A Hydrangea Project Like None Other

****This project is pending a joint effort with Fiskars and myself to deliver some loppers and pruners to this organization. There have been some delays but the project is still a go—more to follow before December 08. Thank you Fiskers!!!

During my recent trip to Blowing Rock, NC, I noticed that the hydrangeas looked especially incredible and numerous. I hadn’t remembered so many. For a few weeks now, I’ve been trying to track down any information leading to this explanation.

The Thomas family has taken on the task of restoring the Cone Estate of Hydrangeas. We are talking about 1,000s of hydrangeas that had been overgrown and were disappearing under the overgrowth. Many of these hydrangeas had been passed from home to home through propagation. They were lovingly attended at one time and it was rather grand during the 1920’s to a time it became an unfavorable environment for them to thrive and bloom. They had not been trimmed or cared for in decades. But along came Lowel Thomas and his wife who have done a remarkable job of taking on the restoration of the hydrangea, perennials, and now the orchard gardens.

These beauties are blooming everywhere in several varieties. The town has gotten behind the project with lots of support and the hydrangeas have awarded the efforts. The Blue Ridge Parkway foundation just awarded a $10,000 grant toward the cause. It started with two people with a passion and vision to preserve the glory of what once was. To think, these old friends were almost lost to neglect. Can you imagine a whole town full of hydrangeas? It is beyond beautiful.

Please read the entire story here and stop to appreciate the courage it took to dream such a dream. This is a link to The High Country News. The story moved me more than any I’ve read lately. I hope you enjoy it too.

In a post coming soon: The Moses H. Cone mansion, gardens, and orchards. But if you would like to follow this story with the Thomas family and get some background information on why the gardens are so worthy of preservation then please follow this link for The Moses H. Cone Memorial

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Greg Gombar says:

    Can anyone tell me what is type of hydrangea is the white variety you see around Bass Lake and prominent in and around Blowing Rock
    They are mostly Annabelles. Aren’t they lovely! You would be better off getting a Limelight by Proven Winners or look for their new Incrediball Hydrangea. Both have stronger stems than Annabelles and will grow more easily. Get all three!


  2. Once upon a time, if anyone asked me the one plant I couldn’t live without I said, without hesitation, oak-leaf hydrangea. (It helped that I lived aurrounded by an acre of oak trees.) But really, hydrangeas have improved so much in recent years that it is, as Anna says, impossible to choose a favorite — you want them all!

    *** Oh I know! I love them all too. There will be a series of post about this project soon. I want to talk with this young couple and see what motivates them. I want to know how many volunteers are showing up to help them. I’m going to have a blast researching this piece.


  3. Nancy Bond says:

    I can’t think of a lovelier project to get behind – they’re simply gorgeous!
    *** I am anxious to meet Lowel and his wife. I read the article and saw that they needed volunteers. So me and my fiskars just might make a day trip with the good old Kodak along to record! I’m going to write the Fiskars company and see if they will donate to the cause!! Maybe I can surprise the Thomases with some new pruners;)


  4. Those hydrangeas look great. Thanks for the link to follow the story. I was inspired by all your variety of Hydrangeas. I ordered a Pinkywinky for myself.
    ***You are going to have a fight with yourself now to figure out which hydrangea is your favorite because it is going to be like your Limelight. I can’t wait to see your joy as the years go by. Good choice. Little Lamb is another in the series that compares—-and then Quick Fire is the earliest bloomer. You best stay away from me—–dangerous!


  5. Gail says:

    I love the Moses H Cone mansion! We have always had a good time in that part of the world! Have you gotten enough rain Anna? We have loved every drop that has fallen on our rudbeckia! Gail
    *** It feels so refreshing around here today. It rained almost all night. I hope we get another day of it. Only once or twice did I hear a heavy rain. Most of the time it was a gardeners best friend and gave the moisture time to soak in. I might even have grass next week.

    ****Yes, I love the mansion too. There is a gift shop inside operated by the Southern Highland Craft Guild. Over 900 craftsman are represented. I love our southern heritage!

    I’m going to go up and volunteer for the hydrangea work. They are asking for volunteers. It’s only an hour away and I would love to document that on my blog and say I was a part of the restoration.


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