Friday, May 4, 2012

Inside “Katie Bylers” Amish Greenhouses in Smicksburg, PA

Many of you have read my book, Knit Together: An Amish Knitting Novel. One of the main characters in Katie Byler, and readers are very taken with her. Well, Katie's real name is Lydia, and she's as sweet and true to her Amish ways as her fictional character, Katie. And, she has two greenhouses, just like in the book. In May they're bursting with colors and customers. Take your shoes off, like the Amish who walk barefoot all summer, and walk inside “Katie’s” greenhouse. (To actually go there, it’s on Wilson Road in Smicksburg, PA.)
One greenhouse is for vegetables, although hanging baskets of flowers are everywhere. Right now, May 2, vegetables aren't ready to be put in gardens in Western PA. There's still a chance of frost. Most gardeners plant on Memorial Day Weekend.

Notice the green hose on the gravel pathway off to the right. 
Water in ponds dug on higher ground is gravity fed into the greenhouses.

 Lydia's heater makes this greenhouse snug and warm in February
when she starts all her plants from seeds.

 Lydia uses anything for a planter. English customers like old Amish workboots or old tea kettles. Amish folk drop off all kinds of things for her to use.

 Lydia is quite the business woman. I've seen her supply catelogy and she deals with "English" distributors, but if she sees it cheaper at the same quality, she makes changes. These white hanging baskets she purchases by the truckload ;)

 Here's my little dog, Beatrix, on a gravel path down cold frames,
used to protect plants from cold weather.

A cold frame up-close.
I didn't buy anything today from Lydia because I only had my debit card. If you plan to visit Lydia, you'll need cash or a check...a gut check Lydia always says with a smile. If you feel sorry for Lydia after reading this, thinking she is one exhausted woman, well, she has lots of help from her 60+ nieces and nephews....last count.


  1. Absolutely beautiful and serene. Wish I could leave my desk job and do something like that.

    Wanda M

  2. So true, Karen Anna... It is wonderful what Lydia does, I enjoy her work and your blog! If we want we can start out small, growing just a few plants or vegetables in our garden or on our balcony :>)
    "Strong desire needs strong will" I read the other day. And I'd like to add: And hard (shared) work!
    There's a Dutch saying: "Waar een wil is, is een weg" = "Where there's a will, there's a way".



  3. Thank you Jeanneke! Words of wisdom...where there's a will, there's a way! ;)

  4. Thanks For sharing this Superb article. I use this Article to show my assignment in is useful For me Great Work. portable greenhouse

    1. Wow, thanks Elizabeth! What college class did you share it in? Botany? Very honored.

  5. Where is Lidia’s Greenhouse located in Smicksburg? Is it near Country Store?