FRAMINGHAM – Walking into the garden center, there is an array of vibrant flowers and plants as far as the eye can see. Closer to the checkout desk, there are friendly faces ahead. There are also canine friends relaxing in the peaceful atmosphere, referred to as the “greeters”.
Jenna Porter, the current owner, took over the business from her parents in 1999.
Howard and Donna Porter founded River’s Edge Garden Center in 1958.
However, the business unofficially began earlier in the 1950s when the Porters bought and moved into a home with a greenhouse. They quickly started a business as a florist shop, and then progressed into selling annuals and vegetable plants.
Jenna Porter remembers when the shop only sold a few different types of flowers, such as red and white annuals. The benches at that time were flipped over crates in which plants had been delivered.
Since then, a lot has changed. According to Porter, “people are more knowledgeable about gardening” today.
People are no longer simply looking for the same colored annuals. Instead, they have specific desires. They look for flowers that attract hummingbirds, bees, etc. Therefore, the demand has caused an extreme growth in the variety of plants that River’s Edge carries.
Some of the most popular plants at the garden center are the tomato plants. There are regular tomatoes, grape tomatoes, tomatoes that start out purple or black and so much more. Porter explained that the garden center is a combination of plants they grow there and plants that she gets from other growers.
For Porter, the best part of her job is “a day like yesterday. It’s 75 and sunny, the customers are happy, and we’re happy.”
The owner walks to work with her dogs every morning around 5:30 a.m. and doesn’t go home at night until around 8 p.m.
But for Porter, the 5 months of extremely hard work are worth it. She appreciates both repeat customers and new customers alike and is grateful for everyone that walks through the front entrance.
The garden center is more than just a place that grows and sells a wide variety of plants. It is a place that has the power to make people happy and at peace.
In fact, one year, while River’s Edge still remained open in the fall, Porter was debating on whether or not she should stay open on the anniversary of 9/11. However, a few customers came. And then a few more. Before she knew it, people were flowing into the garden center because it was a place where they could come to feel at peace. For her, that meant the world.
River’s Edge Garden Center is located at 12 Auburn Street Ext., Framingham.
They are open Mon-Fri 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays & Sundays 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Photos by Shauna Golden