Mother Earth Living

Herbal Travels: Well-Sweep Herb Farm

You can check out the Lemon Verbena Lady at her blog

The Herbal Husband and I took a road trip down east of Pittsburgh. I dropped him off at his favorite toy show in Allentown and I headed east to Port Murray, New Jersey and Well-Sweep Herb Farm. Cyrus and Louise Hyde began their herbal adventure 41 years ago in the beautiful mountainous area of Warren County, New Jersey. Cy is a passionate collector of herbs and his passion shines through at Well-Sweep.

The Well-Sweep Herb Farm gets its name from an old faming impement.
Photo by Nancy Heraud

The farm gets its name from the well-sweep, which is an old farming implement. In the old days, a family depended on hand-drawn well water to fill its drinking and bathing needs. A tall, sturdy tree is used as the base of a well-sweep. It must be y-shaped at one end. A second longer tree, the “sweep,” is placed in the “y” of the base at an angle to the well, forming a lever. By using the sweep, even children could help with the water-fetching chores. In the photo, the “y” is to the right and the sweep is off to the side of the well. I am sure it was put to good use in its day. 

As you know by now, I try to work on my garden design in the off-season. Now that the snow has started in southwestern Pennsylvania, the herbal light bulb has gone on for me with The Herb Companion‘s article Colonial Williamsburg and the garden plans for a colonial garden. I am thinking of renovating our front garden, which has gotten a little wild!

I’m planning how to organize my front garden with inspiration from Well-Sweep.
Photo by Nancy Heraud

I always talk about timing and this time it was perfect. I went to Well-Sweep for additional inspiration.

The Well-Sweep garden paths provide a nice aesthetic, even in winter.
Photo by Nancy Heraud

What I love about the herb gardens at Well-Sweep is the brick structure of the pathways and beds that is always there, even in winter when the herbs aren’t as vibrant. I need to get some of that structure into our front garden. Here is a photo from 13 years ago during a Well-Sweep visit when the knot garden was in its infancy.

This knot garden uses geometric patterns of aromatic herbs.
Photo by Nancy Heraud

Here is that same knot garden during my recent visit without the standards because the weather had turned cold. They go into the greenhouses for the winter. I think the knot is germander. The standards are definitely rosemary.

Rosemary keeps the pattern of this garden while the knots winter in the greenhouse.
Photo by Nancy Heraud

Well-Sweep has a lovely gift shop that is jammed packed this time of year with Christmas gifts for the herb lover and gardener in your life.

The Well-Sweep gift shop is a perfect stop for herbies this holiday season.
Photo by Nancy Heraud

They have a large mail-order business online and a paper catalog as well. This herb lover is always glad to visit Well-Sweep. Check out their website. There are more pictures of the farm there. Also check out my blog where I will post more photos. Hope their garden structure gives you inspiration for your garden as well. Cy and Louise are retiring from the business on a daily basis and are turning the farm over to their son David and his partner Maria. I’m glad that it is staying in the family.

If you have herb questions, please feel free to leave me a comment or e-mail me at Talk to you soon.

  • Published on Dec 7, 2010
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