A delightful herbal luncheon served al fresco in a lovely pavilion alongside a pond with fountain, surrounded by numerous theme gardens was part of our IHA pre-conference tour to Willow Oak Flower & Herb Farm. Enjoy a tour of this small family farm owned and operated by Maria Price-Nowakowski and her husband Martin, her daughter Heather does flower design.
I’ve known Maria for nearly 20 years when we met as members of the Potomac Unit of the Herb Society of America. Her herb farm has changed a lot over the years, with more gardens, more outbuildings, a nature trail, a bio-diverse pond, a flock of ducks and geese (they help to keep insects out of the gardens), a gazebo and a garden pavilion.
There are many large old trees, native shrubs and vines, along with all varieties of herbs and many beds of cutting flowers since Willow Oak is not only a plant nursery, it also is a full-service florist. In fact you can stop by for their flowers of the week by bouquet or subscribe to their weekly flower bucket program.
The family farm thinks green: “Willow Oak is proud to produce pesticide & herbicide free plants and cut flowers. We raise our plants in an environmentally friendly, organic manner that lessens our footprint on the earth. We strive to be a green organization because it is the right thing to do. We also specialize in native plants that naturalize well in our area and help to feed our native wildlife. Our farm is not only a nursery but also a preserve for our ecosystem.”
Willow Oak offers all sort of hands-on classes and workshops from March through December. Check out the selection of classes ranging from Mother’s Day Tea Party or Seasonal English Teas to all sorts of wreath-making, flower arrangements for seasonal celebrations and fairy garden workshops. www.willowoakherbs.com
Besides the outdoor nursery plants and the shed full of every type of soil amendments, fertilizer, etc., the gift barn is full of all sorts of delightful herb-related goodies from dried arrangements and bundles of dried herbs, teas, honey, books, essential oils, and a large array of accoutrements for fairy gardens. In the fridge there are fresh flower arrangements made from the homegrown herbs and flowers and a basket of fresh chicken and duck eggs for sale.
If you are in the area, put Willow Oak Flower & Herb Farm on your list of places to visit–whether you just stop to see the gardens or visit the shop–or sign up for an event. You’ll be glad you did. It is important that we support our local farmers, who are doing good work and are conscientous about our environment.