Supporting Local Farms and Nurseries

Yesterday was the day I didn’t realize I was waiting for — the day my DeBaggio’s Herb Farm and Nursery catalog arrived. Since then I’ve been engrossed in one of the greatest works of nonfiction in the world and loving every minute of it.

I’ve been a loyal patron of local nurseries since we moved to Appomattox. Before then, I purchased plants wherever I could find them. Some were pretty, some even lived, but few were grown anywhere near where I lived. It seems to me that if a plant is sown in the same area it’s grown, it is more likely to thrive.

Our first summer in Central Virginia, we purchased most of our plants from Shadowwood Greenhouse. Unfortunately our first summer was their last. It was a lovely place, and I was so sad to see it close. At that point I vowed to use my live-plant dollars at local nurseries whenever I could.

  • My newest local greenhouse is Fort Valley Nursey in Woodstock — about 15 minutes from my home and just off of I81. Because I’m still new to the Shenandoah area, this is also the only local greenhouse I’ve visited, but I was impressed with the staff’s offers to help me identify unknown plants and their friendly greetings as we moved amongst the pansies, bushes, blueberries, and fruit trees. This was a recon mission, so I haven’t purchased anything yet, but the plants all looked very healthy. (*Note — full disclosure, later the same day, I won a photo contest sponsored by Fort Valley, and I received a $50 gift certificate to the nursery and a very good-quality pair of bypass pruners. Terry even helped me pick out the pruners!)
  • The aforementioned Debaggio’s is a yearly trip for me. Located in Chantilly, Debaggio’s is about 30 minutes away from a friend’s home, and it is often part of our yearly sojourn to the Loudoun County Farm Tour. I’m happy with all of the veggies, herbs, and flowers I’ve purchased from the herb farm. One salvia I picked up last year, ‘Cherry Queen’ performed above and beyond. It grew nice and big and healthy and was covered with pinkish red flowers. The hummingbirds loved it.
  • Walter’s Greenhouse in Hardy is a plant lover’s dream. I first saw Walter’s tags on some plants I purchased in Appomattox. Realizing how close they were to family in Roanoke and Smith Mountain Lake, I took a little side trip to the greenhouse…and promptly filled the back of the van with flowers. I’ve picked up ‘Ocean Blue’ Salvia, with huge pale blue blossoms, hummingbird sage (black and blue), and a beautiful pruned rosemary “tree.” Their herb selection is also extensive. Walter’s is about 45 minutes from my parents’ home, so while it’s not local to me, it’s local to them, and visiting the greenhouse is an annual event around Mother’s Day. (It’s also a guaranteed way to torture my black-thumb sister, who seriously thinks Mom and I are nuts about flowers.)
  • Village Garden Greenhouse in Appomattox is an extremely well-priced country greenhouse. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, and the drive out there is pretty. They have quite a few greenhouses to explore. I must have visited the greenhouse 10 times during my second summer in the area, buying all sorts of herbs and vegetables. The lantana I picked up for the butterflies grew extremely well! I haven’t visited since 2006, but their website shows they’ve grown and are still a great resource.

There are local greenhouses, farms, and nurseries throughout Virginia, and most likely in your area, too. I’ll add reviews of more as I visit them.

Can you recommend a local greenhouse? Share it here!

*** This site is comprised solely of the opinions of its author, Stacey Morgan Smith. She works to promote gardening and tourism in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, from Roanoke to the Potomac River.***

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