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Children’s Botanical Garden a go, weddings a no, at Hortulus Farm


Hortulus Farm can proceed with plans for a Children’s Botanical Play Garden, provide tours of its idyllic grounds, and hold certain events, but weddings are prohibited from occurring at the property.

Such are some of the details from a resolution the Wrightstown Board of Supervisors recently approved regarding allowed activities at Hortulus, a destination farm, garden and nursery that rolls across 100 preserved bucolic acres in the township.

In 2022, Hortulus Farm gained a new operator – Jon Kontz and his family. Kontz appeared before the Wrightstown Board of Supervisors earlier this spring to discuss changes and initiatives he’s undertaking at Hortulus.

Officials characterized the talks as open and productive, and believed it made sense for all involved to spell out what’s allowed at Hortulus under township rules and given that the property lies in a conservation easement held by Heritage Conservancy. To get everyone on the same page, supervisors passed the resolution doing just that.

Events like a summer market, harvest festival, European Christmas market, artists in residence and seasonal festivals may take place. The events are mainly held outdoors.

Hortulus Farm is open to the public 9 a.m. to 5 p.m Friday through Sunday, and tours for visitors are permitted. Hortulus Farm has the green light to offer a coffee bar and café; food is brought in from off-site, the resolution indicates.

The farm “has also partnered with a local distiller who created gin with herbs grown on the property and will offer tastings and sales of canned cocktails on the property,” the resolution says.

Construction is already occurring to create what’s described as a unique botanical playground for children. Expected to open this summer, the playground will feature interactive exhibits, including a sensory garden and butterfly habitat.

“Designed as a restorative environment, the Children’s Botanical Play Garden provides a space where families can escape the hustle and bustle of daily life and reconnect with each other and with nature,” the Hortulus website says. “Our hope is to foster a love for the natural world and joyful discovery in every child who visits.”

The resolution states that no amplified music, sound or instruments are allowed at Hortulus. “If music is played, it will be acoustic and it will be located in the central portion of the property,” the document details.

Like amplified music, weddings are also prohibited. “Operator agrees not to conduct weddings,” the resolution states.

In 2018, the township initiated legal action against Hortulus Farm Foundation – the nonprofit that owns the grounds. Local officials wanted Hortulus barred from holding weddings in light of what a township attorney at the time characterized as various ordinance, building and fire code violations.

The pending litigation was ultimately settled. As part of that settlement, weddings were not permitted. The resolution supervisors just approved affirms that arrangement is to continue.