A sure sign of spring is the reopening of Williams Nursery for the season. I swear I could spend all day roaming its greenhouses, awestruck by the beauty of thousands of flowers in bloom.
Did you know that Williams Nursery dates back all the way to 1920, when it was started as Williams Floral Farm by Royalston Williams? The nursery has thrived through multiple generations, and is now helmed by Royalston’s great-grandson David Williams along with several members of his family.
Today’s Williams Nursery offers a complete selection of shrubs, trees, perennials, annuals, herbs, and vegetables. Right now you’ll find gorgeous Easter lilies and the area’s largest selection of pansies, including unique varieties with frilly edges. If you’re like me and have a black thumb, fret not! The staff is perennially (pun intended!) friendly and knowledgeable about all things horticulture.
What makes Williams stand out among other nurseries is its commitment to offering uncommon plants that are new and exciting. According to David: “I will travel to trial gardens around the country to personally see how the new is growing before bringing it into our store. One of the coolest plants that we will have this season is ketchup and fries, a new plant that is a tomato and potato grafted together as one plant. Very cool.”
If you’re a lover of butterflies, David and his staff can direct you toward perennials that will attract butterflies. And if you love hydrangeas as much as I do, Williams sells newer varieties that flower from May straight through to the first frost.
Williams holds special events throughout the year, including an annual Halloween costume contest and the town’s biggest Easter egg hunt. In the fall, the great lawns become something of a harvest festival, with a giant pumpkin patch and weekend hayrides, pony rides, corn maze, and other games. This May they will host an organic gardening seminar, and in June you can attend a cooking-with-fresh-herbs demonstration (dates to be determined–follow Williams on Facebook for info).
Don’t forget to visit their great gift shop as well. Aptly named The Gift House, the shop has everything from jewelry to candles to garden-themed housewares — heck, I even bought my mother-in-law a pretty little purse at Christmas — and the prices are more reasonable than you’d expect. You’ll also find local jams and honeys and so much more in the main garden house.
Williams Nursery is located at 524 Springfield Ave. in Westfield. They’re open 7 days a week from 9-5 and sometimes later. Visit their website at http://www.williamsnursery.com/home