I grew up in Tolland, CT and have wonderful memories visiting Caprilands Herb Farm during the 1970's & 1980's. My sister and I were in that area this past weekend for a highschool reunion and drove over there to visit. We had found a blog posting from 2008 indicating that it was still in operation.
The sign in the parking lot said they were open, but the house and barns were in a state of disrepair and no one was around. The gardens were highly overgrown, and although there were signs of farm vehicles on the grounds, nothing was tended to and the place was clearly closed.
I hope that some day Caprilands can be restored to it's magical past, as it really was a very special place, as others have posted here.
But for now, anyone interested should know that they are CLOSED!!
Ms. Simmons passing was indeed terrible for the farm. The onset of legal issues concerning the conservatorship has probably also taken its toll as well. I was there in fact the summer before she passed on as well as throughout the fall and actually had visited for her funeral. The farm was not that bad at all. The employees were as they always were; friendly and educating. I had visited there many times since then to find this was not the farm it had been even in the year she passed on. I know her children were involved to some extent with a fair regard for the one daughter and wonder if she is involved again? If not maybe she could be? I know that the relationship between Mr. Cook and her must be stressed however in regards to the farm and its current condition she might be needed as well as some of the old employees like Tina. I know this farm to be enchanting... almost bewitching, to say the least. When last visited one must know this is not the farm with the reputation of what we all remember. Insofar as the farms comments back onto the web site here... The farm was not that bad before her passing, Danielson could be the length of an hour and half due to two very different routes taken. One from Mass. the other route 6. Please stop making excuses for the farms lack of organization and get the dirt flying!! Stop battering the old herbal customers that have sat with Adelma and made pomerander balls while it snowed and start figuring out how to put every cent that you make back into bringing this farm back to where it was even to the year she passed because even just that would be an improvement. Find the old employees, find Adelma's old herbals, get some lecturers into the green house, serve some tea and make this a great year for Adelma's sake. I know you can do this Mr. Cook.
On Dec 23, 2007, gardengirlygirl West Chester, PA wrote:
I read Shatioya and Richard De La Tour's book, "The Herbalist's Garden" in which there is a chapter on the late Adelma Simmons and Caprilands. I wanted to find out more and went online and was directed to a number of links of which this site was one.
In support for the renewal and rejuvenation of the gardens I think the comment in an earlier post in regard to setting up some type of volunteer program is a great idea. I have been a volunteer for a non-profit called the Brandywine Conservancy Wildflower Gardens (http://www.brandywinemuseum.org/gardens.html) which is geared to native plants but the principles can be used in similar programs. At the Conservancy the maintenance of the gardens is largely stewarded by volunteers. For 2 mornings a week volunteers gather to work alongside one another in 3 main areas of the program: Propagation, Seed Collection/Packaging/Labeling thirdly working as Gardeners who are assigned specific areas of the garden and work within alongside of a small group of others for common weekly written goals in that area. At times the whole garden team may get together to work in one part of the garden that needs extra hands depending on the time of the season and the needs of the Conservancy. There is also an annual spring plant sale which is very popular with the public and so volunteers help pot up plugs of plants earlier in the spring and also help set up the plant tables on the day of the sale.
Prior to volunteering an interview is arranged in which prospective volunteers are met with and a talk about their interests, experience and goals in regard to being a volunteer are determined and considered within the framework and needs of the organization.
In return for their commitment of time and energy volunteers make new friends as they garner a sense of camaraderie while woking together and learning more about their chosen areas of interest. They are guided by the expertise of the Horticultural Volunteer Coordinator who has known the gardens intimately over a long period of time as well as one full time gardener who also helps manage and guide the activities of the volunteer program. After the spring plant sale a yearly potluck luncheon is held at the either the Horticultural Coordinator's or the Full time gardener's home and a informal tour of the gardens precedes the meal. There may also be a trip to other prominant gardens for the volunteers to enjoy as well as a mid-winter lecture on interesting and/or ongoing developments in regard to native plants. Volunteer appreciation luncheons are held throughout the year as well.
It is a great way for both the organization as well as the volunteers to meet their individual and overall goals while furthering each's sense of helping to promote the larger vision of the Consvancy. Many of the volunteers have been long term and take great satisfaction of being part of the program as evidenced by their years of service.
I am sure something similar could be visioned and created by Caprilands and that there would be sufficient interest on peoples part to get involved to be a part of the revitalization of the wonderful legacy that Adelma Simmons left - it may start small but as word got out it would have the potential to take off and be a success. Good luck and I hope to come up to Caprilands someday and see the gardens at their peak!
On December 23rd, 2007, gardengirlygirl added the following:
I hasten to add program volunteers meet one morning a week either on a Tuesday or Thursday. Of course if time and interest is there, volunteers are always welcome to come both days as their schedule allows.
Another possibility would be internships where people come and learn in different areas of the program in exchange for their time and energy.