By Ellen Babin

Pilot staff writer

Lots of experience and lots of plants - many that grow in the area - are just a taste of the offerings at Al's Garden Center - andquot;Where beautiful gardens begin.andquot;

The nursery celebrates its grand opening today (Aug. 11) in Harbor at 15714 Hwy. 101 South, on the west side of the highway next to Town and Country Animal Clinic.

A free barbecue with refreshments will begin at noon, giving people a chance to explore the center, which includes birdbaths, pottery, plants, cut flowers, fountains, and garden art.

Owners Albert Dib and Lucia Di Pietro, are no strangers to operating garden centers. andquot;My father raised me in a nursery,andquot; Di Pietro said. Dib has experience with produce and is an expert landscaper, he said.

The two met six years ago and worked together in Ventura, Calif., selling produce and plants.

Their move to Garden City to open a business - offering produce and nursery items - went so well, they said, they forgot the produce side,andquot; and continued selling plants and related wares for three years, Dib said.

It took nine months' planning before the duo felt ready to open Al's Garden Center.

Specializing in fountains, the nursery carries hundreds of varieties of locally-grown plants that will thrive in Brookings-Harbor.

Di Pietro said that quality is the important thing. Both she and Dib are ready to answer questions or help gardeners any possible way.

Both have been andquot;specializing in dealing with people all our lives and we love it,andquot; she said.

Call (541) 469-7180 for information.