Beginning Thursday, August 6th, Billings Farm & Museum’s second annual Sunflower House will be open for visitors to explore and bask in the beauty of this garden. Thousands of sunflowers and over 50 different varieties ranging from 18 inches to 14 feet in height form the rooms and hallways in a maze-like structure. This year’s design is a one-way flow that allows for social distancing and safe enjoyment. In addition to its beauty, the Sunflower House serves as a food source for birds, bees and butterflies.
Beginning August 15, play our “What’s Blooming?!” game using a guide to the sunflowers provided by Billings Farm. Enter the Sunflower House Instagram Challenge by posting your best Sunflower House photos and tagging @billingsfarm for a chance to win Billings Farm’s cheeses.
The Sunflower House is expected to be in full bloom mid-August until mid-September.
Seasonal gardening programs take place in and around the Garden Shed. Learn about the herbs, heirloom vegetables, and apples grown here and how they were preserved to last the winter. Enjoy Herbal Tea Happy Hours or just lounging on our shaded Garden Shed porch.
Billings Farm maintains a typical 1890 kitchen garden as the daughters of Frederick Billings did. Learn what was planted and what heirloom crops were grown.
During WWI & WWII, food became scarce in the United States. With much of the population overseas fighting, few workers remained to care for the country’s farms. To solve this problem, the government encouraged citizens to plant “Victory Gardens” in their own backyards and in public places like parks and schools. By growing their own food, people took pressure off farms and the canning industry, whose metal went to support the war effort. By the end of WWI, over five million Victory Gardens existed in the U.S. During WWII that number rose to 18 million. Victory Gardens proved so successful that at one time they produced about 1/3 of the vegetables in this country.
At Billings Farm, when many of the laborers went to war, the “Woman’s Land Army of Vermont” sent volunteers to work the farm. These “farmerettes” helped keep Billings Farm running during WWI. During WWII, the farm offered over 3 acres of land for people to plant their own Victory Gardens. Locals harvested food from over 40 plots on the farm.
Historic gardens of WWI (farmerettes) and WWII (Victory Gardens) are recreated in this area of our heirloom gardens. You can observe the growing cycle of victory garden favorites. We will be growing: Sweet corn, lettuce, russet potatoes, onion, cucumbers, carrots, summer squash, green beans, parsnip, melons, cauliflower, kale, spinach, radishes, peas, beets, eggplant, okra, kohlrabi, swiss chard, pole beans, and broccoli.
Learn about the importance of pollinators—butterflies (Monarchs), bees, and hummingbirds.
See how you can build a bee houses, hummingbird feeders, Damp salt lick for butterflies and bees. Learn to grow pollinator friendly plants like: bee balm, milkweed, butterfly bush, butterfly weed, oregano, borage, lavender, broccoli, fennel, nasturtium, honeysuckle, coral bells, mealy cup sage, and larkspur.
Did you know you can find everything you need to make a pizza on a farm? The plants in this garden are all ingredients for the perfect pie. Wheat gets ground into flour for the crust, tomatoes become sauce, and herbs and veggies make for tasty toppings. Beyond the garden, see the fields of hay which feeds our cows. Their milk becomes delicious cheese—great for a pizza! We will be growing wheat, tomatoes, oregano, basil, savory, bell peppers, onion, garlic (planted in the fall).