Chinatown has its fair share of great restaurants and bakeries on nearly every corner, but Great Taste Bakery & Restaurant delivers the best of both worlds all wrapped into one location. Inside, black and white checkered tiles, wooden tables and a wall of mirrors fill out the rooms. Specializing in authentic Chinese foods, the cozy restaurant serves up traditional American breakfasts consisting of French toast, breakfast sandwiches with egg, coffee and green tea, but most people order up the pineapple shaped coconut buns, peach mousse cake and red bean buns on prominent display from the glass bakery cases. As the day progresses, appetites turn to ginger and scallion lo mein, shrimp dumpling noodle soup, chicken chow mein and roast pork rice dishes. There are several tables here but most people order the food for takeout.
A. Thomas & Sons' green thumbs cull multicolored flora from more than 8 acres of nursery to equip clients with the flowers needed to beautify backyards and make patios presentable. Colorful blooms, such as hydrangeas ($40) and knockout roses ($40), sit patiently with hopes of being selected to enliven drab flowerbeds or bunk beds, and mandevilla flowering vines prepare to accouter underdressed trellises, lampposts, and prom dates in sophisticated and colorful boutonnieres ($40). Hibiscus flowers complement living spaces with a touch of tropical color ($40), and large ornamental grasses grant growers the perfect building block for a human terrarium ($40). To solve garden problems beyond plant predicaments, the nursery specialists also curate a stock of wildlife feeders, wind chimes, fountains, and concrete statuaries.
Thayer Nursery, a six-acre, family-owned farm, has been showering the community with exceptional plants and gardening products since 1965. Thayer Nursery guarantees that their kiln-dried firewood contains no stowaway bugs and has moisture levels below 25%. Unlike regular seasoned wood, kiln-dried wood spends three days de-liquifying in a 200-degree kiln before it is stored safely in an element- and Hamburgler-protected barn. Because of this extra-special care, the wood burns cleaner, hotter, and longer, and it doesn't require a PhD in Boy Scouting to light. Kiln-fired logs also contain less chimney-fouling creosote. In addition to fire fuel, Thayer offers a bevy of bouncing baby nursery plants such as three-gallon potted roses ($22.50) and eight-inch mums ($9 each). Shrewd shrub-tenders can prepare their greenery for winter snows with a 40-pound bag of HollyTone fertilizer ($32) from Thayer's complete line of garden supplies. Thayer Nursery has an extensive selection of organic gardening materials and homegrown advice about sustainable growing practices. Even regular, flesh-toned thumbs can take on a Kermit hue with The Gardener's A to Z Guide to Growing Organic Food ($24.95).
Regardless of the season, the experts at J. Mosca Landscaping & Design have plenty of outdoor tasks to keep them busy. As the spring sun starts to shine, landscapers clean up damage from winter storms and yeti mosh pits before seeding lawns and setting up irrigation systems. They also stop by during the dog days of summer to trim the grass and mulch flowerbeds. Once the weather turns cold, the techs shift gears, trading hoes for shovels in order to clear walkways of drifted snow. In addition to seasonal tasks, the experts also know their way around construction; aided by their own fleet of earth-moving M-Series Bobcats, their sure-handed masons can craft walkways, patios, retaining walls, and fireplaces no matter the time of year.
Roberta Dehman Hershon founded Hope in Bloom after her lifelong friend and fellow gardener died of breast cancer in 2005. The organization designs and installs indoor and outdoor gardens at the homes of Massachusetts residents who are undergoing treatment for breast cancer. With gardens tailored to each individual's living space and lifestyle, they serve as tranquil sanctuaries and have helped improve the quality of life for women and men with breast cancer and their families during what is often a stressful time.
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