Cedar Hedge Gardens is my secret source for hostas. And you won’t find it by accident. Even if you were looking right at it, you might not recognize its four acres of display gardens housing 400 hosta varieties.
I’d been in search of “the hosta lady” in order to find a source for an empress wu hosta. They are supposed to grow to 5 feet high with leaves the size of platters. My mother finally found a tiny little advertisement with some directions, our plan for an afternoon.
Once in the drive, Donna or Gary Courtney will direct you happily to the preferred route through the gardens, starting off to the left of their beautiful house. There are sculpture, water features, fountains and whimsey all through the pathways. You will see some aggressive plants (English ivy, snow on the mountain, pachysandra, myrtle) that can escape a Northern Michigan garden and squeeze out the preferred natives like Trillium and Solomon’s Seal. Look past these to find viburnam, Japanese maple, ferns and mounds of hosta as far as the eye can see. Dwarf hosta with leaves a few inches long. Large ones reaching up towards your shoulders. Some in dark recesses, others in full sun.
One of the gardens is filled with fairy statues. Others have a budda. And others have strikingly colored bent metal in abstract shapes. Many of these last design are made by Courtney, herself. I found her pieces have a nice sense of balance and color.
When you’ve made it through the gardens, the path takes you by tables of potted plants in the nursery. Plants run from around $12 to $25 or $35. Most are below $20. A few as low as $8. All the plants have been growing in Northern Michigan for several years, which is an extra guarantee that the plants can handle our climate and soil. The rarer ones are more costly. In looking them over, none felt common. Holy mouse ears is a mini with creamy white centers and bluish margins. My mother bought a rhino hide, which had the thickest leaves of blue edges and a yellow center.
And I found my empress wu. Now, I just have to decide where it goes in my garden.
Cedar Hedge Gardens is located in Interlochen between Ric’s grocery and Interlochen Golf Course in a neighborhood off of Melody Lane. The address is 9948 Harmony Dr. and there’s a small sign at the drive on the cull de sac.