Every year my sister, sister-in-law and good friend make a trip to Shields Herb and Flower Farm in Spraggs, PA. It’s about an 1.5 hour drive from our area but well worth the trip and we make a day of it. I have to say its one of my favorite days of the year. After all, its spring and we are all excited to get out and plant our flowers and veggies, the weather is beautiful and we get to shop. Who doesn’t love to shop? Topped off with a nice lunch and plenty of time to settle our purchases into our gardens. Pretty much the perfect spring day.
When you purchase plants at a nursery, or anywhere, it’s best to keep these few tips in mind.
Look for plants with several buds and not too many flowers. It’s nice to see the color of the flower but if you choose one that is in full flower it may not adjust as well when transplanted.
Choose those that do not have a lot of roots coming out of the bottom. If they do you will have to tease them and possibly trim the extra root growth so that the roots can spread out and grow properly.
Choose the healthiest plants possible. This means those which look well-watered and not too dry, those which are nice and full and not leggy and those with lush green foliage not yellowing or faded.
Finally, try to shop at a stand alone nursery when at all possible. Big box stores are convenient but you will have much better chance at finding the best quality plants at smaller nurseries and greenhouses. In addition, the variety is likely to be far superior and vast.
Case in point: I love traveling to Spraggs, PA to visit Shields Herb & Flower Farm. As I mentioned we have been making the trip there for over 15 years. We first discovered this beautiful family run business at the gift show when we operated our gift shop. In addition to growing fabulous plants this talented group creates the most breathtaking dried floral arrangements which we sold in our gift shop. One year we decided to take a trip to the farm and have been returning ever since.
The owners are always on hand with friendly advice on all your plant questions and sharing their experiences like old friends. Though I’m sure they have many repeat customers they always remember us which is somewhat unheard of in today’s society.
The one thing I admire is how beautiful the place is with a sort of rustic charm that everyone can appreciate. As you can see the entire place is filled with decorative touches and wonderful fragrance.
I can always fill something new. This is the where I found my perennial begonia, Begonia grandis, which continues to bloom for me outside every year. I found this pretty taro and pitcher plants in their water garden section. I’m going to plant the taro on my shady front porch. I’ll just have to remember to water it often.
The herbal greenhouse has more varieties than you can imagine including several types of lavender, basil, thyme and many scented geraniums. You won’t find this kind of diversity anywhere else.
Of course they have many annual flowers and vegetables too. It’s such a joy to simply walk around and enjoy the beauty.
As an added surprise you may even have enjoyment of seeing one of their many peacocks like Merlin here on his perch.
And as if running a nursery and retail business wasn’t enough they also make their own wine. Check out this green house filled with barrels of wine and plants. Gorgeous, huh?
Located on Route 218 (374 Smith Creek Road, Spraggs, PA ) just south of Waynesburg, PA near the West Virginia border, Shields Herb and Flower Farm is well worth the trip. I’m already looking forward to going back next year.