Dana Keiser, proprietor and gardener of Stony Hill Farm, creates miniature gardens for sale. I hesitate to call them fairy gardens, as not all of them have fairies. Most, but not all, have accessories that draw you in so that you find yourself imagining what it would be like to sit in the miniature garden before you. Others are just attractive combinations of plants in a pleasing container.
More Japanese Maples Than I Thought Were Hardy
Dana loves Japanese maples of all sizes, shapes and colors.She has a wide variety in stock and uses them extensively in her display gardens. She considers herself to be Hardiness Zone 4b “because of the wind,” but I am not so sure. Many of the maples she grows would be considered hardy to Zone 6, I believe, and with her altitude she is not likely to be zone 6. But as we discussed during our visit, drainage has a profound effect on cold hardiness. More plants will survive a winter in freely draining soil, because it’s not actually the cold that is killing them, but the moisture rotting the roots during mud season. Her display gardens are built on raised beds composed of a mixture of mushroom compost and composted yard waste. I’m sure they have perfect drainage and yet hold moisture because of the high organic content.
Rare and Unusual Plants
“Rare, variegated, and unusual plants” says her business card. I’ll vouch for that. Here’s a few that caught my eye.
What Did I Get?
One more thing I like about this place: Dana will dig plants from her display garden for you. No, not all her plants–just the ones she can spare. But it makes me feel a personal connection, akin to the time-honored tradition of passalong plants–even though I am paying for them. And it enables you to acquire something she may not have had enough of to pot up and put on a greenhouse bench. The plants that she dug for me are noted on the list.
‘Midnight Reiter’ hardy geranium (dug)
Primula kisoana pink (dug)
P. kisoana white (dug)
‘Blue Moon’ Phlox divaricata
pink and yellow corydalis (perhaps Corydalis sempervirens?)(dug)
Silver Squill (Ledebouria socialis, a houseplant)
Immediately after leaving Stony Hill Farm, I visited a farm and garden center and a big box store. Neither of them had such interesting or such well-cared for plants. Yes, I’ll be going back to Stony Hill.
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