Below is a quick list of places I use in Albany, NY & the Capital District for this and that. You will sometimes have to look up addresses and phone numbers yourself. Last edited Tuesday, June 23, 2015 09:55 AM

Joe Defranco's Black Creek Nursery (on Rt. 146 east of Altamont) for Landscaping. Do your homework as explained at the bottom then tell Joe your ideas, sit back and let him refine them into something do-able.

Griffin Greenhouse Supply over near the airport I get dripline, plant pots, dositron etc there:

Voorheesville Diner for breakfast on Voorheesville Ave in Voorheesville, NY just off route 155. Across the street from my micro-nursery where I grow disease resistant roses, old roses, classic lilacs and more (I'm at 40 Voorheesville Ave, the diner is probably 39).

Azalea House Flowering Shrub Farm Plant Sale May 15 to July 4; 10AM to 2PM or by appointment. Classic Lilacs, Disease Resistant Roses, Old Roses, Hybrids of Classic Roses, Blueberry Bushes, Spiraea, Pinxterbloom Azalea, Rosebay Rhododendron and other select native cultivars. 40 Voorheesville Ave, Voorheesville, NY 12186.

Grandmas Pie Shop on Central Ave, east of Colonie Center and the Northway. Good family Restaurant, good pies.

Turf Inn at Holiday Inn on Wolf Rd. Prime Rib Buffet on Saturday night, Sunday Brunch. We get reservations. These days I usually go thanksgiving for the Thanksgiving Buffet. Fancy. Good Food and plenty of it.

Another Buffet, not as fancy is the Golden Coral on Central Ave just west of the intersection with Route 155 (State Farm Rd). All the Sirloin Steak you can eat for around $10 (but its the chicken I like to go for during lunch for $6.50) .

Stuyvesant Photo is where I take my camera for work (they know their stuff). In Stuyvesant Plaza on Route 20 at the intersection with Fuller Rd just east of the Northway.

The Book House is also at Stuyvesant Plaza obviously for Books.

Dinapoli Opticians also at Stuyvesant Plaza.

Hippos for Home theatre equipment, TV etc.

I have gone in the past to the Saratoga Army Navy store near the intersection of Central Ave and Allen St (its North Allen isn't it?) for my Redwing boots.

What I dont find at the Book House I go to Barnes and Noble for on Wolf Rd.

Charter One Bank at 20 Mall intersection of route 20 and Route 155. Less fees. Free checking etc. check it out and compare.

CVS Drug Store: 24 hour at intersection of Route 155 and Route 20.

Sandwiches, Pies, Baked Goods, Roses, Lilacs and me on some weekends Yonder Farms intersection of Route 155 and Albany St in Colonie, NY. 518-456-6823

In Delmar The restaurant and sports bar called "My Place" is on Deleware Ave Route 443 (couple of miles east of the intersection with Kenwood Ave). Must be 7 televisions tuned to different games. I ate lunch there the other day. A BLT on a low carb wrap for $3.75

Also on Deleware Ave is Price Greenleaf for plants, fertilizer etc. I talked to them about Lilacs the other day but I probably wont have anything to sell wholesale til 2006.

Bensons Pet Center on Wolf Rd.

Did you just buy your house? Your first urge is to run out and buy a whole bunch of shrubs trees and flowers?

1. What time of year is it? Anytime after August 15 (you should not cut back in the fall within 6 weeks of frost) be careful (in the Albany, NY and surrounding area frost often is the first week in October). The sales are all around you saying Buy! Buy! Buy! It's really hard to say no. Much of what you plant, within the first year after purchasing your house, you will get rid of and replace in due course or it will die. Check when things bloom and chores etc at

Be careful of mail order plants as the are often overpriced and under sized.

Do you have a good Electrician, Carpenter and Plummer. I suggest going to the Voorheesville Diner monday through friday and ask the waitress for information. My own opinion is that the best Plummer and the best Electrician are there daily. You might also check my list of contacts. I have a favorite carpenter but have not received permission to put his name on my cards page yet. When I get that permission it will be there.

2. What kind of plants are already planted at your new home?

3. Are you interested in having a low maintenence, sustainable garden?

4. If its Autumn you should start out by planning for next year. If you have a survey take it to Kinko's (I go to the one on Wolf Rd in Colonie) and have it blown up so its easy to work with (the size of your dining room table).

If its summer you might try creating some raised beds (2 feet tall and 4 feet wide by 4 feet long). I wrote an article on edible gardening. Use landscaping ties of a length you might easily reuse elsewhere in the garden (angle brackets, screws and a cordless screwdriver help as well and can be reused). Rake up any leaves or cut grass and put them in the raised bed first, then cover the stuff up with manure and top off with top soil. Cover the soil with several inches of compost (I use Nutrabrew) and plant annuals and vegetables. After you have a plan next year you can incorporate the raised beds into it or take them apart and reuse the material elsewhere. I use beds like this just for getting rid of unsightly compost. 4'x4' by 2'tall is my standard size. Each year in the fall I fill them with raked leaves and grass, then the following spring I put in some soil and compost, soaker hose and black plastic, whatever. Then I grow sweet 100 cherry tomatoes etc. In the fall I remove the soil (place it in a plastic container with a lid) and add more leaves then repeat the process the next spring.

Make lists of the plants you remember from childhood or think you might like (but dont go out and buy them yet.

Place a large piece of tracing paper over your Dining Room sized survey and draw ideas in in pencil.

Mark North and South. Try to determine where shadows are going to lie at different times of the year morning, noon and afternoon. Design your yard to take advantage of the best light, now and later, after you have planted trees which may grow to cast shadow everywhere.

I like to plan seasonal gardens around lawn areas that are mostly level. The non level areas are where you can plant trees and shrubs in masses. I suggest a series of mixed borders. Stay away from the foundation plantings to begin with. The lawn areas should be planned with their use in mind. Socializing? Football? Do you have kids? You might want to put in slabs of slate upon which they can draw in colored chalk. A playground could be created that was not visible from the street but easily visible from the house by adding tall shrubs under massed trees.

Have the kids help out by cutting out construction paper circles the mature width of shrubs and trees (to scale). Then move them around on the survey until they fit nicely (they should overlap but not crowd each other. Go out and look at mature gardens to see how large things will grow.

For ideas on elements of landscaping.

Remember Buyer Beware! Look for sources of information that aren't just trying to sell their product but honestly trying to find you the best product.

According to Donald Wyman, The author of "Shrubs and Vines for American Gardens" Hardiness is an association of temperature, rainfall and soil (wyman, 7). Landscapers will tell you plants most often die because they were not watered properly. So, Water your plants

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