Shopping locally for garden plants supports your community
Well here it is again – Memorial Day Weekend. And for many of us, this weekend means it is finally time to shop for warm weather vegetable starts and flowering annuals. What better place to go for plants and free advice than your local grower ? Here in southern Vermont, Walker Farm in Dummerston is the source for organically grown vegetable plants, including all my favorite classics like “sungold”cherry tomatoes, “raider” cucumbers, bell peppers, walla walla onions, and every other potager plant you can imagine. But more than that, at Walker Farm I can find hard-to-locate heirloom tomatoes, herbs, old-garden nasturtiums and even berry-patch additions like strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. Â At this time of the year, a visit to a local grower can inspire the green-thumb in anyone.
Over the years Walker Farm has made a name for itself with unusual specialty annuals and beautiful hanging baskets as well as hard-to-find perennials and rare trees and shrubs.Â Jack (Walker) Manix and Karen Manix have been operating their farm for more than 35 years now, and it has been in their family for more than 200 years. Â Their daughter Kristin and son Dusty are also part of their farm-business, which has grown from a classic Vermont dairy operation to an organic fruit, vegetable and flower farm. Â The picturesque farm-stand on Route 5, heading north out of Brattleboro, Vermont, belies the complex, modern nursery sprawling down below the bank and into their fertile fields. Â Gorgeous greenhouses, filled with every unusual flowering annual and exotic plant you can imagine, have been steadily added to the property. Â Charming potting sheds dot the farm, overflowing with classic and novelty seeds, beautiful ceramic pots, watering cans, hand-forged tools and other gardening supplies and necessities. Specialty plant connoisseurs Â from hours away make the drive to Walker Farm to buy plants that will fill garden beds, urns, clay pots and window boxes in such far-away places as New York and Boston. Many of my garden design clients request Walker Farm plants by name.Â Among the note-worthy mentions too numerous to list, Walker Farm has been written up by Ann Raver in her garden column for the New York Times, and the farm was also mentioned in Ruah Donnelly’s,Â The Adventurous Gardener, as a favorite plant-shopping destination. Authors Wayne Winterowd and Joe Eck, long-time customers and friends of the Manix family,Â credit Walker Farm in their beautiful books on gardening and designing with rare and unusual annuals.Â (Winterowd and Eck will be at the farm for a book signing this Sunday, May 24th, from 11 am to 1 pm). But to understand what all the fuss is about at Walker Farm, you really must see for yourself.
Walker Farm is staffed by real-gardeners, and knowledgeable employees, and they are always ready to help out with plant selections and helpful advice. Â Like many organic farms throughout this country, Walker Farm is an important part of the local economy and community. Â It is important to remember that buying local is not only a healthy thing to do for yourself, but it is also a socially organic thing to do for your friends and neighbors. Farms and nurseries provide jobs and experience for the young and the not-so-young; helping college students get a start in agriculture, horticulture or science, and helping part-time workers like parents and retirees make a living in a healthy, positive way. Businesses like Walker Farm also support other farmers, by buying and selling locally grown produce and products as well as their own. I buy whatever I can at my local organic grower, Walker Farm, and I hope that you will do the same… wherever home is.
Visit the Walker Farm Website HERE.
Rows and Rows of Gorgeous annual bedding plants and hanging baskets…
The Grand Central Greenhouse at Walker Farm, filled to the brim with unusual specialty annuals, exotic plants and herbs…
From top: entry to perennial display and sale area, trees and shrubs in front of Grand Central…
HAPPY PLANTING !
Copyright Michaela H. 2009