About the Nursery, Display Gardens and Greenhouse
Rachel Kane established the nursery in 1980 for the purpose of collecting and growing heirloom flowering plants and herbs from the 17th, 18th, 19th and early 20th century. While this aspect remains a specialty, we also grow a respectable number of perennials of a more recent vintage, a rather good selection of culinary and medicinal herbs, and one of the largest collections of phlox to be found anywhere in the country. In the shrub yard we offer a selection of hardy flowering shrubs, including many native species, and old-fashioned favorites like fragrant mockorange and lilacs. Currently we have about 900 varieties of plants at the nursery, detailed in our catalog, which is viewable on this website as a pdf. Most of the plants are field grown and proven hardy in our rigorous Zone 3 location.
There are nearly three acres of specialty display gardens and nursery beds which visitors are welcome to wander through during regular business hours. The gardens include an English-style hedged herb garden, primrose garden, island heather beds and shade gardens. A large lawn, bounded by a rustic pergola and phlox borders, is set up for summertime croquet, which visitors are welcome to play.
In the greenhouse, the focus is on antique, fragrant and rarely seen annuals, such as nicotiana, china asters, phlox and heliotrope, plus new favorites such as million bells and diascia. Rachel also loves flowering vines, and we usually have a nice variety including morning glories, hyacinth bean, thunbergias, climbing snapdragons, etc. There is always a good selection of culinary and medicinal herbs, such as sweet marjoram, basil, chamomile, and cilantro. No chemical pesticides, and no neo-nicotinoids, are used anywhere in the greenhouse or garden.
About our Plants
Our Nursery Plants are Hardy:
Our perennials are generally field grown and good-sized, with well-developed root systems. They are typically two years old or more when potted up. The field-grown plants are produced using organic farming methods, and are fed with organic fertilizers, manure or compost. This, in our experience, makes for the healthiest plants. We also sell plants that are brought in from afar, in order to bring new varieties into the mix. We occasionally use naturally based pesticides, but never chemical ones. We only buy plants from wholesalers that have rejected the use of neo-nicotinoids. Many customers have attested to the vigor of our stock, and I think this is because we do not coddle our plants, nor do we over stimulate them with massive doses of fertilizers. We pot them up in the fall or spring, but if we don’t have what you’re looking for already potted, we’re happy to dig one out of the garden for you if possible!
Our Mail Order Plants:
In 2020 we are primarily shipping phlox, with a small selection of other plants, such as skirret, groundnut and heleniums. We ship plants in April –June, and again in September-October. This year all plants will typically be shipped in pots, 3 in. square by 4-1/4 in. tall. If you are keen to order plants which are not in the on-line list, please do feel free to ask, as we may be able to send them.
The Gift Shop and ‘The Nutshell’
The gift shop is housed in the old wooden extension, and is packed full with useful and decorative items, such as bells, windchimes and enamelware. Summer hats are a specialty, ranging from sturday sun hats for the garden, to stylish beach hats, to showy numbers for Red Hat Society ladies. We carry a nice line of lightweight Indian cotton tunics for gardening, and a verging on the sumptuous array of shawls and scarves.
Naturally we sell tea, teapots, cozies and tea related items, plus jewelry, imported gifts and more. Books on gardening or herbalism, tools, and concrete birdbaths and statuary will appeal to gardeners. We have locally made items such as pottery and handmade soaps.
In stocking the shop, we give preference to quality-made items sourced from the USA, India, Indonesia, South Africa, England and Ireland, to name a few.
What is ‘The Nutshell”? It is a tiny studio, built by Pat Kane as a gift to our mother, Judith. This sweet little space is now an adjunct shop – who knows what you will find out there! The Nutshell is in the shrub yard, near the garden statuary.