img_06316Rocky Dale Gardens dates back to 1981 when the original owners, Holly Weir and Bill Pollard moved to Vermont from Berkeley California where they had both worked at the Berkeley Horticultural Nursery. Throughout the next two decades, they built Rocky Dale Gardens into a destination nursery and display garden, specializing in unique conifers, trees, shrubs and perennials including a nice selection of alpines. The garden and nursery are situated in the schist outcrops and ledges that protrude from the base of South Mountain, just due north from Bristol village center. This leads to a northern exposure for much of the grounds creating many microclimates and protected areas. Here such plants as Sciadopitys (Umbrella Pine) have lived for years in what is generally categorized as a zone 4 location.

Rocky Dale Gardens was sold to Ed Burke in January of 2004. Ed moved to Vermont from Minnesota where he owns a landscape design/build firm- Phillips Garden established in 1985.

Ed has maintained Rocky Dale’s strong horticultural reputation and plant offerings and is in the process of renovating the 3-acre gardens.

Please click the LINKS in the upper right hand corner of this page to traverse through this blog and enjoy watching the garden grow and visitors come and go. If you wish to join our mailing list to keep appraised of events and promotions, please fill in the form below and we’ll add you right away!

2 Responses to “Welcome- the beginning”

  1. Scott Mike Says:

    Thanks Ed for this Garden Blog. My Partner and I happened apon Rocky Dale maybe 10 years ago on one of our annual trips to VT. We fell in love with your nursery. It has become an annual event to head up to your nursery on the last weekend in May. We have many Rocky Dale offspring in our garden down here in New Bedford. Thanks for continuing the tradition of growing and carrying unusual plants and maintaining such great quality ! We have already planned this years trip and will see you at the end of May. Thanks again Scott Mike and Michael Tracey

  2. John & Amber Says:

    Hello Rockydale!

    Ahh, here we go again, spring in Vermont- which for us, means making the hour plus journey from Montpelier, through the Mad River Valley and up the winding road over Appalachian Gap to Rockydale. Once there, spring usually involves a debreifing with Amy to let her know what has survived and what has failed. We live in a genuine zone 4. It hit 28 below last winter and this past January we hit 31 below. It appears that Parrotia Persica (not dead yet) and Acer Japonicum (not dead yet) do not like it here. both have significant die back, but are not completely goners.

    Our greatest successes so far have been Magnolia x “Elizabeth” and Stewartia Pseudocamillia. They have both survived at least three nasty winters and are looking great this spring. We’e had a lot of Magnolia misery- butterflies (twice) dead as a doornail and coral lake, dead as a doornail. sheltered, east side of the house winners are viburnum “shasta” and chamecyparis “crippsi”

    We have a love/hate (mostly love, just a little good natured envy based hate) relationship with Rockydale. We love the beautiful gardens and the plants available, we hate the fact that we can’t grow everything in our own location.

    we look forward to seeing you all soon!


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