The road seems long, but the beauty makes the trip worth while. Lined along the sides of the road are gorgeous stone homes. There are farmlands with grass of rich green, and beautiful animals running effortlessly in the fields. Off near the end of Harmony Road (2666 Harmony Road) in Corbyville in a clearing is Prosperity Acres, like an oasis in the farmland.
For a few years now my parents have been telling me that I should go and visit this really nice little greenhouse in Corbyville. "They have plants that you can't get anywhere else!" my mother would excitedly say. Last year I decided to give it a try. I drove around all the side roads that looked like they might be it, but nothing... I gave up. I feel like it is here that I need to come clean, I am not a gardener. I would love to be, but alas, I am just too lazy and easily distracted. At the beginning of June I can't wait to get out in my garden, to get my hands into the cool dirt and feel at one with nature. In July I am out every night watering things, stopping and admiring the beauty that I have helped to create. By August I'm bored with gardening, I forget to water things, and consequently they dry up and die. I then shake my head and declare that I just am not a gardner. Maybe one day. At some point it has to kick in. I come from a long line of people who loved to garden, on both sides. Every year I promise to take better care of my gardens, and every year I forget my promises.
Last year I began to notice that my blogs about local farmers were being re-posted on http://www.harvesthastings.ca/. Harvest Hastings is this amazing group who helps to market and promote local farmers and farm related businesses. They put out this great book that lists all the local farmers and what they have for sale. It allows you to make educated choices and to buy locally. Through Harvest Hastings I have been able to discover farmers and their wares that I had no idea were practically next door. It was through Harvest Hastings that I began to have conversations with Jennifer Nash, the owner of Prosperity Acres.
Saturday morning my Mom and I headed over to Prosperity Acres. As we pulled in Mom said "You will instantly like Jennifer. She is so helpful and upbeat." I already really liked her, even though I had never met her in person. I felt like I already knew her from our emails. I like the way she thinks. In this world there are those that sit back and complain about everything and do nothing, and then there are the people who roll up their sleeves and get dirty. Those people are so busy changing the world that they don't have time to sit back and complain. I think that Jenn might just be the latter type of person. She seems very community minded and I deeply respect that. I think that our society as a whole needs to remember that it is a community. If we act like a community there is virtually nothing we cannot accomplish. When we help each other our loads are lighter.
We got out of the car and began to look around. Everything was beautiful. I was impressed by the small details. There were garden statues, and pieces throughout the garden centre. There was so much attention to detail. If there is that much care in how the plants are displayed, then think about the care involved in propagating them. I looked at the price tags, expecting them to be astronomical, but they weren't. The prices were quite in line with most of the big box stores, and less than the other nurseries.
Here's the thing, you could probably get similar plants at the big box stores for a few cents less. Take a look at those plants. Look at the bottoms, I lay you odds that the roots are streaming out of the bottom like a spidery white tail. The leaves will not be bright green and healthy looking, and if you felt the soil I will bet that it is dry. When you ask one of the "associates" for help you may or may not get a person who is knowledgeable in plants. That person may be a kid who works there on the week-ends who worked at McDonald's last week. You might have some retired contractor who is looking for something to fill the time in his retirement. What I am saying is, yes you may save a few cents, but are you really saving money if you have to replace that plant twice this summer, and then again next summer? Are you really economizing when the person you are dealing with does not know if the plant you have found yourself in love with thrives in the sun or the shade, or what soil conditions it prefers.
Go and see your local nursery, especially a small family owned one like Prosperity Acres. If they don't know about their plants, then they won't be in business for very long. Ask them about the perfect plants for the shade, they could easily name a huge list right off the top of their heads... because plants are their livelihood. They would love to help you to make your garden paradise. The more you buy the better their bottom line is, but more than that, plants are their passion. When you are passionate about what you do, you want to share that passion.
So my Mom was right, I instantly liked Jenn (I knew I would). She didn't try to sell me anything. She was just this really friendly, nice lady. I have recently developed a like for succulents. I hated them in the past, now I find myself very attracted to them. Jenn was able to tell me about caring for succulents (turns out they are very easy to care for... just my style). She didn't try to sell me any, she offered the advice that I asked for... I like that.
Recently Jenn and her partner acquired the property next door. She has big plans for expanding Prosperity Acres. The property has an adorable little house, and a big gorgeous barn, oh and a pond (it sounds like something in a storybook doesn't it). They plan to renovate the barn, and turn it into a year round garden centre and local food hub. How amazing would that be to drive out through beautiful farmland and buy locally produced food? The pond on the property also has big plans in-store for it. They plan to restore it to it's natural state and then harvest the plant seeds. Honestly it sounds like a novel that you could get lost in, a hard working couple purchase property. They have funny things that happen while they restore the property, and find themselves more in love than ever, and then they live happily ever after. The kind of book that makes you want to go out and buy a farm.
If you find yourself near Corbyville (it's near Belleville), you should go and pay Prosperity Acres a visit. They have plants that you cannot buy anywhere that I have ever seen. I was away with several succulents that I intend to make an adorable planter with. These are not your run of the mill "hens and chickens" that your Grandmother had in her garden. These come in different shades and colours, and types. I also purchased a blue tomato plant. More than plants I bought hope. A hope that I can make my garden a little paradise. Go and see Jenn and begin your own little piece of paradise.
Prosperity Acres 2666 Harmony Road, Corbyville. 613-477-1908