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Heronswood

Posted by sarahbarah27 5 (My Page) on
Tue, Feb 2, 10 at 7:42

Hello. I am interested in buying some Hellebores for my garden. I came across a company call Heronswood, has anyone ever bought anything from them? They have one called Onyx Odyssey that looks very neat! Also, if anyone could recommend a company that they trust, that would be great!

Thanks
Sarah


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Heronswood

I'm surprised you've never heard of Heronswood. At one time it was the premier mail order nursery for new or unusual plants, many of them collected from around the world by Dan Hinkley, the nursery founder and world famous plantsman and plant explorer. In 2000, the nursery was sold to Burpees but remained open and operating under Hinkley's leadership until it was summarily closed in 2006 by George Ball, Burpee CEO. The name was retained and operations transfered from the original property in Kingston, WA to Burpee headquarters in Pennsylvania.

Dan had an extensive breeding program for hellebores and the 'Onyx Odyssey' is only one of several named cultivars that have recently been introduced to the market as a result of this breeding program.

I have many Heronswood hellebores but they all date from before the sale of the nursery to Burpees. The plant quality and customer service at that time was excellent, although I did most of my purchasing in person as the nursery was relatively close by. I cannot vouch that Burpees has maintained the same high standards as I don't do business with them but they seem to have a quite favorable rating by Garden Watchdog. Prices are quite high compared to other vendors but Heronswood is a leader in the introduction of new hellebores to the American gardening scene.


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RE: Heronswood

Thanks for the info. I am relatively new to mail ordering live plants...and very new Hellebores! So thats probably why i have never heard of them. I didn't know that Burpee owned it...I don't usually buy anything from Burpee, but maybe I will give them a try!

Thanks again


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RE: Heronswood

There is a nice nursery from NC that sells hellebores on eBay for a very reasonable price. They are one year old seedlings so you won't know exactly what type flowers you will get, but for the price they are a good bargain for someone just starting off. The seller goes by the name of nckoby. And just in case anyone is wondering, I am not a friend or affiliated with the nursery in any form or fashion.

Here is a link that might be useful: nckoby


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RE: Heronswood

I have purchased a number of Helleborus from Heronswood, the original one in WA and the derivative, located in PA (derisively referred to as Burpeewood by many of us longtime customers!) And have always been pleased with the quality of the plants and customer service.

However, the Helleborus I have purchased from the present Heronswood were always in gallon containers and in bloom at the time of purchase, plus they were reasonably priced.
The 'Onyx Odyssey' they are offering are in 4 inch pots and it's doubtful that they are of blooming size. I refuse to pay, what I consider an exorbitant price, for such a small Hellebore. Especially, since I am aware of the wholesale price for 2 inch plugs and 3 inch pots.
But, they aren't alone in denying me the pleasure of owning one of those dark beauties! During the past month, I have researched the market and I'm almost convinced that there is a conspiratorial alliance to fix the retail price at such an inflated rate!

I found that one vendor, Contrary Mary's Plants & Designs is offering #1 size plants (1gal.) for less money and about the same S&H charges.
Must be a new online vendor, as there is only one comment (positive) at GWD and it related to on-site purchases.

I suppose I will have to wait (frugal (Syn: penny-pincher, cheap) gardeners must have patience!) until my normal supply sources can restock.
Good luck with your quest!


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RE: Heronswood

Thanks! I will search my local nurserys this spring to see what i can find...if no luck i will try the online thing. I find it kinda hard to pay so much $ for a plant i cannot see first!
Sarah


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RE: Heronswood

I buy most of my Hellebores from Pine Knot Farms. I like to buy on site during bloom season so I can pick out exactly what I want, but I bet they would work with you to select what you want even if you can't be there during Hellebore Festival. I've also bought a number of un-bloomed seedlings from them that have turned out to be lovely plants. The owners are really wonderful people and I highly recommend the nursery.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pine Knot Farms


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RE: Heronswood

I'm pretty sure that Onyx Odyssey came from Northwest Garden Nursery, a wholesaler in Eugene, Oregon and isn't a "Heronswood" hellebore. I purchased a couple of very small plants last year through a coop that was indirectly supplied by Terra Nova.
I have bought one hellebore from Fordhook Farms at their open house hellebore day last year. I had a $5 coupon for the day and I have been admiring "Phoenix" for a while so I got one.Compared to other hellebores I've purchased, it was the most robust. Just because of that, I would consider purchasing from them again even though the plants are overpriced compared to other mailorder sources. They aren't really overpriced against pinky green ones sold locally here.

