Crystal from Gold Hill Plant Farm in Waverly, Alabama has some of the coolest plants we’ve seen. Her nursery of slipper orchids, goldfish plants, rabbit’s foot fern, string of pearls, inspired us to add more to our own plant collection. Here are a few pictures of the farm and examples of her great selection of unique plants.
Why did you pick the name Gold Hill Plant Farm? What’s the story behind that name?
About 25 years ago we moved to Gold Hill, a beautiful rural area with rolling hills and lots of trees, pastures, deer, and in recent years coyotes and armadillos. The Southern Railroad track crosses the highway and facing west the sign on the tracks says Gold Ridge. The story goes that when the train used to stop here the freight would get mixed up with that from Grove Hill, so the railroad tried to change the name, but it did not stick. Some think that way back there was an unproductive gold mine here, but I think the name derives from the red/gold color of the soil. When I thought about naming my plant business, the name Gold Hill had a good history, and is well known in the area as a beautiful and quiet place.
Gold Hill is a suburb of Waverly. The idea makes me smile, because both places are little more than communities, and not big ones at that. Waverly does have a Post Office, a restaurant (The Yellow Hammer), and a couple of businesses. One is quite famous. Standard Delux ships screen printed T-shirts all over the world. Locally, Waverly has the reputation of doing an admirable balancing act between the old timers and the new group of local artists.
What made you start growing your plants?
My love of plants started early as my family were farmers. Both grandmothers loved houseplants and my mother had potted plants and was interested in them till she died in her 90’s. I say I inherited my love of plants or else it was drilled into me at an early age. I guess it is true that one person’s treasure is another person’s weed. A plant is hardly worth growing if it does not require at least some care. I think this explains why many lovely native plants are largely ignored. It may explain why the preponderance of plants I grow are tropicals.
You carry a lot of tropicals and orchids. How can someone in a colder growing zone enjoy these plants?
I am continually trying out greenhouse plants to see if they can make it outdoors in my zone 8 garden. Almost everybody can devote a little space on a window sill or by a glass door to grow a plant or two and plants pull more than their weight in decorating and cheerfulness. A rosary vine is an uncommon and easy to care for plant that anyone can grow. Rex begonias are also stunning , but do require a little more care than a rosary vine. A pencil plant can become an indoor shrub fairly quickly, and is also a departure from the ordinary houseplant.
When we saw your first plant, the Night Blooming Cereus, we knew Gold Hill would be special. Tell us more about having a party to celebrate them.
I frequently call friends to come over when my night cereus is going to bloom. I can tell because the flowers turn up with a crook in the blossom the day they will bloom that night. I have had amateur photographers come and friends who are interested in plants or who want someplace to go for an evening. We sit on the porch and listen to the crickets and cicadas and revel in creation and our place in it. I have a blog where I write about plants and also occasionally throw in some personal philosophy and reminisces.