From the Super Mario Wiki
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The Gardener is an elderly Toad who resides in Rose Town, a small village near Tadpole Pond and the Forest Maze. Mario can bring the Gardener a Seed and some Fertilizer; the Gardener exhibits some signs of happiness when he receives both of the items as he had been searching for them both his entire life and came up empty-handed. Once he receives both, the Gardener plants the two items in a pot, which results in a beanstalk sprouting up and through his chimney, and into the clouds, which Mario can climb. This beanstalk provides access to the Lazy Shells, the most powerful weapon for Mario and sturdy armor to anybody who equips it.