Garden Geeks’ Paradise
Edgefield Plant & Stone Center appeals to anyone with a passion for plants
By Jim Dodson • Photographs by Lynn Donovan
“We’re garden geeks,” says Cindy Jones with a laugh, pausing near the end of another busy day at Edgefield Plant & Stone Center. “Craig and I are all about helping our customers create the outdoor space that works for them — because they work for us!”
A year or so ago, matter of fact, a woman and her son purchased a new house together and hired Jones and her husband, Craig Wagoner, to design and install a planting scheme and living space for their empty backyard.
“She recently stopped by to tell us that the installation of her garden has opened up a whole new world for her and her son. They spend much of their time outdoors now, enjoying nature. They’re learning something every gardener knows — that once you begin doing it, you really get hooked. You’re constantly learning and growing.”
Jones and Wagoner hear some version of this story pretty regularly, it would seem, the result of relationships built over many years with loyal customers. “They understand we are gardeners, too,” adds Wagoner, who manages the stone and design aspect of Edgefield’s full-service team when he’s not deep into expanding the couple’s own impressive forest garden in Summerfield.
Escapees from the corporate world, in 2004 they purchased the property where their distinctive garden center — purple with yellow trim — currently sits, “back when nearby Highway 68 was a two-lane affair,” Wagoner wryly explains, noting that the subsequent construction of I-78 eventually claimed almost a third of an acre of the center’s original property.
“It was a struggle for a while with all the road construction,” he allows, “but our customers kept the doors open and allowed us to eventually expand our services.” In addition to a full range of gravel and specialty stone, Edgefield boasts an impressive collection of unique perennials and annuals, including lots of hard-to-find native plants that attract wild birds. Their services also include architectural design and full garden planning and hardscape installation, depending on the desires and technical skills of the customer.
If you happen to be a dedicated tree-hugger (as this reporter is, without apology) you’ll appreciate Edgefield’s warm and highly knowledgeable staff (try asking Jones about soil amendments and her cure for pesky clay soils), and a shop filled with a vast array of organic garden supplies, pots and gifts, presided over by a trio of friendly in-house rescued felines named Merlin, Guinevere and Persephone (and occasionally a pair of rescued Great Danes named Daphne and Willow). On the grounds, EP&SC boasts a nice mix of mature fruit trees, dogwoods, Japanese maples and hardy conifers field-grown in Oregon. From mugo pines to asparagus fern, aloes to wild columbine, there is something for every discriminating gardener.
In short, Edgefield Plant & Stone Center is the kind of place you can drop in for a quick look round the premise and find yourself heading home to your own garden with a couple rare perennials you’ve never heard of — but that will star in the garden for years to come.
The firm’s location — though once under siege by a new freeway — is now something of a strategic advantage, placing the Center conveniently between the rapidly growing suburbs of the Triad. “We also get a nice share of customers coming down from Virginia,” reports Wagoner, a former chairman of Guilford County’s Open Space Committee. An apt title for someone who prefers life on the wild and natural edges.
Edgefield Plant & Stone Center, 3307 Edgefield Road, Greensboro
Regular hours, Monday – Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Sunday hours: 1 to 4 p.m. Telephone: (336) 662-0081 Edgefieldplantstone.com