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Favorite Nurseries: A Visit to Plainview Farm

August 27, 2015

plainview farm entranceYesterday, I joined friends from the Foothills Garden Club for a visit to one of my favorite nurseries, Plainview Farm in North Yarmouth, Maine. Plainview Farm combines the strengths of the small specialty nurseries that are extensions of the owners’ homes and gardens and the larger garden centers with their broad range of products and plants. Less than 20 miles from my home, it is my go-to nursery for most of my garden needs.

Our garden club visit combined an opportunity to view the beautiful Plainview Farm display gardens with shopping for plants. The display gardens allow gardeners to see mature plants. All the beautiful late-summer blooms were also instructive for those of us whose gardens are looking more than a little bedraggled in late August. I was particularly taken with this display of cup plants or compass plants (Silphium perfoliatum) lining a garden path, plainview cup plant display
plainview joepye … and this Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium) in all its late August glory.
In the shade gardens, this ‘True Blue’ gentian seemed to glow from within. plainview blue gentian

plainview yellow waxbellsI have always been impressed by the range of plants available at Plainview Farm. I arrived yesterday with a long list of plants needed for my new front garden and went home with almost everything on it. A friend found a cultivar of Joe Pye Weed (‘Little Joe’) that had not been available elsewhere.

In addition to the currently fashionable plants and cultivars, the selection includes rare plants like this Kirengeshoma palmata (yellow waxbells), a plant I had never encountered before. I wish I had gotten a photo of the miniature goatsbeard, Aruncus aethusifolius, which forms a neat mound about a foot high, with finely cut foliage that was still looking fresh in late August. Several members of our group succumbed to the charms of this particular plant and took one home with them.

plainview royal standard hostaAnother Plainview Farm characteristic I value is that they also continue to stock old tried-and-true varieties that can be hard to find, like this ‘Royal Standard’ hosta with its big fragrant white flowers that bloom in late summer.

Seeing this nursery through the eyes of friends who had not been there before reminded me what a gem Plainview Farm is and how lucky I am to have this source of plants and garden inspiration so close to home.

18 Comments leave one →
  1. August 27, 2015 10:50 pm

    This looks like a delightful nursery.

    • August 29, 2015 3:03 pm

      Jason, I thought of you when I saw that garden path lined with towering cup plants.

  2. August 28, 2015 1:45 am

    What a beautiful place!

    • August 29, 2015 3:05 pm

      John, It is beautiful. I’m lucky to live in a part of the world full of beautiful places like this.

  3. Becky Burke permalink
    August 28, 2015 8:47 am

    This was not my first time at Plainview, but it has been several years since my last visit. The gardens are amazing. Until walking them on my first visit, I didn’t realize there were so many plants for the shade! Their nursery stock looks well cared for and ready to put in a garden (but not dying to be sold). A great place to visit!

    • August 29, 2015 3:06 pm

      Becky, I visit Plainview Farm frequently, but it’s been a while since I took the time to walk through all the display gardens — and doing it in company with other gardeners helped me to see it differently. I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

  4. August 28, 2015 3:34 pm

    The fact that you were able to visit this nursery with a list and come home with almost everything on it says everything to me! I don’t think I’ve ever had that experience in my own area.

    • August 29, 2015 3:09 pm

      Kris, Plainview Farm has a great selection of perennials — even this late in our gardening season. I should note that, once I had decided in a general way which plants I wanted to include in my new flower beds, I used their online catalog to choose specific cultivars — which certainly increased my odds of finding the plant son my list.

  5. August 28, 2015 6:07 pm

    Lucky! I’m taking little lists from nursery to nursery. Rinse. Repeat.
    3 nice new pots, 2 planted and the third still waiting for That Plant.

    • August 29, 2015 3:12 pm

      Diana, Recently I visited another favorite nursery (one for which I had been given a gift card) searching for plants for my new front garden. There, if I couldn’t find something on the display tables, it meant they didn’t have it. At Plainview Farm, I’ve learned to ask when I don’t see something I’m looking for; more often than not, someone goes off to the stock area and finds it for me.

  6. August 29, 2015 7:25 pm

    I remember our visit to Plainview well. i have been there many times over the years. Carolyn’s Shade Gardens carries all the plants you mentioned but is not exactly next door for you!

    • August 29, 2015 8:16 pm

      Carolyn, This garden club event revisited our day, but in the opposite order. We started at Plainview Farm and then went on to the Pineland Farms garden.

  7. August 29, 2015 8:46 pm

    That is quite a variety of plants. I have thought about visiting a few nurseries but that will wait until next year….and taking friends always makes it a better trip!

    • August 29, 2015 10:08 pm

      Donna, This was a fun visit. I love to shop for plants alone, but you see different things when you are with a friend (or two or a dozen 🙂 ).

  8. debsgarden permalink
    August 30, 2015 2:13 pm

    A trip to a favorite nursery is a wonderful way to spend the day. I ordered ‘Baby Joe ‘ Eupatorium last year from an online source, after being unable to find one locally. It has done well, and now I want more. The fact that it grows from Maine to Alabama is impressive. Wish I had a local nursery that carried it.

    • August 30, 2015 9:12 pm

      Deb, Maine seems to be blessed with an unusually large number of small, family-run specialty nurseries and garden centers. I suppose it’s an extension of the culture of small family farms here. Whatever the reason, I’m definitely spoiled by the abundance of choices for buying plants locally.

  9. September 12, 2015 8:02 am

    Hello Jean, we’re surrounded by garden centres here but there isn’t one that combines all the qualities of good price, great cafe, large plant range, interesting/unusual varieties and overall size so we’ll continue looking. You’re lucky to have one such close to where you live.

    • September 12, 2015 10:27 pm

      Sunil, Garden centers and nurseries in the US don’t generally have cafes. Otherwise, I tend to look for locally owned nurseries that either specialize in a few plants that they have an exceptional variety of or that have a good range of many plants. This nursery falls in the latter category.

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