On June 26, the Mountain Laurel Garden Club will host its 20th Country Gardens Tour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The tour includes two farm gardens and one town garden in the Accident area of northern Garrett County. “Cove Pastures
,” one of the featured gardens, is a four-acre flower farm owned by Trish and Chester Yoder.
Trish Yoder uses her blooms in her floral and event design business, Petal Branch. Cove Pastures also features a cidery. The Yoders will offer tasting of their artisan hard ciders from their Branch Bender Cidery for an additional $5 fee. In the spacious open-sided building where cider is served, MLGC members will explain and show how to incorporate flowers into decorative rustic table settings. The demonstrations will take place at 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m.
The Yoders started their flower farm three years ago, beginning with raising 250 mums in the corner of a pasture for a dairy herd. “My mother Fannie Bender inspired my love of flowers, and I enjoyed arranging them and using them as decorations since I was a girl,” Trish Yoder said. “Farms that date to the mid-1800s are found in the Cove, including the one where we now live that was one of several owned by my parents.”
To create the flower farm, the Yoders needed to refurbish the field as it was a pasture for dairy cows for over 50 years. There were many rocks, and some areas of the field were very hard and covered with cow paths. They amended the land with soil and used a rototiller to till approximately 30 rows and plots for their flowers.
As most flower farmers do, they are incorporating all types of cutting flower perennials and annuals. Each year, they’ve added new varieties and color schemes. One of Trish Yoder’s favorite plants is their collection of 250 peonies that spans the color wheel and various varieties. She also loves the white hydrangeas that were given to her by fellow gardener Joanne Durst a number of years ago. She has multiple transplants from the five plants that Joanne originally provided, and they are now growing in many locations around the Yoder property. Another new plant that they are growing is eucalyptus. It is used in wedding designs and grows in Garrett County as an annual.
The Yoders’ favorite spot in the flower field is at the top of field. The view is spectacular and at the right times, the butterflies, bees, and fireflies create their own ballets. For Trish Yoder, a highlight every day is seeing how the flowers produce, and she enjoys the fact that the more they are cut, the more they grow.
“At the end of the flower season last year, it looked like I had never used any flowers — the plants just kept renewing and regenerating,” she said. “They are like ‘my people’ and I tend to their individual traits and growth.”
The cost of a ticket for the tour is $10, which includes a short description of each garden. Tickets may be purchased in advance at Arrowhead Market, Firefly Farms Market and Creamery, Green Acres Garden Center, Gregg’s Pharmacy, Mosser Meadow Nurseries, and from club members. Club members also will sell tour tickets at the Mountain Fresh Farmers Market in downtown Oakland on Saturday, June 19. Tickets also may be purchased at each of the gardens on the day of the tour.