One of the greatest gardening joys in the Philadelphia area is proximity to the wonderful farming communities directly west of us. Beautiful drives in beautiful countryside are great in any season, but in spring, it is pure gardener’s pleasure.
Tourists come in droves to Lancaster County to see Amish heritage and quaint towns. But gardeners come to Lancaster County as an annual rite of spring, to reap the benefits of the great growers of this area. A trip with a friend is a perfect way to over-indulge in plants for your garden. You cannot go with a large group, unless you come in many cars, as too many plant purchases will crowd your vehicle; that is a given. What are the attractions? Quality and price rank high on the list.
So plan a nice day in late April or early May, ask a friend, and enjoy the journey. You will be in greenhouses at most sites except Conestoga Nursery, Groff’s and Russell’s so rain does not have to deter your plans. You can take the turnpike or use your GPS and stay on local highways. If you leave the Philadelphia area via 202, out to the Route 30 by-pass, and take that out toward Route 322, you will experience more of the countryside. Count on an hour’s travel time. Most are closed on Sundays and other religious holidays.
The starred ** sites have been visited and loved by Weeders.
**Black Creek Greenhouses: with over 1,000 types of perennials, 130 herbs, tons of annuals and hanging baskets, herbs and tropical, an index by aisle to help you find your plant preferences, and a bathroom. Throw in lots of gardening equipment, from pots to fertilizer, and you have a one-stop horticultural phenomenon that could satisfy your needs in one stop. Larger and more commercial than the others, but totally delightful except on a crowded day! Allow 1½ hours. 211 East Black Creek Road, East Earl, PA 17519; 717-445-5048**
Briar Rose Greenhouse where lush hanging baskets, annuals and some perennials abound. Port-a-potties, but very nice! 1581 Briertown Road, East Earl, PA 17519; 717-354-2167
**Chadds Ford Greenhouse (also on Route 1, past Route 202 but not as far as Longwood. You might find a treasure among the scattered plants.1450 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford, PA 10317; 610-459-4795
Clearwater Ponds & Aquatics, 1060 Reading Rd, Narvon, 717-445-4475. From Zimmerman’s return to Route 625 and turn right. Continue 0.3 miles to Clearwater on the right. Complete line of water gardening, Koi supplies, aquatic plants, fountains, aquarium supplies, fish.
**Conestoga Nursery: There are wonderful shrubs and landscape plants, some well-priced perennials, and good help if they are not too busy!
310 Reading Road (Route 625), East Earl, PA 17519; 717-445-4076 Closed Sunday and Tuesday and religious holidays
**Esbenshade’s (large group of greenhouses) East Division Highway (Route 322) Lititz, PA, and also 1749 Bowmansville Road, Mohnton, PA 19540717-626-7007 (Lititz) and 717-445-6055 (Mohnton)
Barbara Fisher’s Greenhouse (fresh brown eggs, annuals, perennials, baked goods, in season produce)Maple Shade Road, Union, PA (about two miles from Groff’s
**Frysville Farms (bedding plants, trees, perennials, decorations, especially at Christmas)300 Frysville Road, Ephrata, PA 17522; 717-354-4501
Greenland Supplies (Formerly Zook’s Greenhouses) 423 Gridley Rd, Lancaster. From Rt. 30 , turn left on Rt. 896 at intersection of Speedway Gas Station and Rockdale Outlet. Continue to first light and turn right onto Rockdale Rd. Go 1.5 miles, through one stop sign and past a golf course on the right, turn right onto Gridley Rd and look for Zook sign. This is a true Amish greenhouse.
**Groff’s Plant Farm A favorite of Weeders; closer to Chadds Ford via Route 1 in Chester County; wonderful selection of annuals, perennials and shrubs. Port-a-potty. (http://groffsplantfarm.com/)6128 Street Road, Kirkwood, PA 17536; 717-529-2249
Herbal Springs Farmstead, 447 Brossman Rd., Ephrata, 717-733-3438. Herbs (some unusual), perennials, shrubs, vines, vegetables, annuals.
Hoovers Farm Market (fresh produce, hanging baskets, annuals)30 Erbs Bridge Road, Lititz, PA 17543; 717-733-1048
**Ken’s Nursery (good plant material, especially houseplants and herbs, a bit more commercial/expensive than some of the others) 2467 Old Philadelphia Pike, Smoketown, PA (Route 896, west of Intercourse, PA near Route 340). 717-392-4875. Also in Ronks and Intercourse, PA (http://kensgardens.com)
King’s Herb Nook (herbs, books, tea, etc.)1060 Compass Road, Honey Brook, PA 19233; 610-273-4583
**Martin’s Greenhouse (Marian Martin) And not far away is Marian Martin’s, a source of unique plants, sold from her house and some hoop houses. Good rock garden plants, hellebores, hosta, dwarf conifers.
