I had one when I visited the Hortulus Farm Garden and Nursery for the first time in June 2017.
Once you get to this idyllic Bucks County farm it is nearly impossible to believe it
is only about 30 miles away from Philadelphia. The farm house, still used as a residence, was built back in 1793. It is very easy to believe you have time-travelled back to the 19th century, if not the 18th. The 100-acre property was acquired in 1980 by Renny Reynolds and Jack Staub. Staub is a garden author whose work has appeared in House and Garden, House Beautiful, Organic Gardening, Country Living and numerous other publications, as well as books about gardening.
I have visited botanical gardens/arboretums where there were hardly any paths at all, others with paved paths as smooth as a linoleum floors and everything in between. But the wide lush mown grass paths that escort you through this estate are in themselves reason enough for a visit. You pay your $15 admission at the little store at the nursery, are given a brochure with a map and let loose to wander on your own. You can, if you have a group of 8 or more, make arrangements in advance for a group tour guided by one of the owners. As it was, it was just my sister and myself so we wandered around on our own, although we did accidently run into the owner and his friends twice.
The rest of the time we never saw another soul. You can rent the entire gardens, all 100 acres of them, for a mere $2,500 per day for an event or a photo shoot. I still can hardly believe we had the place to ourselves by the sheerest good luck. Our own private Eden indeed.
Thirty acres of the property are broken up into several types of gardens – edible plants, woodland walk, yellow garden, pool garden, herb garden, etc. But a tree-lover would not want to miss the “Specimen Arboretum.” At the entrance to the arboretum is a delightful little garden gate to welcome you.
Once through the gate, the first tree that will stop you in your tracks is a catalpa tree. In mid-June it still had a fair number of flowers as well as some seed pods. Maples, shaggy bark hickory and dogwoods are just some of the other trees on the property.
When we spoke with the owner he said it was a shame we hadn’t been there at the end of May because more things were blooming then. But as it was there was still plenty of botanical eye candy in terms of Indian Paintbrushes, irises and roses. There are also swans, ducks, at least one peacock and horses.
If you visit: the gardens are open May – October on Tuesdays – Saturdays from 10 – 4. The location is 60 Thompson Mill Rd. Wrightstown, PA. If you have a group of 8 or more you can call 215-598-0550 to arrange a tour. Make sure you take water! Once you leave the little store at the nursery there are no rest rooms and no place to procure water, so be sure to take some with you!
Ruthie photographs trees because she loves them.