After several months living predominately indoors due to the cold weather, looking forward to warmer temperatures is something most of us can't help but do. 

And what's one of the first things we like to do once the Spring-like temperatures finally break? We like to get outside and work in our yards.

You could say it's an annual rite of Spring, and one many in Delaware's coastal region look forward to.

We want to plant those gardens, spread that mulch, brighten up that yard with flowers - heck, after so much time inside, even cutting the grass seems like a good way to spend the afternoon.

And that's where our local garden centers come in, most of which are family owned and operated. They specialize in whatever we want and/or need to make our home's outdoor areas spring back to life.

Today, we're going to tell you about some of our favorite such establishments here in the coastal region. Now, we're not including the so-called "big box stores" like Lowes, Home Depot and Walmart, but will instead focus on smaller shops that have achieved quite the local following over the years.

These are places where one-on-one customer service is still practiced on a regular basis, and you can get the much-needed help you need to make that yard as beautiful as you want it to be.

So, let's have a look then. In no particular order, here are some of our favorite garden centers that are located in the region:

East Coast Garden Center (Millsboro)

Located in the Oak Orchard area, East Coast Garden Center is one of the largest such establishments on Delmarva, featuring more than 70 greenhouses, a house plant showroom, an enrichment center, a children's garden area, and much more.

It's locally owned by the Cordrey Family and boasts a variety of trees, evergreens, flowering shrubs, perennials, tropicals and many more varieties of plants.

East Garden Garden Center was also given the "Best Large Landscape" award by the Delaware Nursery Landscape Association three different times, in 2010, 2013 and 2014.

The business is open Monday to Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. It's located at 30366 Cordrey Road, but you may want to call 302-945-3489 for directions if you don't have a GPS system in your car. It can be a bit tricky to find, if you haven't been there before.

Learn more at www.eastcoastgardencenter.com.

Wharton's Garden Center (Rehoboth Beach)

Located in the "Nation's Summer Capital" of Rehoboth Beach, Wharton's Garden Center features a full-service garden center and a gift shop offering several unique items.

Among the offerings at Wharton's are a wide variety of plants, various pottery selections, garden accessories, local honey, lawn ornaments, mulch  and Amish-recipe pies and pot pies.

Wharton's Garden Center is located at 35557 Airport Road in Rehoboth Beach. Their business hours are Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the garden center is closed on Sundays.

For more information, call 302-278-7041, email [email protected] or visit the company's website at www.whartonsde.com.

Inland Bays Garden Center (Frankford)

Located just two miles from Bethany Beach, Inland Bays Garden Center is as much about education and the environment as it is plants and landscaping.

Featuring a wide selection of native and beneficial plants, the owners and employees of the garden center are very conscious about the health of Delaware's inland bays and work to share those ideas through education and giving back to the community.

Owned by Cheryl Rehrig and Denise Hoeksema, Inland Bays Garden Center is located at 38320 Muddy Neck Road, just a short drive from Bethany Beach, Fenwick Island and Ocean View.

Business hours are Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and the center is closed on Sundays.

Call 302-539-1839, email [email protected] or visit www.inlandbaysgardencenter.com for more information.

Farmer Girl Exotic Gardens (Rehoboth Beach)

Now, this one's a little different, but we just couldn't pass on an opportunity to tell you about Farmer Girl Exotic Gardens & Exotic Bird Shop.

That's right - a garden center that also features rare and exotic birds on the premises! Sounds pretty cool, right?

Farmer Girl features a wide selection of seasonal items, including plants, shrubs, lawn ornaments, fountains, artificial palm trees, lawn and garden supplies, outdoor furniture, fresh fruits and vegetables, and much more. Not to mention those hard to ignore exotic birds.

Farmer Girl Exotic Gardens is located at 18940 Coastal Highway (Route 1) in Rehoboth Beach. Call 302-645-8398 or visit www.farmergirlexoticgardens.com for more information.

Jeff's Greenhouses (Bethel)

For the fifth and final garden center we're featuring here today, we head a few miles inland to the historic town of Bethel, and to the hugely popular Jeff's Greenhouses & Gift Shop.

Operating since 1962, the business was founded by World War II Veteran Rudolph Hastings and his wife, Marian, and named after their son, Jeff. 

Jeff bought the business in 1971 and he and his family have been running it ever since, boasting perennials, vegetables, strawberries in the Spring, a wide variety of flowering annuals and so much more. Jeff's Greenhouses has become a staple of the greater western Sussex County community, and has remained as such for decades.

Now featuring 19 greenhouses, the business is located at 7781 Main Street in Bethel and is open for business Mondays to Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with special expanded hours in the Spring, in the Fall, and at Christmas.

Call 800-276-3420 or visit www.jeffsgreenhousesde.com for more information.

Well, that will do it for this special blog entry featuring some of the coastal region's biggest and best garden centers.

Have a great Spring everyone!