Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Favorite Garden Places #1

Every year in late April or early May I trek up to the next county north of here, to Anthony's Herb Farm in Brighton, TN in Tipton County.  It's a bit under and hour's drive from our house, and totally worth the drive for the reasonable prices and the extensive selection of herbs.  Add to that, the fact that it's a "Tennessee Heritage Farm" in that it has been in continuous farm use for at least 100 years.

And there's Miz Anthony's personal herb garden (her rambling built-on a zillion times farm house can be glimpsed in the upper right of the photo.

Her garden is amazing, with the health and size of her plants!

Flats of plants are tucked here and there amongst the barns, greenhouse, and other out buildings.

And more plants.

Finally it's time to check out with my stash.

Neighbors from up the road help Miz Anthony with her "plant stand".

Miz Anthony, above in the middle, looks over everyone's purchases.  She's in her 80's, a little over 4 ft tall these days, and tough as anything.  If you need to go to the bathroom before heading back to Memphis, she'll let you use hers in the house ("There's a ghost sometimes that holds to that bathroom door and won't let you out -- if you can't get out, holler and I'll come get it open", and she'll offer you a glass of sweet tea before you leave, and hand copy out her recipe for chocolate mint (as in, made with chocolate mint) pound cake.

As I was checking out and starting to leave with my van-load of deals ("Those plants are heavy, let me carry them to the car for you" really, Miz Anthony?), she decided a different flat of marigolds needed to go home with me rather than the ones I had picked ("I think these are a little nicer and will do better").  And she refers to the plants as "him" and "her" ("now, she doesn't like to be in the hot sun too much, you be sure to give her a little shade in the afternoons and she will do just fine.")

She hosts an herb festival over Memorial Day weekend, with country vendors and craftspeople, barbecue cooked on the premises (pork AND bologna -- pork barbecue being a west Tennessee specialty of course, and barbecued "ring" bologna being a rural specialty of the area), and herb cooking demos with free sampling.  I've gone to the festival for years, and wondered why the choice of plants for sale was so small and finally asked Miz Anthony about it several years ago.  Turns out the Herb Festival is the end and finale of her selling season, selling off whatever she has left.  If you want the best selection, you have to go in April or at least well before the Herb Festival.  Now I usually go both in April and again at the Festival.

sharing with Tuesday Garden PartyHome and Garden Thursday


Athena at Minerva's Garden said...

What a delightful place and day you obviously had--I love that you never know what's around the corner in this garden! Beautiful, and so is Miz Anthony!

Karen @ away for the weekend said...

Oh my, I think I would love this place - and Miz Anthony! I can understand why you'd make the drive every year. It sounds like a wonderful tradition!

Jami @ An Oregon Cottage said...

I would make a trip like that if we had such a special place nearby, too. Miz Anthony sounds like a treasure!

Kathy A Delightsome Life said...

Wow! She's a real inspiration --I'd just love to visit her place -I hope to be the same when I am her age! I know you'll enjoy those flowers - I appreciate you sharing with Home and Garden Thursday,