Exciting news: Trees now have leaves!

Not every tree, granted. But enough trees with enough little buds to make Shopping Siren hope — nay, fervently believe — winter may actually be over (this being mid-May and all, it’s a reasonable expectation).

So it is with green on the trees and optimism in my heart that I skipped into the Urban Garden Center in search of a few ways to help spring, well, spring.

Located in the old Movie Gallery space on Sabattus Street in Lewiston, the gardening shop is devoted to all things hydroponic and organic. Think bat guano and bamboo sticks. A little too … naturey? The shop also carries some wicked-looking lamps, pumps and watering systems.

I admit I don’t know much about gardening. But I know what I like.


* Sun Hut portable grow tents, various sizes, $169.95 and up

They look a bit like outhouses covered in tin foil. But in a good way. Small enough to set up in a spare bedroom, big enough to accommodate a garden’s-worth of plants, flowers and veggies. Perfect for those of us who don’t have master gardener green thumbs but can toss a space blanket over a tent pole. 

* Smart Pot, various sizes, $2.19 and up

Soft aeration containers designed to improve drainage and allow airflow to a plant’s roots. With prices ranging from $2.19 for a 1-gallon pot to $79.95 for a 400-gallon pot, they’re not cheap. (Turn around and you’ll find a stack of regular ol’ plastic pots starting at 45 cents.) But the plant on the Smart Pot package looks so lush! So happy! So not dead! As plant endorsements go, that’s a pretty good one.  

* Precision blade pruner with holster, $11.95

For fast-draw pruning. Obviously.

* Active Eye Green Lantern Headlight, $13.95

Little green-glow flashlight you wear on your head so you can check on your plants without interrupting their day/night light cycle. Or don a skin-tight costume and play a different kind of Green Lantern.    

* SUPERthrive, 2 ounces, $7.69

World champion! Plant reviver! Science miracles in each drop! So the package says. If it turns out even “science miracles” aren’t enough to perk up the half-brown fern in your kitchen, the package also says SUPERthrive is guaranteed.

* Bamboo sticks, 25-pack, various sizes, $2.25 and up

To support plants as they grow big and strong. Or for beating up your brother if you’re 5.

* Happy Frog fertilizer, 4 pounds, $10.95 to $12.95

Various fertilizers formulated for flowers, vegetables or acid-loving plants. For young plants there’s also a “jump start” formula. The thought of it just makes me hoppy. 

* Sunleaves Mexican, Indonesian or Jamaican bat guano, various sizes, $7.50 and up

I have no idea how Mexican, Indonesian and Jamaican bats differ, nor how those differences might affect their, um, fertilizing capability. But if you’ve ever wanted to explore the subtleties of Mexican bat poop over Indonesian bat poop, now’s your chance. Feel free to write and tell me how it went.

After you wash your hands.

Best find: Captain Jack’s Deadbug Brew, 32 ounces, $9.99

As if the name wasn’t enough, there’s a back story. According to the maker’s website, a scientist stumbled on the insecticide during his Caribbean island vacation. While visiting an abandoned rum still. Moral of the story: Good things come from gardening drunk.

That’s my moral and I’m sticking to it.

Think twice: About not growing something this spring

Green is good.

Shopping Siren’s true identity is protected by a pair of stylish, sweater-wearing Doberman pinschers (who dig gardens, literally) and the Customer Service counter at the Sun Journal. You can reach her at [email protected].

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