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Our picks for the sometimes less obvious winners.
Best Nursery (2013)
McShane’s Nursery & Landscape Supply
115 Monterey-Salinas Highway, Salinas
Steve McShane enjoys something of a reputation as a hard-charger—in his work as a Salinas City Councilman, the volunteer leader of events like Salinas Valley Food & Wine, and as an Irish-American bachelor. But step into his 2-acre McShane’s Nursery & Landscape Supply, and everything quiets down. The man and his staff are bona fide plant whisperers: ready to answer any gardening questions the novice might have, able to supply the most obscure flora to the expert, and loaded down with every tool or bit of equipment needed to spruce up the messiest of yards. Not sure how to get started on that sprucing? Start at McShane’s website, where the “Ask Our Experts” portal promises an answer to most any question within 24 hours. No disrespect to the fine folks at the big-box places with garden departments, but with McShane’s around, there’s no reason to bother with them.