The sun has risen over Ridgefield Farm & Orchard for more than a century, dusting its orchard's apple trees, its winding cornfield maze, and its acres of pumpkins with warm, nurturing rays. Generations have flocked there from across the country, snipping fresh buds from flower gardens during the summer months or scampering though the pumpkin patch come fall. The advent of autumn also marks the beginning of the farm?s apple-picking season, when dwarf orchard trees grow heavy with juicy gala, empire, and 13 other varieties. After the annual pumpkin-picking and Halloween celebrations have passed, the grounds offer up an abundance of firs and spruces to be used as Christmas trees or stacked up and tied together into one giant Christmas tree. Throughout the year, the onsite country store peddles seasonal produce and housemade jams to boast the bounty of the farm's fields and to keep visitors fueled.
A family whose love for flora spans three generations, the Stadlers started their plant-growing endeavors back in 1932 when Paul Stadler began gardening for clients in Georgetown after emigrating from Switzerland. Soon, they opened up a small landscaping-and-gardening center, and today—more than 75 years later—Stadler Nurseries has grown to populate 340 acres of fertile land where they propagate native plants, landscaping shrubs, trees, roses, and more than 700 varieties of perennials. A staff of horticulturists and enthusiastic green thumbs helps visitors navigate the vast greenhouses and outdoor gardens, offering tips on how to prune leaves, fertilize soil, and teach plants how to roll over on command.
For more than four decades, Weed Man's licensed and trained lawn-beautifying experts have tended to local lawns with custom blends of fertilizer, environmentally sound pest-control solutions, and knowledge gleaned from both living and working in the community. Created exclusively for Weed Man, the technicians' slow-release granular fertilizer nurtures lawns over a period of several weeks, and seeding and aeration promote continued green growth. Advice that aims to assist with local lawn problems helps inform patrons online, illuminating seasonal troubles, gardening trends, and the astrological signs of various plants.
Hemmed into the shadows of the Blue Ridge Mountains outside Bluemont, Virginia, family-run Great Country Farms spans 200 acres and is still growing. Here, the Zurschmeide family welcomes visitors to dip their toes into farm living on land that churns out produce including blackberries, peaches, pumpkins, and potatoes.
A multitude of attractions sprawl across the farm's grounds, from mazes to hayrides to a barnyard full of friendly cows, chickens, and pigs waiting for a handful of tasty feed or a blank check they can use to upgrade to the penthouse pen. Each season presents a variety of pick-your-own-produce opportunities as well as a full calendar of events at the farm, including Mother’s Day celebrations in the spring, barbecues in the summer, and a Cider Festival in the fall. When not hosting its own events, the farm opens its facilities to special gatherings such as weddings and birthdays.
The talented landscapers from Rock Water Farm bring visions for outdoor living space to reality through projects that range from mowing and mulching to installation of patios and pools. On an initial fact-finding visit, a member of the team tours the grounds with the homeowner, asking pointed questions about the property, making notes of topography, and jotting down any landscaping-related items lodged in the client’s dreamcatcher. With these considerations in mind, he’ll draw up a budget and put together detailed plans with full-color drawings before returning to subject them to the client’s scrutiny. If everything looks up to snuff, the team moves forward with installation, operating in an efficient manner with close oversight and frequent drop-ins from founder and owner Todd Thomasson. Todd’s bona fides include a degree in landscape and turf management from the College of Agriculture at Virginia Tech.
The nursery at Evans Homes and Gardens has a wide variety of photosynthesizing sentinels in both annual and perennial models. Check out this year's Proven Winners (specialty flowers in four-inch pots, $4.99), or mix and match to your heart's content with a market flat of annuals ($2.50 per market pack, or a full flat of six for $18). Perennials run from $5.99 for the quart size to $19.99 for three gallons, and ninja plants are available in hanging baskets, dangling in mid-air to surprise your friends and delight your enemies ($19.99). Asiatic lilies make wonderful gifts ($12.99), and for $14.99 you can catch clematis. To completely transform your living room into the tropical utopia depicted in the critically acclaimed Bio-Dome, cover the carpet with a yard of topsoil ($32) or hardwood mulch ($27) and ignore the landlord's angry letters.