A Return to Edgewood

In hindsight the weather could have been better for the two hour plus drive down there, but when you’re matching up three busy calendars you sometimes just get what you get.  Fortunately for the most mountainous part of the drive the bulk of the snow hadn’t yet arrived, and for the flatter portions the thermometer was beginning to rise.  At least it was pretty to look at…. I guess…

witch hazel diane

A slow, careful walk up the icy drive gave plenty of time to admire the witch hazels.  I believe this is Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’.

We really had to squeeze this visit in because John Lonsdale, Edgewood Garden’s proprietor, was busy loading up trays and packing the truck for the Pine Knot Hellebore festival in Virginia which kicks off this weekend and then runs for the next three.  Lucky you if you’re close enough to visit, but for now the seven and a half hour drive is more than I’m willing to consider… you never know though.  It’s on the bucket list.  >click here< for exact dates and locations of this and other Edgewood sales events.

hardy cyclamen foliage

Cyclamen ready to hit the road.  Such awesome foliage you almost forget they also cover themselves with bloom, C. maritimum on the left wouldn’t be hardy for me, but I could easily pick out at least four or five of the C. hederifolium to the right and they’d do just fine here in the mountains 🙂

My friend Paula met up with us and we had a great morning looking at and talking about just about any and all snowdrop nuances you could think of.  Then we talked about cyclamen.  As usual I overstayed my welcome.

John lonsdale Paula Squitiere

John and Paula working their way through the G. plicatus section of snowdrops.

I honestly intended to take pictures of some of the latest and greatest hybrids and named sorts and share the photos here, but I really do get a little overwhelmed when hit with the variety of species John grows.  If you’d like a more focused report I’d recommend clicking >here< to read the recent Washington Post article on Edgewood Gardens and some of John’s work with several of the rarest snowdrop sorts.

galanthus gracilis

Just one of the many pots which made me say “oh look at this one, I like that too”.  I believe these were all G. gracilis seedlings.

Of course I like galanthus for the flowers as much as anyone else, but for some reason the varied foliage of the snowdrops had me distracted on this visit.

galanthus gracilis

Curly thin foliage, flat wide foliage with a grey tint, wide apple green…  This photo shows some of the range in Galanthus foliage.  G. gracilis mostly but also a few other species such as G. plicatus and G. ikariae subsp. snogerupii…. a name which I can never resist saying 🙂

I think it’s a bad sign that I now know the names of more than three or four snowdrop species…

galanthus ikarie

Various pots of Galanthus ikarie seedlings.  Such nice foliage, some big flowers here and there, and even one with a nice flush of green on the petal tips.

There weren’t just a few species.  I asked which ones in particular he had growing in the greenhouses and his response was just “all of them”.  It was very cool to see, but even that was overshadowed by the thousands of snowdrop seedlings coming up on nearly every spare shelf or extra rack.

galanthus seedlings

Future snowdrop flowers.

The incredible diversity of species coming along is staggering but before I was even able to get myself grounded again it was off to the next greenhouse to check in on some hardy cyclamen.

cyclamen coum

Cyclamen coum filling the bench with an exceptional range of forms and colors.

I took this visit as an opportunity to correct the severe lack of cyclamen coum which my indoor garden is dealing with this winter.  For those who need to know, my budget only allowed me to pick four new ones, so you needn’t worry that I made a huge dent in his offerings.

cyclamen coum porcelain

Cyclamen coum ‘Porcelain’, a nicely striped special strain he had coming along, as well as a particularly dark form below it.

Speaking of budgets, since last year was such a success in restraint and control, I’ve decided to leave off on a good note and never mention tracking my gardening costs again.  It seems almost pointless to worry about a few dollars here and there when I’m faced each month with writing the checks to put a ten year old girl through gymnastics.  All my gardening budget is now officially part of my health care budget, and that would be mental health specifically.  Spending money on the garden will hopefully distract me from the endless drain of money going towards filling birthday cards and financing icecream shoppes and filling the belly of a twelve year old boy who always seems inches from famine.

eranthis orange glow

Another Edgewood offering this year, ‘Orange Glow’ winter aconite (Eranthis hiemalis).  I could have easily added a few of these to my order, but have to keep faith that my little seedling from a previous year is still just waiting to show itself.

As long as we’re talking about the budget I wasn’t going to talk about, I might as well admit this visit wasn’t all just the usual me inviting myself over to look at plants.  John has put out a spring listing of plants and I may have needed to pick up a few snowdrops as well as my new cyclamen.  It can be found >here< and although I did save on shipping by picking up directly, you may choose to avoid a five hour roundtrip through snow and icy roads, and just have them mailed to your doorstep.

galanthus plicatus

A large flowered Galanthus plicatus seedling.  The rule of thumb here is about one inch for that particularly fat digit, and that puts this well endowed snowdrop at over two inches!

As always it was a great time, and even though the walk out went even more slowly with precious cargo in hand, we still took a few more minutes to again admire the optimistic witch hazels lining the drive.

hamamelis witch hazel

Icy witch hazel (Hamamelis × intermedia ‘Barmstedt Gold’) in full bloom despite the sub-freezing temperatures.  Everyone should have a few of these.

