Back in 1983, Gail and I decided to begin a garden together in Shelburne, Vermont, a stone's throw from where the LaPlatte River enters Lake Champlain. The rented land was bordered by the river in one direction and by a series of incredible limestone and red rock sedimentary cliffs on the other. The soil was clearly alluvial in nature, absurdly rich from being a barnyard for over a century, and the greatest soil one could ever ask for. We recall one of the owners commenting that the soil did have one major drawback: "You won't find any hoe knockers", he said, emphasizing the absence of stones of any size or shape in the soil to bang your hoe against if it became encrusted with wet soil or weeds. Regardless of the comment we hired a tractor and rototiller, had the acreage tilled and began our first business, Vermont Herb and Flower Farm.
In our horticultural evolution, that was certainly an interesting start. The name itself was a problem, in that it was easily transmuted to Vermont Urban Flower Farm and folks asked for a place no one ever heard of. At a time when even Vermont gardeners were rebuilding a serious curiosity in herbs, we began selling 50 varieties in 3 1/2" pots at the Burlington Farmers Market --hundreds and hundreds of them as well as cut flowers and potted perennials. We grew sweet pea flowers by the thousands, 9 foot delphiniums that we lopped off for the florist trade and snow peas for local restaurants when most people still asked in amazement "......and you eat the pod?"
A great deal has happened since those days...all very positive, interesting, laborious, rewarding and different. We left Shelburne and Burlington and moved here to Marshfield, built a house, bought a beagle pup, had a baby, and began building Vermont Flower Farm....all that in three years beginning in 1989. We decided to specialize in flowers that were important to us and to offer the best possible selections given our resources and available time. In those days, astilbes, daylilies, hostas and lilies topped the list.
In 2006, we changed our business plan just a bit by purchasing 5 acres just outside Marshfield village, bordered by the Winooski River and US Route 2. Since then we have added more special perennials geared to shade and woodland gardens, and we stopped growing and selling lilium due to the insideous lily leaf beetle. Our collections now include ferns, heucheras, tiarellas, pulmonarias, hellebores, ligularias, and cimicifugas (recently reclassified as actaeas). Available daylilies, astilbes and hostas number in the hundreds of varieties and on any given day there are thousands of plants potted or field grown ready to move from our gardens to yours.
We're very proud of our accomplishments and hope you will either stop by for a visit or try our Virtual Garden Tour. Either way, welcome to Vermont Flower Farm!!
George, Gail and Alex Africa
|Post Labor Day Nursery Hours: Times by chance or appointment. If traveling some distance to see us, call or email first. This time of year, until Columbus Day, we work shorter hours and can often be found in the fields digging and dividing daylilies and other perennials. We do not open during bad weather. Need directions?|
From Barre-Montpelier, Vermont. Take Rt 2 East through E. Montpelier and Plainfield. We are about 10 miles from Plainfield, on the right just one half mile from Marshfield village.
From St Johnsbury & I-91 North. Take Rt 2 West through Danville, West Danville (Joe's Pond) then 10 miles to Marshfield Village. As you come down a long hill and reach the village, on the left there is a quick stop with Shell gas pumps, the post office and a couple small businessses in a long white building and then an old three story, mustard colored general store with a new owner. If you have a GPS you'll notice Rt 215 intersects with RT 2 right across from the general store. Continue one half mile and we're on the left.
From I-91 South, White River, Hanover, Norwich, Wells River. From I-91 North take Exit 17, Wells River. Left off ramp, onto Route 302 West and past P&H Truck Stop. Continue 9 miles on Rt 302 through S. Ryegate, then Groton village to the intersection of Rt 302 and Rt 232 North. There's a small white insurance company building on the right with a large American flag. Right onto RT 232 North for about 13 miles. This will be the intersection of Rt 232 North and Route 2. At the junction of 232 and 2 take a left, down the hill a mile, through Marshfield Village and on a half mile more to VFF on the left.
Please note: George isn't all that good with maps. He's been lost from Rockland, Maine to Anachortes, Washington. He recently purchased a GPS (global positioning system). Despite his navigational problems, he agrees that directions are a good thing. If you do not know how to get here and don't want to follow these directions, please remember this: Vermont Flower Farm is in Marshfield. If you own an older GPS, 2263 US 2 and our location are off by about 120 yards. Not bad for Vermont!
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