After a free consultation, he’ll design a garden that will bloom all season—and you won’t have to lift a thumb. Prices start at $200. 215-923-9333.

If spending hours in the dirt isn’t your style, South Philly’s Urban Jungle has vertical live walls and green roofs that aren’t rooted in the ground (so they require minimum soil) and have built-in irrigation systems.
1526 East Passyunk Avenue, 215-952-0811, urbanjunglephila.com.

Grow a container garden
Bring in a photo of your space to City Planter, and the staff will guide you to the right container (they have bazillions), set you up with supplies, and even plant and deliver your new pot to you. Sign up for helpful classes.
814 North 4th Street, 215-627-6169, cityplanter.com.

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society has teamed up with the Community College of Philadelphia to present a container gardening workshop on May 17th. Instructor Sue Pringle will discuss plant selection, design and maintenance to help you create a potted sanctuary. $25. Pennsylvaniahorticulturalsociety.org.