Greenbelters still haven’t gotten over the loss of Behnkes Nurseries, but I encourage you all to discover Homestead Gardens in Davidsonville if you haven’t already. It’s east on Route 50, about 40 minutes from here. Any time of the year it’s pretty fabulous, but especially NOW through Christmas eve. After Christmas, check the website for event dates.
(Disclosure: I was once Homestead’s garden blogger, but haven’t been on their payroll since sometime in 2012.)
Above, Homestead’s outdoor lights, over 200,000 of them, get you in the festive mood as you arrive.
Then there are the 35 theme trees throughout the store. The themes above are weddings, socks and crabs. All the ornaments are for sale.
Above and below are what Homestead calls “porch pots” and I WANT ONE. Looks like with some fresh trimmings each year, they could be re-used indefinitely.
Outdoors there’s also cut trees and wreaths and all the other fresh decorations you can imagine. Indoors, Homestead staff make custom wreaths to suit any style.
You’d be surprised how much variety there is in good old poinsettias, thanks to the work of eager breeders. For example, true white poinsettias are suddenly available, after nothing but off-white attempts (shown on the left) throughout breeding history. On the right is another new variety – called ‘Micky Mouse,’ because of its round leaves.
For the kids there’s a large train set and a chatty, knowledgeable “conductor” on duty.
On the day of my visit, Santa was apparently working in his shop, so this mom coaxed her child to hug a toy reindeer instead. A superbly photogenic Santa is on duty at Homestead from 11 to 4 on weekends. Bring your own toddler.
During my visit this week I got to chat with a friend who works there, who told me these Department 56 collectibles are all the rage these days. even among Millennials, who tend to prefer the Harry Potter items.
I noticed that Homestead’s houseplant section had grown since my last visit, reflecting a major new trend in gardening, so major that even a minimal houseplant owner like me has written about it.
My visit to Homestead was prompted by a Greenbelter telling me how much she and her grandchildren enjoyed their recent visit, which included time spent with some farm animals. So before driving home I stopped to greet these scarf-eating but otherwise friendly goats, and saw some chickens, ducks and pigs, too.
But you’ll have to come back in spring to see these animals, plus a herd of alpacas. They’re all being moved for winter.