Here is a link that might be useful: Northwest Garden Nursery


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RE: Heronswood

Here's a fairly new H. x ballardiae cultivar that's being offered by a local Greenhouse Outlet. They have a limited list of other Helleborus at the same price.
They use an off-shore TC lab that charges pennies, instead of dollars to replicate the plants and their markup is reasonable, because at these prices, they don't occupy shelf space very long!

Here is a link that might be useful: Helleborus x b. 'Candy Love'


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RE: Heronswood

Loretta is entirely correct - 'Onyx Odessey' is NOT a Heronswood introduction :-) Sorry for that misstatement. Heronswood has introduced a number of very nice hellebores, including named doubles, but 'Onyx Odessey' is not one of them. I should have known it was part of the Byrne's Winter Gem collection with "onyx" as part of its name :-)

gerogia-rose, it's nice to see a new hybrid hellebore on the market that has an accurate hybrid designation attached to it. For some reason, these mixed hybrid plants get really muddled up - even the patent application for 'Candy Love' refers to it as a "nigercors" hybrid - tough to do since it appears to have NO argutifolius in its parentage (a niger x lividus cross). Why the hybrid hellebores are so mixed up with regards to their classifications - even from the original breeders/hybridizers who should know - is a huge mystery to me!

How does it compare to 'Ivory Prince'? It looks very similar in appearance as so many of these hybrids do.


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RE: Heronswood

I saw the "Heronswood hellebores" a couple of years ago at the Philadelphia Flower show. Being a hellebore nut who has collected many wonderful plants from all over (including British nurseries and NW Garden, Pine Knot and the "Old, original" Heronswood in Wa), the Heronswood hellebores of now pale by comparison. Most of their hellebores were muddy colors in fairly typical random seedling color range -- lots of mauves, off whites, and greenish flowers, most spotted. They may now be selling plants from other seed lines and those are certainly likely to be better since they will be seedling plants from hand crosses, like Onyx Oddyssey which is a slate double from NW garden and a fine strong growing plant.


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RE: Heronswood

gardengal48......

The H. x b. 'Candy Love' resembles H. x b. 'Pink Frost', moreso than H. x 'Ivory Prince'. The H. x 'Ivory Prince' that I grow, all have heavily patterned foliage and cream, pink tinted flowers. 'Candy Love' & 'Pink Frost' have only a hint of white veinage and some of the flowers are actually pink! Of course there are some cream flowers and some with pink tint present, also.

David Tristram, in his Patent application, refers to the parentage of H. x 'Ivory Prince' ('Walhelivor') as unknown, and is a seedling of possible crosses between H. niger, x ericsmithii & x nigercors,
Many nurseries that sell 'Ivory Prince', refer to them as a cultivar of H. x ericsmithii (one nursery calls it H. x nigersmithii, ...makes one wonder?
Given the unknown parentage and possible genetic makeup of the plant, IMO should it not be referred to as a hybrid, H. x 'Walhelivor' ('Ivory Prince')?

I'm still mystified as to why my local nurseries do not stock some of the many cultivars of H. niger, especially the eight "HGC Christmas", as many are readily available from wholesale growers.
I surmise that they still adhere to the myth, proposed by some "expert" northern growers, that H. niger will not grow & thrive in the Southern US. They perform well for me in Zone 7 and have for more than 20 years, in morning, noon and late afternoon sun, dappled shade and full shade!

Gary & Jack at Naylor Creek will be offering Helleborus, possibly later this year, so maybe I will have a source for some of Skagit Nurseries latest offerings, without having to purchase a truckload!

david_5311...

I purchased 3 Helleborus from Burpeewood at the Phila Flower Show, the only year they were a vendor.
I have worked there each year, since 1997 and usually spend 5-6 days on the floor. You are correct about the pitiful plants they were offering. I was finally able to get them to bring in some plants that were worthy of the "Heronswood" name, in the colors I wanted, and then the haggling began about price!
Maybe the reason they didn't return in the following years, was to avoid me and my critical remarks! No, couldn't be!


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