When I began gardening seriously, I found myself focusing on herbs. Medicinal herbs, culinary herbs, ornamental herbs; it didn’t matter, I had dreams of using as many as possible to fill the beds at the Demonstration Garden. In my search for plant sources, I came across the Well Sweep Herb Farm in Mount Bethel, New Jersey. When the catalog would arrive in my mailbox, I would study it, make lists, and dream of the garden that would be some day. Along with that dream was the idea that one day, when I was in the area, I would get to visit the farm and that day came recently when I discovered that it was less than an hours drive from my mother’s home. We set off on a cool, fall morning and followed many winding, hilly country roads while enjoying the foliage display of the season and thanks to some very clearly marked roads and good directions, we arrived at the farm.
The owners of the farm live in a house at the front of the property and at first glance, you might think it is a bed and breakfast or an inn. The farm is open to the public year round so if you decide to visit, I suggest going back in a different season, the grounds are beautiful and there is plenty to see.
The formal herb garden is full of plants of all kinds and even though most plants are done for the year, there was still many that were putting on a display.
The foliage in the hills is spectacular this year and it made for a beautiful background at the farm.
There are fruit trees all over the farm and this one is amazing; look at that hole in the trunk. How it has survived and still seems to flourish.
All over the property you will find beds and focal points that mix a wide variety of plants.
Red Barns, split rail fences and bird houses dot the landscape.
There is more to see besides herbs on this farm and we walked past a few sheep grazing in this small pasture.
When you arrive at the farm, you are immediately aware of the presence of chickens because the roosters crow continually. We were intrigued by the long tail feathers and asked about them. Apparently, they raise Onagadori, Japanese long tail chickens.
The green and blue feathers and a tail that can be over 20 feet long make these birds very unusual in comparison to domestic chickens.
As we walked the grounds, we stopped to admire the blooms of this plant and found this sleeping bee.
Orange calendula in bloom near the greenhouse
No idea what this plant is, but the cottony fluff that is actually the seed was intriguing.
Annual Clary Sage putting on a show. The pink tops were eye-catching and this plant has earned a spot on my garden wish list.
Seed pods from Clematis vines, they look like pinwheels. An important part of landscaping is planning your plants so that there is visual interest for all the seasons and plants with interesting seed pods is a great way to accomplish that. The flowers may be gone but the seed pods provide interest and if left in place, they can lead to more plants, a win-win in my book!
After walking the grounds, taking photos, picking two plants (elderberry and a bearfoot hellebore), a pair of herb books and some garlic bulbs, we headed back towards home. For me, it was a chance to visit a garden I had seen in photos, crossing off one on the bucket list and then putting it back on the list; I hope to come back in another season-there are spring and summer to consider…