University of Vermont

Discover one ofVermont's Largest Collections of Ornamental Plants

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The University of Vermont Horticulture Research Center

aerial view of UVM Hort. FarmThe University of Vermont Horticulture Research Center, also known as the "Hort Farm," is home for many trees, shrubs, perennials, apples and small fruit.  More than 700 kinds of ornamental trees and shrubs, many of them uncommon or unique, are planted at the Hort. Farm.  One of the largest known mature ornamental crabapple collections in the Northeast is located here.

Purchased in the early 1950s, the 97-acre Hort. Farm is used for agricultural research and instruction of UVM classes, and by professional plant organizations and gardening groups.  For over 50 years, University horticulturists have been testing new and unusual plants for their adaptation to the Vermont environment, especially to our cold winters.

The Hort. Farm is generally open to visitors Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and for special events (closed on holidays, some weekdays during growing season, AND from Labor Day through early November during apple harvest).  (directions) The phone number is (802) 658-9166.   You are asked to sign in at the Blasberg Building before beginning your tour of the property.  There is a "Woodland Walk" which is a self-guided tour that describes the collections in detail. 

For information about the Hort. Farm, contact Terry Bradshaw,  at or call (802) 658-9166.  For information about workshops or special events, contact The Friends of the Horticulture Farm at (802) 864-3073.

Special Collections and Points of Interest:

picking apples
- Apples - Ongoing research is being conducted on organic and IPM apple production systems.

-Grapes - A trial vineyard assessing cold-hardy wine and table grape varieties and best production methods was established in 2007.

-  Common Ground Student-Run Educational Farm This CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm, started in 1994, is organized and run by UVM students, with the guidance of faculty & staff advisors.   The club consists of committed and interested students, working together toward common goals including the following: To provide students with hands-on education in growing vegetables, small fruits, herbs and flowers on a commercial scale, including culture, harvest, crop scheduling, management and distribution issues; To create a positive link between UVM and the greater Burlington Community, through donation of 50% of produce to local emergency food providers, such as the Chittenden County Emergency Food Shelf and the Burlington Salvation Army; and to acknowledge aid from UVM supporters through the provision of fresh, nutritious and delicious vegetables to shareholders.  The student farm is comprised of 3 acres at the Horticulture Research Center.Hal Bill pointing out one of the plants in the Cary Garden

- Cary Award Garden -  Created during the summer of 2000, it is a collection of ornamental trees, shrubs, groundcovers and vines that are noted as outstanding plants for use in landscapes in Vermont.  The garden was developed from matching grants received from the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation - Urban and Community Forestry Program and The Friends of the Horticulture Farm.  The Hort. Farm’s garden of Cary Award winning plants is the only collection of its kind in New England. 

- Crabapple Collection - The crabapple collection of over 120 different kinds of mature crabapple trees is one of the largest in the Northeast. A special open house is held in May when the crabapples are in bloom. In autumn, crabapples have colorful foliage and showy fruit. 
- Lilac Collection - The lilac collection includes 90 kinds of lilacs ranging from 3 feet to 15 feet in height, and having a multitude of colors. Most of the lilacs are in bloom in late May. 

- Other Woody Plant Collections - Rhododendrons, elms, chestnuts, conifers, viburnums and many other kinds of trees and shrubs are represented in the plant collections. 

- Perennials - A display border of a large number of labeled perennial plants useful in Vermont gardens is located near the parking area. Research on perennials has included cut flower studies, hardiness trials and disease control of mildew on phlox. Asters and solidago (goldenrod) are being evaluated for their characteristics, hardiness and potential uses. 

- Natural Areas - The woodlands, meadows, ponds and orchards offer a diverse habitat for wildlife. The Hort. Farm is a favorite stopover for migrating birds

- Bat House Raising (October 2006)

hoisting bat house into vertical position

On October 22, a group of about 14 "Friends" of the University of Vermont Horticulture Farm gathered to put their muscles to raising a 4 foot by 4 foot bat house on the Horticulture Farm property - not an insignificant task given the size of the house and the height at which it needs to be positioned.

Here are the vital statistics on the new bat house:
• The house itself is 4 feet wide and 4 feet tall.
• There are 9 roosting chambers within, with access holes leading from one chamber to the next.
• The maximum capacity of the house is believed to be about 2,000 bats once it is "discovered" (usually within a year of installation).
• The interior partitions are 1/2" AC (exterior grade) plywood and are painted black.
• Each roosting chamber is 3/4" wide.
• All exterior materials are Western Red Cedar painted black.
• The roof is covered with a shingle for added protection.
• All exterior joints are caulked to keep the interior dry.
• The house is mounted on 6" x 6" x 10 foot pressure treated posts set in 4 feet of concrete. The bat house is attached to 4" x 6" x 16 foot pressure treated poles which are bolted to these footings. When bats exit the bottom of the house each night to go hunting, they need to swoop down before beginning their flight. The height of the house ensures their protection from foxes, housecats and other predators lurking below looking for a tasty meal.
• A nearly identical bat house was erected at the Inn at Shelburne Farms in 2001 and has been occupied by bats since 2 weeks after it was put up.

Next time you're in the area, stop by the Horticulture Farm on Green Mountain Drive in South Burlington and see the new bat residence - it's a pretty interesting sight. If you'd like more information on how you can attract bats to your own backyard, contact South Burlington's Barry Genzlinger at He's a great spokesperson for these often little-understood creatures.

UVM's /the view/ highlights the UVM Horticulture Research Center and The Friends of the Horticulture Farm.

Last modified July 29 2011 07:31 AM

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