The Blandy Experience

The man of the house arrived back from a conference in NYC at 2 am, the twins had to be at school for a band trip at 6 am, but the morning dawned clear and crisp.  What should the adults do with their gift of a day? After a few more hours of shut eye, and a quick spin to the farmers’ market, it was decided.  A drive in the country…to a plant sale at the State Arboretum of Virginia, a.k.a. the Blandy Experimental Farm.

A friend had recommended the sale, and the conditions were perfect, so off we went!

The man of the house is always interested in plants and he was seeking some new herbs to add to our newly expanded herb garden, as well as shrubs for the hill, and anything else novel.  There were certainly many plants that you would see in your average nursery, but quite a lot of novel varieties that he hadn’t yet encountered.

Although I too was enjoying the plants, I was equally intrigued by the names of farms, and the use of whiteboards to proclaim beliefs about the role of plants in the world.  How can you not want to buy from Radical Roots Farm or Hill House Farm & Nursery, where you can make sure to create harmonious gardens.

And as is true at the farmer’s market or any nursery that one visits, talking with the folks who are here is part of the fun. We learned quite a lot about berries (and got two cherry bushes for our back hill) from the gentleman at the stand for the Virginia Berry Farm, and found out that one of the nurseries that specializes in native plants — Nature By Design –actually hails from Alexandria (a bit closer to our house than we ever imagined).

After we had spent the money designated for plant purchases, we decided to wander around this experimental farm. Woodland, meadow, and swampy vistas greeted us, as did the calls of many happy birds.

As we wandered through the fields, we happened upon wild asparagus…and weren’t sure if the snapped stalks were human induced or wildlife induced…

But if you are looking for a Mother’s Day adventure, the plant sale is on again tomorrow.  So pack a picnic and bring your checkbook, and enjoy the foothills of the Shenandoah.


3 Comments to “The Blandy Experience”

  1. I love Nature By Design! Native plants = good 🙂 You should definitely go check them out. They are super-helpful!

  2. We bought some mountain mint from them — and my husband was totally excited to realize that they were in Alexandria.

  3. Oh, I’ve been meaning to go to this for years! Thanks for sharing your visit.

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