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History of our Land

Jerry’s Perspective


Waverly Farm began as an idea that grew into a passion when I established River Farm Nursery, a 25-acre plot of land on the Potomac River near Poolesville, Maryland.

In truth, River Farm started out as a diversion from the hectic day-to-day pace of operating Hydro Lawn, a five-state lawn and landscape business with tens of thousands of residential customers. After 20 years of that, I needed something less predictable, more exciting and with more pieces to puzzle out and put together.

I found what I’d been looking for out in the fields. You see, I had grown up in a dairy farming community in Western New York State, and once I had gotten good a whiff of it--farming was back in my life for good.

As my focus shifted from managing a business to running a farm, I found that 25 acres was barely enough to keep me busy. I needed more acreage. In 1996, after an extensive five-year search, I found the land for the future Waverly Farm in Frederick County, Maryland. The farm was divided into two 100-acre parcels, separated by a county road. It was twice as much land as I was looking for, but because the soils were so valuable, I didn't want to pass on this opportunity. I bought the whole farm intending to sell off the extra hundred acres. I underestimated the extent of my passion as a grower. I quickly filled the first 100 acres and moved on to the next 100. That original 200 acres is now Waverly Farm.

I chose the site for Waverly Farm, formerly a dairy farm, based on its high quality soil. We recognize the value of these soils and are dedicated to preserving them. We have reserved nearly 50 acres for grass aisles and perimeter strips throughout the nursery to prevent soil erosion. To assure soil is always available for production, and to build new soil to replace what is sold with plants, we add 210 tons per acre of compost with each planting rotation.


1800’s Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Charles of Annapolis’ son was known as Charles Carroll of Carrollton (1737 to 1832). Carroll County, Maryland was named for him in 1833. He was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the last of the signers to die. As was tradition in colonial times, he partnered with tenant farmers to develop Carrollton Manor. When the Carroll family began selling off parcels during the 1800’s, Carrollton Manor evolved into a collection of successful privately owned farms and plantations.

The Waverly site was first purchased by a non-Carroll family member in 1866 for $20,000. From that point on, the property traded hands among another local family, the Snouffers. The Italianate home we use as our office was considered a mansion when it was built by that new owner Archibald T. Snouffer.

Waverly Farm is part of Carrollton Manor and was named Waverly mid-1800. In the 1800s, Waverly was a plantation that produced vegetables and small grains marketed in Washington, D.C. There are many historical references to the quality and productivity of the soil found in the valley. Later in the century, dairy farms dominated. Although dairying has declined in recent decades, the land remains highly productive for small grains and of course, nursery production.


1700’s Charles Carroll of Annapolis

Charles Carroll of Annapolis (1702 to 1782), son of the Settler, took over the family empire and expanded it. Charles Carroll of Annapolis acquired 17,000 acres in Central Maryland and named the site Carrollton Manor. It is said he chose the land because it was covered in native red and white oak, hickory, and massive walnut trees. He understood that these species thrived in the best soils. He later granted the entire estate to his son Charles Carroll of Carrollton.


1600’s Charles Carroll the Settler

Maryland was one of the original 13 colonies and was important due to its port at Baltimore, abundant seafood from the Chesapeake Bay, rich farmland found everywhere, and favorable agricultural climate. One of the most important families in Maryland’s history and in the story of our land, is the Carroll family.

Charles Carroll (1661 to 1720) who emigrated from Ireland to Maryland in 1688, was the first of five generations of Carrolls. Carroll received a commission to be the attorney general of Maryland, then a colony, on his arrival at the young age of 27. Known as “Charles Carroll the Settler” he became enormously wealthy with diversified businesses and the acquisition of tens of thousands of acres. When he died in 1720, he was considered the wealthiest man and largest landowner in Maryland.


The Waverly Farm Playbook for Growing Outstanding Landscape Stock Year Over Year

Your success as a landscape professional depends on developing long-term partnerships with the most reliable growers as trusted sources for high quality plant stock.

This eBook will help you in your search by identifying key characteristics to look for in a grower capable of producing plants that have year over year consistency in health, size, and fullness.