The Big Boy on Plymouth Road has a decidedly non-chainlike approach to landscaping. In June, nearly two dozen hanging baskets of petunias lined the sidewalks from the parking lot, while little green sunflower shoots promised a bold show by fall. Red and white clumps of dianthus mimicked the trademark checkerboard pattern on Big Boy’s overalls.

Joe Diequez and Jonathan Marsh bought the franchise in 1998, tore out the overgrown yew bushes and mature landscaping, and have been gardening ever since. “This has been a bad year” for the garden, Diequez apologizes. He says it “will look better as the sunflowers and moonflowers kick in later in the season.”

Why go to so much trouble? “It’s home to us,” Diequez says, “not just a business.”