June 10, 2020

Baumley Nursery, Landscaping & Garden Center Offers Full Range of Plants, Trees, and Shrubs

SPRING SPLENDOR: “We have quality products, and customers know our reputation and that they can count on us for helpful and knowledgeable service. We look forward to helping people grow their gardens.” Jeff Baumley, owner of Baumley Nursery, Landscaping & Garden Center, is shown beside a variety of shade-loving plants.

By Jean Stratton

“The flowers appear on the earth;
The time of the singing of the birds is come;”

—Song of Solomon

Indeed, in the midst of this season “of our discontent,” the flowers are here, and the birds and pollinators are helping to ensure that more blossoms will thrive and continue to provide beauty to the land.

And this is always important at Baumley Nursery, Landscaping & Garden Center. For more than 30 years, owner Jeff Baumley has been helping customers take home the right plants for the right space, and encouraging homeowners to learn about the proper care and maintenance of their new acquisitions.

Any visit to the Garden Center at 4339 Route 27, just past Kingston, is time well spent, both to appreciate the splendid display of flowers and plants in all colors and sizes, and to meander along attractive brick pathways, and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere.

Customers also appreciate the convenient arrangement and identification of the products, including helpful explanatory information. 

Vegetables and Herbs

The season has gotten off to a very busy start, reports Baumley. “The pandemic has made a big difference this year. People really want to get out and plant their gardens, and they want sustainability — planting things they can eat.”

“We started getting very busy in March,” he continues. “Customers wanted the cold crops you can plant early — lettuce, cabbage, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts — and also, pansies can be planted then.

“It’s like the World War II Victory Gardens when people planted things they could eat, and they are continuing to get lots of vegetables and herbs. And now they can plant tomatoes, which are very popular, both cherry and heirloom. We also have a very large selection of herbs, including basil, tarragon, dill, cilantro, thyme, rosemary, etc.”

In addition to herbs and vegetables, the flowers are a big attraction now. Both annuals and perennials, in all their variety and myriad color schemes, are in demand.

“I hand-pick all the flowers,” points out Baumley, who is a graduate of Cook College, Rutgers University, with a B.S. in plant science and ornamental horticulture and an M.S. in weed science. “I dedicate entire days to hand-picking all the flowers, and I also grow my own trees and shrubs. I know their history, and I know how they grow.”

It is his great pleasure to share this information with his customers, many of whom are from Princeton, and also who are long-standing, loyal regulars. They discovered Baumley’s years ago, and never stopped coming, he says. “We now have second generations in the same family, and they have all become friends. This is a great bond and connection.”

High Quality

One reason for such loyalty is the high quality of the plants. They are certainly among the finest in the area. Another is the engaging atmosphere of the Garden Center and the friendly, knowledgeable staff. Many staff members have been at Baumley’s for more than 20 years. As Baumley explains, “As an owner, I set my standards high, but it’s really about having loyal, dedicated employees working together toward a common goal. Landscape supervisor Brian Baylis has been with me for 33 years, and garden center manager Mike Gessner for 22 years.” 

Gorgeous geraniums in red, pink, and white; impatiens; petunias; begonias; vincas; and marigolds in a medley of colors and varieties are among the popular annuals available in pots and flats.

“We also have a big selection of perennials,” says Baumley. “Coreopsis, sage, and lavenders are in demand, and plants like milkweed, butterfly weed, and  swamp milkweed attract butterflies. Hummingbirds like lantana, red cardinal, and hibiscus. They are especially drawn to red colors.”

Roses are traditionally among the most beautiful flowers, but they can also require diligent maintenance. Among Baumley’s large selection — 500 rose plants! — are some easier care varieties, which have become very popular. “Knockout Roses are easier to maintain, and also OSO Easy Roses are big sellers. In addition, we have special collector roses, such as David Austin Roses and Own-Root Roses, which are hardier.”

Deer Dining Habits

Deer and their dining habits relating to plants are an on-going problem in the area, adds Baumley. “One of the most often-asked questions is ‘what can we plant that deer don’t like?’ This is a hard situation, but we do recommend marigolds, lantana, pachysandra, and begonias, but sometimes, if they are hungry enough, they will even eat these. And they absolutely love hosta and tulips. Real favorites!”

There are various products to spray that will temporarily keep deer away from the plants.

In addition to the flowers, Baumley’s has an exceptionally large selection of trees of all kinds, including, flowering, fruit, and shade, and many unique and hard-to-find species. All the trees and shrubs are grown at his 19-acre farm, points out Baumley. The trees are kept wet with drip irrigation.

In addition, the farm features more than 40 bird houses which support a healthy bluebird population, and the birds help to provide pest control throughout the farm’s fields.

“We have such a variety of trees,” reports Baumley. “We have shade trees, including Princeton Elms, which were originally developed by Princeton Nurseries. Flowering trees, including cherry, pear, and dogwood, are very popular. We have 17 different types of dogwood, and also 20 varieties of red bud trees. Also available are unusual and special species like copper beech, Japanese stewartia, paperbark maple, and American holly, among others. I am so glad to have this product availability for customers.”

Landscaping is another important service Baumley’s offers, and a part of the business Jeff Baumley especially enjoys.

Proper Location

“With landscaping, we both design and install, and make sure the trees are put in the proper location, with consideration for exposure, drainage, and deer browsing. Also, it’s important to diversify, with different colors, and different kinds of plantings, including ground cover, shade trees, fruit trees, etc.

“We help the customer make the right decision, and then explain about maintenance, watering, and fertilization. For example, mulch is important — it helps keep the weeds down, and you should put in about two inches, but not too close to a tree, so roots are not smothered.

“The landscaping takes a lot of planning,” he continues. “It’s sequential with regard to when different plants bloom, different colors, etc. For instance, marigolds will last into the fall, coleus is a fall plant, and then of course, mums in September and October, and ornamental cabbage and kale which can last throughout the winter.”

Baumley’s also does selected hardscaping, including patios and walkways, with a special focus on bluestone.

In addition to all the plants and trees, a full selection of mulch, topsoil, and potting soil, and gardening tools, as well as pots and planters of all sizes and styles, is available.

Natural World

Baumley’s also now offers a selection of very nice nature-related greeting cards.

Jeff Baumley is very happy that his Garden Center is resonating so strongly with people this spring, pointing out that “one positive element of the pandemic is that it has influenced people to appreciate gardening and being outside. They are slowing down, taking time to notice things, taking walks, hearing the birds, and enjoying the natural world. It seems to be bringing them back to basics.”

He also observes that since they are traveling less, their own yards and landscapes have become more important. “We are getting many more calls for landscaping, as people want to enjoy their own outdoors. Looking at the garden makes people feel good. It’s a stress-reliever. All the colors, different plants and trees — it’s calming and enjoyable.

“And whole families come here — kids, parents, and grandparents. They enjoy choosing the plants together, and then the planting and watching the garden grow.”

Having a career that provides so much pleasure to others is a big part of Jeff Baumley’s own enjoyment. “I love it all: the plants, the people, helping them and giving them advice. When I get up in the morning, I can’t wait to hit the ground running. I have great satisfaction taking a little tree and growing it to a mature specimen. There is so much satisfaction in doing what I love and helping people to feel good.”

Baumley’s is open Monday through Saturday 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (609) 924-6767. Website: www.baumleynursery.com.