Summer is in full bloom at Billings Farm & Museum in Woodstock, Vermont, where travelers can be enveloped by a cascade of blooms in all shapes, sizes, and colors in the Sunflower House throughout the month of August, or meander through the new Billings Farmstead Gardens.
The Sunflower House at Billings Farm & Museum, a 20,000-square-foot floral labyrinth with more than 100 varieties of sunflowers, will open to guests on July 30. Peak blooms are expected in mid-August through early September. The Instagram-worthy must-see is created and maintained by Benjamin Pauly, Creative Director of Landscape and Design at Billings Farm & Museum’s partner organization, the Woodstock Inn & Resort. Pauly has merged his passion for landscape design and a degree in architecture to create the largest congregation of sunflowers in the United States.
Ranging in size from 18 inches to 14 feet, the sunflowers are planted in a maze-like structure, outlining rooms and hallways, and nearly endless photo opportunities for the #VTSunflowerHouse Instagram Challenge; visitors who post a photo using this hashtag will be entered to win Billings Farm cheese. For more information, visit https://billingsfarm.org/sunflower-house-and-billings-farmstead-gardens/.
Sunflower Sunday on August 21, 9AM – 9:45AM, check in begins at 8:45AM
Billings Farm & Museum would like to invite the community to enjoy a quiet, mindful morning experience as the Sunflower House reaches full bloom. Sunflower Sunday begins with breathing exercises to ground and center guests, followed by light stretching, and yoga-inspired movement. A mindful stroll among the blooms and a seated meditation will culminate this reflective moment. Complimentary herbal tea will be served after the class. This event is free to all. Please register online in advance to reserve your space. Visit billingsfarm.org/events/sunflower-sunday-2/
Roundup for Ukraine in August
As guests take in the beauty of the Sunflower House, Billings Farm & Museum also asks them to take a moment to reflect on the people of Ukraine as they fight for sovereignty. The sunflower is not only the national Ukrainian flower but also signifies happiness, optimism, and peace. To help show support, Billings Farm will donate 100% in round up contributions from all sales during the month of August to the World Central Kitchen for their work to help feed Ukrainians who have fled their homes.
New Billings Farmstead Gardens
The Billings Farmstead Gardens, also designed by Pauly, features five distinct gardens, including the Heirloom Garden, Permaculture Garden, Chef’s Garden, which includes the Victory and Pizza Gardens, Pollinator Garden, and Herb Garden. The five gardens form one cohesive space with pathways, arches, trellises, and tunnels along with self-guided educational signage throughout.
The Heirloom Garden features produce grown in 1890s Vermont, including heirloom plants selected from an 1886 Billings Farm seed order, such as Bull Noes Peppers, Bear Paw Popcorn, and Tall Telephone Peas. The Permaculture Garden is a low maintenance garden that mimics the balance and beneficial relationships found in nature through perennial plantings, and includes asparagus, blueberries, elderberries, and more. The Chef’s Garden serves as inspiration for visitors who wish to start their own gardens and includes the Pizza Garden, with wheat, tomatoes, and basil, that features fresh ingredients to make pizza at home, and the Victory Garden, a WWII necessity to promote gardening at home, consists of sweet corn, lettuce, onions, and more. The Pollinator Garden promotes pollinators as well as other insects critical to the health of plant life, including bee balm, milkweed, and honeysuckle. The Herb Garden is planted with herbs for cooking, tea, and medicinal use.
Billings Farm & Museum incorporates weekly themes into daily offerings through July and August to expand education and enjoyment of the beauty and breadth of the farm experience.
- Billings Farm & Museum hosts Mindful Mondays for guests interested in meditative experiences. The focus is on wellness through rejuvenating programs or a stroll through the gardens, Sunflower House, and around the farm. Guests can sip on herbal tea and breathe in the serenity of the farm.
- Time Travel Tuesdays demonstrate 19th century pastimes with games, artifact guessing and activities in the 1890 Farm Manager’s House and around the site. Interpreters dress in historic clothing from the 1890s.
- On Wagon Ride Wednesday, from 11AM – 3PM guests enjoy a wagon ride around the scenic farm.
- Thursday Threads is a celebration of fiber arts with demonstrations of textile-related crafts such as weaving, knitting, felting, or crocheting. Guests can create a take-home craft.
- Billings Farm is hosting Foodie Fridays in July and August, which features culinary demonstrations, and delicious recipes using seasonal ingredients from the Farmstead Gardens, including pesto, and ricotta cheese, made from Billings Farm milk.