How It All Began
Hill House Farm & Nursery officially started when we purchased a used greenhouse from Long Mountain Nursery after they closed and retired from raising azaleas. This much-used and well-loved structure—a good 30+ years old—is the backbone of our operation, part of it heated, all of it filled.
We believe that Long Mountain’s years of successful operation bodes as a good omen for us as we continue to use this greenhouse for propagating and growing our native plants!
Our home and our nursery are nestled at the southern base of Bessie Bell Mountain in beautiful, bucolic Rappahannock County, Virginia. We walk out our back door and up the hill to the Nursery, accompanied by our Border Collie, Kit, and Wire-haired Daschound, Toro. Sometimes we hear wild turkey calling, or see a barred owl swoop across the field. In the warm months, butterflies are “roosting” on plants in the greenhouse, sluggish in the cool morning air.
In addition to raising plants, we have raised our daughter here on the farm. Although now grown-up since the photo below, she continues to remind us of what’s most important in life--family, friends, community and our natural world. Her passion and choices to preserve our environment is still the best reason to grow native plants!
Janet Davis is the primary operator of Hill House Farm & Nursery. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Horticulture from Virginia Tech and has spent the last 28 years working in various horticultural pursuits—from apple orchards to greenhouses—all the while spending as much time as possible hiking in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Her time spent in “the woods” fostered her passion for our native flora and plant communities, and spurred her desire to learn more about native plants.
Janet has operated a landscape design-install-care business for the past 25 years, and focuses on incorporating native plants into garden settings and “managed” areas while employing sustainable garden techniques. After starting a family and desiring to be at home more, Janet started her greenhouse/nursery business, Hill House Farm & Nursery, which grows and sells only native plants, primarily natives and select cultivars that occur naturally in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Janet divides her time between her vocation and her avocation—raising both native plants and her 16-year old daughter—and lives with her husband and daughter in Rappahannock County, VA, just east of Shenandoah National Park.Her husband, Rob, is also an avid gardener, a cabinet-maker and woodworker, and he keeps everything running smoothly and standing tall. Janet refers to him fondly as "Mr. Infrastructure."
Our gardens, like our lives, are on a journey—they evolve, change and grow just as we do. Before, we were satisfied to fill our gardens with any plant that had a certain aesthetic quality, keeping our landscape tidy and overly maintained. Somewhere along the way, we discovered a connection between the native plants in our gardens and an increasing abundance of life—more butterflies, hummingbirds and other delightful critters. Now, we know that native plants offer more than just a “pretty face”; they support a whole ecosystem around us—a habitat diversity unmatched by the exotic plants that previously filled our garden.
For us, this discovery is a sort of spiritual awakening as we connect more and more to the natural world around us. So we continue to create beautiful gardens, filling them with native plants, simultaneously allowing wilder spaces in our landscape. We work to control the exotic invasive plants that are threatening our wild spaces. And we continue to learn more.
And so it goes that cultivating native plants is both avocation and vocation for us as we become better stewards of our land.
We invite you to join us on the journey towards creating more ecological and sustainable landscapes!
We are dedicated to growing high-quality native plants for gardens, landscape restoration projects and habitat creation.
The plants we offer are chosen for their aesthetic qualities, their durability, their vigor, and their wildlife benefits. We sell only our own nursery-grown plants that come from seed or division, or are propagated vegetatively—never wild-collected.
Our goal is to help our customers create harmonious gardens and diversity-rich landscapes, and to preserve and restore our natural ecosystems by doing so.