O’ Christmas Tree

If Frances Hodgson Burnett was alive today, I’d love to get her impression of what’s known locally as Elmira’s own “secret garden.”

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Over on Southside at 824 Broadway, nestled up behind a Victorian house, you’ll find Chamberlain Acres Perennial Plant Nursery. Chamberlain is open year-round and has friendly and extremely knowledgeable owners in Glenn Miller and Charles Todd who’ll make you feel right at home.

Chamberlain sells beautiful plants, has gorgeous grounds to wander, and its shop is great for when you need a gift. What also makes them a community gem is that they frequently host unique activities and events, which are commonly announced on their Facebook page.

Last spring, they invited people to come in and make their own hanging basket. You’d choose your own flowers, they would help you plant them in your basket, and they’d grow them for you in their greenhouse until May, when you could pick your basket up just in time to give to Mom for Mother’s Day. (Or to brighten up your porch, which is what mine spent the summer doing.)

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This past fall, they hosted a “Ghouls in the Garden” event where families could come pick out pumpkins, gourds and mums with the help of “garden ghouls.” And those are just a couple examples of Chamberlain’s fun offerings.

Just recently, they also hosted a Boxwood Christmas Tree Class.

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With a fireplace going in the greenhouse, they walked my class through how to create our own trees before setting us loose on the boxwood branches. We mostly started from the bottom with the branches and worked our way up to create the shape of tree we each wanted.

I was a little worried about doing this at first:

As it turns out, though, boxwood is not only cute but super-resilient. Glenn was telling me that his lil’ boxwood lasted so long that he spray-painted it black for Halloween.

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Once you have your tree the way you’d like it (and the instructor was telling me that he’s never seen two trees come out the same shape), there were all sorts of decorations to choose from, including little strands of lights (that you could actually plug in or were battery-operated), ornaments, beads, ribbons, berries and more.

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So keep an eye on happenings at Elmira’s “oasis” for some truly one-of-a-kind experiences!

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Chamberlain Acres Perennial Plant Nursery
824 Broadway, Elmira, NY 14904
(607) 737-1313
www.chamberlainacres.com