This is bar-none my all-time favorite nursery. It is not the cheapest. It is definitely the longest drive for me (Middleton to rural Stoughton). However, it has an incredible ambiance, the largest selection of plants and always really healthy specimens.
First let me encourage you to go. The Flower Factory, 4062 County Road A, Stoughton (WI). But before you get in the car let me tell you about my first experience and maybe a few others.
Did I mention the long drive? So I’m to the point that I’m beginning to alternately chant, “Am I there yet?” and “Where the heck am I?” when my Garmin heads me down a very rural, twisted road. Then it starts announcing “You have reached your destination.” I didn’t see a sign, greenhouses, parking lot, business… nothing. So in just 60 seconds, the Garmin announces “Recalculating, recalculating, recalculating.” Obviously I had driven by The Flower Factory. I won’t embarrass myself by telling you how many times I had to be recalculated before I noticed the old farmhouse with tall bushes around a dirt driveway.
Once you pull past the shrubbery there is a beautiful Allium bed with huge purple heads that will make you drool with envy. And then you can see row after row of greenhouses interspersed with tables, benches and roped off areas filled with plants. Follow the driveway up to the gravel parking lot (it’s bigger than it looks).
Then get your red wagon. Yes, I said red wagon. No shopping carts or loading beds. Fun little red wagons.
The next part can be daunting. The Flower Factory arranges all of their plants by variety using the correct Latin names. So if you don’t know that Achillea is Yarrow it might be tough. Descriptions of common names, colors, heights, bloom time, etc. might be indicated but not always.
This is not a nursery for the light-weight. The gardeners have not “forced” the plants with heavy fertilizer and lights, so you may not see any blossoms to give a hint of what is to come. They don’t have showy presentations of pre-planted baskets or pots. You have to do your homework and be prepared.
After my first visit I learned my lesson. If you email them, The Flower Factory will send you their catalog (for free). It has no photos or pretty pictures. But it does give you detail about each of the plants you might be interested in. Using the catalog, I Google any plant I’m interested in to see photos, recommendations and problems. Then I highlight my catalog, fold corners and add post-it note page markers with comments. OK, I’m a bit OCD.
The Flower Factory has quantity, quality and diversity. As an example they have 271 different kinds of hostas. Me, I’m more of a daylily person, and they have 188 different varieties. Last year I got several dwarf (12-15 inch high) daylilies in shades of rose, red and purple – Cranberry Baby was particularly beautiful.
So as you pass the day making your selections, admiring the various gardens and maybe catching a glimpse of the train… a new challenge emerges. Just how many plants can you balance in one red wagon? If you rearrange and put sturdier plants on the bottom how deep can you stack? I’m like a kid in a candy shop at The Flower Factor, so this is a good thing. At some point the wagon is too heavy to round the corners without tipping something off, which means I have to stop and go home.
It is a great place. I can’t recommend it enough!