From the nursery’s beginning, Patrick tracked down incredible stock. With time, Judy was able to take advantage of her husband’s expertise to fill their own garden. That’s how she snagged seven identical ‘Sargent’ crabapples all grafted to branch at exactly eight feet. She planted them around the farmhouse to join together and form a natural awning over the south-facing windows. In spring when the crabapples burst into swags of lacy white flowers over the windows, the scene stops traffic.
Judy is the consummate colorist. Each area of the property expresses a journey through the spectrum. Whether she’s exploring white, red, peach, or a combination of hues, Judy plays tonal and textural counterpoints. In her own space, she can play. “For clients, I generally conceive of the whole property at once. Here, I can allow the big picture to evolve.” Still, the farm ambiance stands firm and steadfast, informing the motif. “The old farm refuses to feel predictable or controlled,” she says.
Old Farm Nursery is now so laced in fruit-blossom, tulip, and lily-laden loveliness that nobody would ever imagine that the scene was once verging on derelict. What was initially nothing but a fixer-upper now has striking drama. Wisteria mounts the silo while sumptuous tulips, irises, poppies, and peonies bristle beside beds of vegetables. Each garden has a dream-like quality, but it also merges into the next garden with a hide-and-seek allure. The barn is bowered in gardens and now serves as a display area for an inventory of garden antiques and statuary from around the world. The old farmhouse and its surroundings have come a long way from their downtrodden days. Under the Murphys’ wing and with a nursery nurturing the site, this is stewardship with a purpose.