Thanks all around, and since this post is starting to sound like a shameless plug for Edgewood gardens (which it is) I guess I should say I received no compensation for it, and as a matter of fact it was actually a little costly even if you don’t count the stop at IKEA on the way home.  Well on second thought that’s not completely true.  On a previous visit John gave me an ‘unsellable’ cyclamen which had a few yellow leaves.  It’s now growing and blooming beautifully in its new home, so maybe that cyclamen was all just part of some elaborate master plan 😉

Have a great week, and judging by the strength of the sun this morning you can probably guess what my next post will feature heavily!

30 comments on “A Return to Edgewood

  1. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Lucky you to get to Edgewood Gardens. I would go home broke if I was able to go there. It was well worth the drive.

  2. Pauline says:

    Sounds a wonderful place to visit, I would be sooooo tempted!

  3. Amy Olmsted says:

    I’ll be attending the Galanthus Gala where John will be vending his wonderful plants and then I’m hitting the Pine Knot Farm Open House on their last day…the 10th!! Plants have ben ordered!

    • bittster says:

      That sounds like a dream trip! But I feel like a baby now, complaining about a little two hour drive….
      Not to put a bug in your ear, but Montrose Gardens is just one more hour into North Carolina From Pine Knot. I don’t know if you’ve ever stopped in on your annual trip South, but it might be worth it!

  4. Eliza Waters says:

    Nothing like a trip to a nursery to correct any mental health imbalances. 😉

  5. Eliza Waters says:

    I just saw this – do you know this garden in Bryn Mawr? She has lots of galanthus! https://carolynsshadegardens.com

  6. Christina says:

    Sounds like a great trip and breaks up the winter gloom.

    • bittster says:

      Exactly. The gloom gets tiring, although recently the sun has been making a show. You still need a jacket and the soil is frozen solid, but that warmth on the face is wonderful.

  7. nanacathy2 says:

    Thoroughly enjoyable post, snowdrops are just amazing.

  8. I don’t think one can talk too much about snowdrops and Cyclamen. I bought a Cyclamen last fall and I will definitely get more if it makes it through the winter. This year I ordered a couple of snowdrops from Carolyn’s Shade Gardens based on the size and shape of the foliage. I would be out of control if I was along on this visit. I applaud your restraint .

    • bittster says:

      I hope your new cyclamen is a success. I was North of here and a little upset their cyclamen looked better, but I think the cold and consistent snow cover were earning their keep. Maybe you’ll have the same luck!
      I think more snowdrops will be the perfect compliment to your plantings 😉

  9. Cathy says:

    Those witch hazels are gorgeous! I definitely want some of those for winter interest. I still haven’t caught snowdrop fever, but have to admit that large 2 inch flower is quite impressive. Also good to hear the counting the pennies spent on the garden has come to an end. Some people pay a fortune for fitness centre membership, football matches, foreign holidays and other (in my opinion) less interesting activities than gardening! 🙂

    • bittster says:

      Yes, keeping the budget hidden will be a big relief even though so far I’ve been exceptionally good. I will need a few new plants of course, but I’m saving money on seeds this year, so I’m sure that will cover all the extras 😉
      Today I want to plant a bank of witch hazels, I don’t know what I’ve been waiting for… but tomorrow who knows!?

      • Cathy says:

        I saw some lovely witch hazels in a garden centre today, but at 50 euros each I resisted and came home with just one hellebore and two pots of Iris reticulata… 😉

  10. March Picker says:

    Frank, it was definitely time to do away with that budget! Much better to consider the plants an investment in your health. That striped cyclamen is impressive.

    • bittster says:

      According to my wallet I should really be feeling much better after this trip. Actually I bet another trip, this time for witch hazels, would put me over the top!

  11. Indie says:

    Wow, what an awesome field trip! I’ve never been to Edgewood, but I have enjoyed just perusing through the photos of his amazing number of plants in the garden. I’ve bought some other bulbs from him, but I don’t dare get into snowdrops! It is for mental health indeed, though, this time of year.

    • bittster says:

      You’re smart to avoid the snowdrops, they really are just a bunch of different combinations of green and white and occasionally yellow. I often have to wonder what’s going on inside my head that it insists on adding a few more each spring! But you’re right, going out into the garden and seeing these little bits of growing hope really does boost the mental health.

  12. johnvic8 says:

    I love road trips. I also like to spend money in garden places. Thanks for sharing.

    • bittster says:

      Food and plants, I don’t mind spending money on either since they both politely fade away when you’re done with them. Except for the calories… sometimes they stick around… and weedy plants, they’re also hard to get rid of!

  13. You are truly a devoted customer! Love the sight of all those Cyclamen. I wouldn’t worry about knowing three or four species of Snowdrops – I’m a halfhearted dabbler, and I know two.

  14. Peter Herpst says:

    What a great field trip. Cyclamen ‘Porcelain’ is gorgeous. Thanks for including the link to the mail order list. Yes, the garden budget should be considered a health-care expense. Come to think of it, health insurance companies should really be paying for plant purchases. Next time I’m at a nursery, I’ll present my health insurance card and inform the clerk that I’ll be paying only my ten dollar Rx copay.

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