Ten years ago Patrick and Judy Lapide moved to Hamilton in search of a quieter lifestyle. They discovered Makrancy’s, an abandoned garden center on Kuser Road. Patrick, who grew up working in the family gardening business, decided to take his four decades of experience and open Dragonfly Farms, a retail garden center named after the many dragonflies they discovered on the property.

For years Dragonfly Farms was called “Hamilton’s Best Kept Secret,” but word spread as people discovered their hidden treasures. What they found was “Dragonfly Farms is where beauty begins. Many customers have found it to be a safe haven or an escape from a bad day. They choose to come here to find peace on their worst day. This really matters to us.”

Dragonfly Farms is a gardening center, florist, and home decor shop all in one. Store Manager Antonia James describes the store as “a cross between Pottery Barn, Home Goods, and a home gardening center. We have jewelry, furniture, scarves, and a unique gift store. We carry a full line of shrubs, annuals, perennials, air plants, fairy gardens, and terrariums, as well as many one-of-a-kind gifts found in our new Wingz gift shop.”

Throughout the year Dragonfly Farms hosts many events. Ladies Night Out celebrated its first anniversary. In February they hosted the first Daddy/Daughter dance. In March was the ninth annual free Easter egg hunt. Forty girls and their dolls came to the second annual Dolly and Me tea party last month. In October the month-long pumpkin festival attracted thousands of families to the hayride, petting zoo, and pumpkins. The end of the year brings the most incredible Christmas decorations as the greenhouse is transformed into a winter wonderland.

As of June 1, Dragonfly has a fun new resident within its walls. Paint-a-Treasure, an art studio open to all ages, offers a variety of “Walk-In” creativity. Paint-and-take pottery that doesn’t require firing means no return pick-up trips. They also offer canvas painting for kids and adults with a library of templates to select from. Mosaics are a new addition to the studio’s products; choose a surface such as a plaque, picture frame, or mirror, glue your tiles and grout! Paint-a-Treasure also holds many “Paint Night” events with step-by-step painting for a great night out with friends and family! Private events, birthday parties, and fundraisers are also Paint-a-Treasure specialties. Stop in between Wednesday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (last seating 4 p.m.) to check them out or visit their website at www.paintatreasure.com.

“We make kids a priority,” adds Antonia. In 2013 Dragonfly Farms created Leave No Child Indoors. “Kids can come in and learn the importance of gardening and the importance of vegetables at a young age.” Children up to teenagers are invited to weed, water, and pick their own vegetables.

“We want to thank our customers. Ten years is an incredible milestone. Most of our new customers are recommended to us.”

“A special thanks to our employees. Laura Tiedemann and Imogene Gillard are the face of Dragonfly Farms. Julie Cordero, our head florist, creates magic. Laura Fine, our behind-the-scenes employee, is always willing to pitch in where needed. Overall we are blessed with an awesome crew,” adds Antonia.

Dragonfly Farms: Garden Center, Florist, and Home Decor, 966 Kuser Road,Hamilton. 609-588-0013. www.dragonflyfarmsnj.com, info@dragonflyfarmsnj.com Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

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