Who We Are and What We've Done
Deer Country Gardens is an offshoot of Hidden Hills Nursery, located in rural Millstone Township, New Jersey. Hidden Hills was started in 1996 by Anne and John Haines.
We're both New Jersey natives- Anne grew up in Red Bank and John in Kingston. Anne went to Cook College (now SEBS) at Rutgers and got a BS in Horticulture in Plant Science. She wanted to be a tropical fruit breeder until she took genetics! From there she went to the University of Florida in Gainesville, where she somehow obtained a Masters degree in Entomology (studying spiders that eat cockroaches!) After grad school she came back to New Jersey and got a job as the "bug lady" at Princeton Nurseries (at that time the largest wholesale nursery on the East Coast) in Kingston NJ, where John had grown up and worked as a mechanic and tractor-trailer driver.
We left Princeton to start a family and sold horticultural books as The Book Tree for 10 years while our 3 boys were little. After the superstores and internet came along, John went into a new career in Public Works and Anne worked at Mapleton Nurseries in Kingston NJ, a wholesale nursery started by our former boss at Princeton, Bill Flemer IV. From there, Anne went to RareFind Nursery, a specialty nursery owned by Hank Schannen in Jackson NJ, where she worked for 9 years. Her favorite plants were lilacs, antique roses and hydrangeas, only one of which is deer-resistant!
Back in those days, deer weren't so bad- we could grow hostas out in the middle of a field and they were left untouched. Since then, deer have become much more numerous and hungrier. The idea to specialize in deer-resistant plants has been floating around for a long time, finally crystallizing when a customer asked where he could buy plants of rose campion, Lychnis coronaria, a "common" plant you almost never see in a nursery. (It's in production and we'll have them for sale in early summer.)
So here we are! Cheers! Prost! Salud! 乾杯! [干杯!] (gān bēi) l'chaim