About Us

Van Houten Gardens was founded by Darin Van Houten in the spring of 2002 in New City, NY.  Within a few years, Darin was on the lookout for another location.  After visiting friends in Bel Air, Darin became attracted to the area not only as an opportunity to open another garden center, but also as a place to eventually call home.  Van Houten Gardens in Bel Air first opened its doors in Falston in November of 2009 selling Christmas trees.  After the following spring and summer seasons, the business moved to its current location on Churchville Rd near the intersection of Schucks Road and reopened in the spring of 2011.  After splitting his time between the two stores for 2 years, Darin closed the business in New York at the end of the 2011 season and moved full-time to Bel Air.  Since then, Van Houten Gardens has been steadily growing.  We are plant professionals and feature the highest quality and best selection of annuals and perennials in Harford County.  Backed by formal training and years of experience, Darin and staff are more than qualified to answer just about any lawn and garden related question.  But we are not just plant retailers, we are growers as well.  Almost all of our plants come from our own growing operation, which is run by Darin’s father, Bob, in Pennsylvania (check out the farm website here!).

Produce is a natural companion to gardening plants, and when the spring plant season slows down in early summer, Van Houten Gardens offers a full selection of fresh and local fruits and vegetables.  Darin grew up in the vegetable business, being actively involved in every step from growing, packaging and shipping, to retailing.  His studies for his first two years at Cornell University were focused on the produce industry before switching his concentration and gaining a degree in horticulture.  Using this expertise and experience, Van Houten Gardens offers a bountiful selection of the freshest and most flavorful local and regional produce available.  In order to provide this quality and variety, we source from several growers and producers.  Much of our produce is grown on our family farm.  We also source from growers in Harford County, Baltimore County, the Amish country around Oxford, PA, and early in the season, from the eastern shore of Maryland and from Virginia.  In addition to our main store, we also operate several road-side produce stands and participate in farmers markets in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, and Cecil County.

As the temperature starts to cool at the end of summer, hardy mums, fall annuals and perennials, and pumpkins begin to appear at Van Houten Gardens.  Again, most of our plants this time of year come from our own farm, as well as many of our pumpkins.  Don’t expect to see just standard orange pumpkins, however; we carry them, as well as gourds and decorative squash, in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colors.

After a short break following Halloween, we reopen the day after Thanksgiving with the most beautiful display of fresh cut Christmas trees and wreaths in the area.  We sell mostly Fraser Fir, by far the most popular Christmas tree in the region.  These trees come from the original home of the Fraser Fir, the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, where the best Frasers in the country are grown.  We also offer Pennsylvania grown Douglas Fir.  Our wreaths are all handmade and decorated, either at our farm, or right here at our store in Bel Air.  We have become the destination for premium wreaths in Harford County.  We regularly offer every size from 6” up to 42” and can accommodate special orders up to 80”!  We carry traditional circular wreaths, as well as crosses, candy canes, swags, grave blankets, and kissing balls.

Thanks for checking us out online; we look forward to seeing you soon!