Jessica Walliser
April 8, 2010

A visit to Esbenshade's nursery proved to be a fantasy visit for Jessica
Photo by Jessica Walliser

Bleeding Heart.

Over the Easter weekend we visited my family in Eastern Pennsylvania.  Since one of my favorite nurseries—Esbenshade’s—is out that way, I lugged my mother, father, nieces and my son for a visit. 

We spent three hours there on Good Friday and left with two cartloads of goodies. 

In addition to purchasing some cool-season veggie transplants, I got three big bags of organic potting mix, some algae-relief for my pond, three new perennials (Dicentra ‘Burning Hearts’, a beautiful blue Pulmonaria, and Pennsylvania Dutch Thyme—I wonder how it’s different from standard thyme?), five pounds of ‘All Blue’ potatoes, a handful of Oriental lily bulbs and a horseradish root. 

We had a great time walking the aisles of the greenhouses enjoying the Easter flowers and checking out all the water plants. 

There is something so relaxing to me about browsing through a place like Esbenshade’s; walking around, smelling the smells, reading the seed packets and thinking about all the possibilities. 

I always seem to fall in love with a $200-glazed pot and some amazing shrub that isn’t technically hardy where I live. I don’t buy them, of course (not because I don’t want to, but because I would blow my gardening budget in one afternoon), but I love to browse and gawk and dream about what my garden will be like when we win the lottery… 

I have always had a true admiration for family-run nurseries, having worked in one for many years.  It’s a lot of work and there is no such thing as a vacation for these folks.  Places like it always make me smile cause I know that someone’s heart and soul walks out that door every time someone like me buys a plant. 

What’s special about your favorite local nursery? 

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