5489 Division Highway (Route 322), Narvon, PA 17555 (east of Route 897); 717-354-7546
Meadowview Greenhouse (reasonable)371 Bowers Road, Kutztown, PA 19530 (off 896?)
**Newport Greenhouse (No phone, as traditional Amish.) Annuals, especially coleus; small but good selection of succulents, and great reasonably priced selection of ferns and other houseplants. Cash or check only. They have a bathroom. No website.)2275 Newport Road, Newport, PA 17074
Oaklyn Greenhouse Oaklyn Dr. Narvon, Pa 17555. Return to 625N, turn right and go about 0.8 mi. Take a right onto Oaklyn, the greenhouse is on the left .1 miles after turn. Small greenhouse with good prices. Annuals, vegetables.
The Potting Shed. 148 Farmersville Rd., Ephrata Pa 17522 717-354-8484 www.pottingshedantiques.com From the intersection of Rt. 23 and Rt. 322 (about a mile after Shady Maple), take Rt. 322 West for 4.5 miles. Turn left onto E. Farmersville Rd (at Martin’s Bike Shop on the left). Go 0.7 miles and turn right just after Sensenig’s onto E. Farmersville Rd. Go 1.5 miles just before Farmersville Equipment look for mailbox 148 and sign on right, turn right into steep macadam driveway to the Potting Shed. Go up the lane, then a slight slope down to the shop on the left. English troughs, saddle stones, chimney pots at a nicely landscaped country garden. Several charming outbuildings serve as the shop Antique tiles, garden artifacts, assorted vintage tools, seed packets, catalogs. No plants but a very interesting stop.
RKS Orchids (Marilyn Daly, teacher at Longwood brought back finds from her travels)Bonnaire Road (north of Route 651), Glen Rock, PA 19327; 717-235-2421
Route 10 Roadside Market (Annuals, fresh produce and fruit, local honey) cash only941 Compass Road, Honey Brook PA 19344
**Russell’s Wholesale Anyone can go there to buy – you just need to open an account and pay sales tax. They like to sell in quantities of 6, but single plants available at slightly higher cost. Still reasonable. Great perennials, huge selection of hostas; separate herb house.600 New Road, Southampton, PA 18966
Shady Willow Greenhouse (hanging baskets, perennials, planters, bedding plants) Daniel & Anna King338 Willow Road, Lancaster, PA 17601; 717-393-5064
Shenks Greenhouse (near Ken’s)2199 Old Lancaster Pike, Lancaster, PA 17602
Spring Grove Nursery & Landscape 1476 Union Grove Rd, East Earl, PA 17519, 717-445-4186. Henry & Marian Huber.
**Town’s Edge Greenhouse 148 Rancks Church Rd, New Holland 17577. 717-354-668. Good selection of annuals, perennials, vegetable plants and hanging baskets. Plants grown on-site.
**Wayside Greenhouse Very close to Conestoga Nursery and on the way to Black Creek Nursery is Wayside Greenhouse, where annuals, baskets, planters and some perennials abound. Prices and quality are good. 535 Wentzel Road, East Earl, PA 17519717-445-7769 or 717-445-7290
Wenger’s Greenhouse, 150 Wissler Rd. Lititz, 717-733-8658. Annuals, perennnials, vegetables, hanging baskets.
Willow Brook Nursery (annuals, herbs, produce); cash only2162 Compass Road, Honey Brook, PA; 610-273-7111
Zimmerman’s Greenhouse 1136 Oaklyn Dr, Narvon, PA 17555, 717-445-5859. Katie & Melvin Zimmerman. Neatly kept family greenhouse with good prices. Annuals, vegetables, herbs, some perennials/hostas/clematis.
Zimmerman’s of Ephrata, 421 Brossman Rd, Ephrata. Well grown and some unusual plants. Annuals, perennials, herbs, vegetables.
Not too many places to get food, so many often pack a lunch.
For a casual stop, try **Olde Bakery House & Deli, 2122 Main Street, Narvon PA 17555 (in the village of Churchtown). 717-445-9335. Kathryn and Sarah Smucker will serve you a wonderful salad or sandwich, on site or to go. There is an array of food to then take home – salads and fillings sold in pints, and desserts to die for. Take home a small berry pie for $7.00, or delicious cookies. If your taste runs to traditional shoo-fly pie, you will find that as well. There are only a few number of tables indoors, so hope for outdoor eating on a busy day!
Shady Maple – A large grocery store (lots of Amish specialties) and a cafeteria style restaurant are located in the building. Bathroom
Udder Choice Yummy lunch place on Rt. 322
September Farm, Division Highway (Route 322), Honey Brook, 610-273-3552. Lunch stop and cheese shop – great tasting samples; gifts. Cheese is made and produced on site. September Farms is about 4 miles east of Marian Martin’s on Route 322.