I’ve been very lucky this summer. I have had the opportunity to tour several nurseries and garden centers, some of which are not always open to the public. It was so inspiring to see the huge variety of plants that these gardeners are making available to the public, and the cutting-edge techniques some of these nurseries are employing to ensure they are helping, not hurting, the environment. It was also very exciting to be able to take some of their amazing plants home with me! 🙂
In June, I attended a nursery tour class through Longwood Gardens. Our tour guide, and general expert, for the day was David Culp, a knowledgeable gardener and author of The Layered Garden. David planned a tour of several amazing nurseries that day. The first stop was Peace Tree Farms in Kintnersville, PA, with an impressive greenhouse and state of the art production. They are certified organic, and they have the most amazing begonias I’ve ever seen. I’m happy to report that I’m now the proud owner of 6 of their begonias, and they are doing great!
We then went to Paxson Hill Farm in New Hope, PA. They have a beautiful nursery, filled with amazing plants, but also a garden maze, peacocks, and even turkeys. I was happy to be able to take home some of their varieties of coneflower and a few other perennials that are doing great in the garden. One of the last stops we had that day was at RareFind Nursery in Jackson, NJ. They had wonderful trees and shrubs, and a great variety. I’m happy to report that I am now a witch-hazel owner after spending some time at their nursery!Also this summer, I was visiting in Ohio and was lucky enough to meet the owners of North Branch Nursery in Pemberville, OH. North Branch Nursery is a truly impressive operation with over 300 acres and 300 varieties of trees and 300 varieties of shrubs. They grow over 20,000 perennials each year and have 75,000 plants in container production. It is an absolutely beautiful property. The property is huge, and we were happy to take a tour. You can meander through the fields, seeing all of the trees and shrubs they have growing. And the greenhouses with perennials is a site with such a great variety! They grow just about everything!While we were there, I got a Little Lime hydrangea that I was very excited about. I haven’t seen these before, but it’s a dwarf variety and has the most amazing lime green blooms. The plant was beautiful and very hardy. It is doing great in the yard. I was also thrilled to receive their 2014 catalog this week in the mail. You can really see the breath of offerings they have in the catalog. I can’t wait to dive in and see what other inspiration I get for next year!
So often, we get used to convenience, and if you’re looking for plants, that could mean looking no further than your local Home Depot. But there really is so much out there. If you haven’t explored some of those hidden nurseries in your area, even if they are a drive away, give them a try. Catalogs are also a great way to get variety, but there is nothing like wandering through a nursery to get your creative juices pumping! I know it was a great experience this summer for me, and I plan to keep it up in the future!