Hawthorn Hill Farm in Cooperstown, NY

– Posted in: Acquisitions, What's up/blooming

View of Hawthorne Hill Daylily Farm in Cooperstown, NY. Photo Courtesy Richard deRosaThumbs, toes, and baby toes up, Hawthorn Hill Farm daylily nursery is a winner. The setting is bucolic, the grounds are beautiful, the plants are well grown, and the pricing is good.

Beth and I planned our trip for a Saturday and wouldn’t you know it, rain again. But the sky water was mostly light showers that were intermittent so we decided to chance it. We followed the directions as advertised and, of course, got lost by taking an early turn, our mistake. But our turn circled back to the main road so we survived and enjoyed seeing an area we hadn’t been to before. We corrected our course and made it to Dick and Sandy deRosa’s nursery.

Sited on a gentle slope, a field of color greeted us as we headed up their driveway. There is ample parking for our ridiculously big truck and were warmly greeted by Sandy as we popped open the doors. Sandy explained the layout of the gardens and gave us a clipboard, pen, and forms to help us mark our selections. We found the inventory sheets with their listing of every variety, descriptions, locations, and pricing very helpful. Then Sandy released us and we were off.

Although near the end of the season, there was plenty of color everywhere. And we, like most people, promptly headed to the first plants that attracted us, throwing away our carefully crafted plan for moving about the gardens. But we do have some discipline and proceeded to examine the beds, starting with the faraway ones up by the deRosa’s house. I couldn’t discern an organization to the plantings but it didn’t matter. All varieties have a large ID label and when matched with the lists made combing through their extensive plantings a breeze.

Halfway down their easy hill, the nursery beds are interrupted by our favorite feature, a large vegetable garden. We always approve of mixing the utilitarian with the ornamental and are glad others do too. Assorted perennials are combined with the daylilies in the beds that enclose the nursery and include very light and airy rail fencing that gives structure to the nursery boundaries.

We finished the lower gardens and then it was decision time. I have to admit at this point that daylilies are not our favorite plant. We have about eight varieties at home and discreetly hide them about our borders. We surprised ourselves that we had selected almost that number and began bargaining with each other to reduce down to our budget.

We handed over our selections to Sandy and she started making labels, confident that all were still available. There is no self-service and we visited with their dog Gabby and her visiting companion Sasha while Sandy went to work. Plants are dug from the nursery beds, leaves are trimmed down, soil is completely washed off, and then carefully and cleanly wrapped in newspaper. The divisions are large, very healthy, and include a full flower stalk if existing on your selection.

Dick joined us during the cleaning and packing, and all of us were enjoying the conversation. Dick informed us of their organic gardening practices and his beginning forays into daylily hybridizing. My ears perked up when he mentioned his collection of species he grew and I know that those plants alone would bring me out for another visit.

High season is end of July and early August and the color blazing from their hill surely illuminates the countryside. Our visit coincided with their last open weekend before they close for the season and I’m glad we decided to brave a bit of moisture. We know we’ll return in the future and encourage everyone to also make the effort.

The nursery will be opening for weekends-only in 2007, starting in late June.
Dick & Sandy may be contacted at:

575 Pete Hendricks Road
Cooperstown, New York 13326

Phone: (607) 547-9553
e-mail: rj.derosa@earthlink.net
Hawthorne Hill Daylily Farm - Photo courtesy of Dick deRosa

About the Author

I started in 1977 growing plants at wholesale nurseries and a wholesale seed company in California. In 1992 I started volunteering (in the nursery, of course!) at Strybing Arboretum in San Francisco where I met my wife. My wife is originally from upstate and we moved here in 2002. It took at least two years of living here for me to fully understand our property and to take advantage and work with our microclimate. Although growing zone maps show us to be in 5, we are realistically a 4b. I am inordinately proud, in a smarmy kind of way, of how many of the plants we brought with us have thrived. Coming from a zone 9 has been quite an adjustment for all of us. But we are thriving and enjoy the beauty and what the land gives us everyday. USDA Hardiness Zone: 4b/5a Location: rural; Central Leatherstocking near Cooperstown, New York Geographic type: riverine valley Soil type: Chenango alluvial – shallow clay and highly stony Experience level: 28 years professionally wholesale and retail, no longer in the business Particular interests: native plants and ecosystems, flowering and berry producing shrubs, home-grown foods, maples, birches, willows, ornamental grasses, filipendulas, iris, ligularias, persicarias, asclepias, artemisia, asters, arisaemas, hardy geraniums, euphorbias, eupatoriums, origanums, lysimachias, eryngiums, lilies, and visiting nurseries

In its own way, frost may be one of the most beautiful things to happen in your garden all year . . . Don’t miss it. Like all true beauty, it is fleeting. It will grace your garden for but a short while this morning. . . . For this moment, embrace frost as the beautiful gift that it is.

~Philip Harnden in A Gardener’s Guide to Frost: Outwit the Weather and Extend the Spring and Fall Seasons

Comments on this entry are closed.

rik scianablo c/o cooperstownconnection.com April 3, 2011, 10:52 am

Hi Dick and Sandy

looking for info on your plants and trees for the local area, r u still in business?
if so thanks for some return info
Rick & Vita

Lisa March 11, 2010, 12:59 am

How long has this nursery been open? I worked in Cooperstown (painted scenery for the Glimmerglass Opera) for eight summers. Of course, I planted a little garden, even though I was only there for eleven weeks each summer. I would have loved to have had more daylilies.
.-= Lisa´s last blog ..Natural Beekeeping =-.

Kathy Purdy March 11, 2010, 8:52 am

Lisa, this article on Hawthorn Hill was written by my guest contributor, Craig Levy, close to four years ago. I regret to say I’ve never visited Hawthorn Hill myself and have lost touch with Craig, so I can’t answer your question.

Kathy Purdy August 21, 2006, 12:51 pm

Kerri–the writing is Craig’s, but the photos were supplied by the deRosa’s–just so you know. If you let your mouse hover over any photo, you will see a caption that credits the supplier of the photo.

kerri August 21, 2006, 8:17 am

This is a great summary of your visit…all the essential info, as well as your vivid descriptions of the beauty that delights the eye in this gorgeous little piece of heaven. My hubby and I also paid a visit in July, and I blogged about it. We LOVE this beautiful farm, and thoroughly enjoyed our visit with Sandy and Dick. Such a lovely couple! I received an e-mail from Sandy pointing me to your post. Enjoyed your pictures too!