Hidden Gem Alert!

Bob Powers, owner of Cheshire Floral Farm, walks through a variety of colorful, vibrant flowers.

A couple of weeks ago, my friend, Peter, messaged me on Facebook about how he’d discovered a nursery in Marlborough that was still loaded with plants and was even making some deals. When he told me the name, I was perplexed though. It’s Cheshire Floral Farm.

If you’ve been around the area for more than 10 years and are an avid gardener and lover of fresh holiday greens, that name should be very familiar to you. Cheshire Floral Farm as I knew it was in business for years on the edge of the parking lot that Doug’s Dogs in Marlborough is. I shopped there for plants in the spring as well as wreaths and bunches of fresh-cut boxwood for the holidays.

Friendly and always talkative, Bob Powers was the proprietor and I knew his wife, Jane, played a part in flower arranging and wreath construction. However, several years ago, Bob told me he’d been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and sold the business shortly thereafter. The nursery continued the next year under a different name. I had high hopes for it, but it only lasted the first season. Well, lo and behold, Cheshire Floral Farm has been operating this entire time — still in Marlborough — but I didn’t know it. I went and visited with Bob last week and had a wander around. It was such a relief to see my old friend and he’s just as talkative as ever. On top of that, for a man who has been dealing with a serious disease for years now, he’s still working just as hard as ever, and it shows all over the place. He told me he’d been working 20 hours a day; I told him he was exaggerating.

Located at 92 Pleasant St., Marlborough, it’s a little obscure so set your GPS! From Route 101, you take a right on Jewett Street if you’re coming from the west. You’ll go over a narrow, kind of sketchy looking concrete bridge, and go up, up, up. Two left turns later, you’ll know you’re there when you see a sandwich board sign pointing the way. It will feel kind of like you’re driving down someone’s long driveway, which you are. Then you’ll see the big Cheshire Floral Farm sign and gate along with greenhouses and home-spun structures to place and hang plants from. Hop out of the car and suddenly you’ll be amazed at the plant resources before you.

Bob’s having a sale on all of his annuals right now and he’s still got tons of hangers and mixed planters. I grabbed a nice big one with a dark purple wave petunia, some vinca vine and a pretty canna right in the center. He’s got a ton of herb plants on sale too. But let’s talk about his perennials. He’s got a TON of them.

When I asked him if he had any Agastache, he said did, in a nice shade of blue called Blue Boa. I had bought a six-pack of Agastache Golden Jubilee at Walker’s Farm over in Dummerston, Vt., and knew I wanted some more. I haven’t been happy with the performance of my Veronica (Speedwell) and I’d seen Agastache offered in White Flower Farm’s catalog so I’m hoping they’ll be more robust. Partner, Joe, had requested lupines so I got three of those (with the understanding that he’ll plant them).

Bob mentioned that he’d just potted a variety of Allium I hadn’t heard of. It’s called Medusa; I grabbed a pot of that along with a little Frosty fern that I’d admired somewhere else before. There are hundreds and hundreds of perennials at Cheshire Floral Farm. Bob likes to try different things and I always admire that.

They also offer cut flowers including snapdragons and cut-your-own herbs. There’s several huge pots of different varieties of mint to choose from, too, and what a smart way to keep it under control!

As I was checking out (I only spent $51 for all of that plant material!), I asked Bob for a little history. He and his wife, Jane, just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in June. Cheshire Floral Farm has been in business since 1979. They started the Route 101 location in 1984 and sold it in 2010. And I had thought that was the end! I missed 10 years of great plants from Bob! Anyhow, they’re open seven days a week from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. (thereabouts). He’ll be bringing in lots of fall ornamentals and you can bet they still offer top-notch Christmas greens for the holidays! Check their Facebook page for frequent updates and go visit this somewhat out-of-the-way treasure of a nursery. It’s really just a stone’s throw away!