The gardener's eye

The Gardener's Eye

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Martin's Greenhouse

The sign for Martin's Greenhouse on Rt 322 in Narvon, PA

A Salix Arbor

Some of the Plants for sale

The Greenhouse

Some Choice Annulas 

More Annuals

One of the many varieties Hellebores: I think this is Hellebore niger x ericsmithii 'HGC Silvermoon'

Epimedium x youngianum 'Azusa'

My loot

I knew when I agreed to go with my college roommates to my 30th reunion at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA that there would be some horticultural side trips. Top on my list was Martin's Greenhouse in nearby Narvon, PA, in the heart of the Amish Country. I first heard of Martin's Greenhouse from David Culp while visiting his garden in Downingtown, PA. David works for Sunny Border Nurseries and calls on Marion Martin, the owner of the nursery.

It is easy to miss the sign for the nursery when driving along Division Highway (RT 322) on the way from Downington to Lancaster. In fact, on my first trip there about ten years ago, I passed the nursery four or five times before I finally found it. 

When you first arrive, the nursery doesn't look like much. But on closer examination, you will find a wide array of hard-to-find rare perennials, trees, shrubs and choice annuals. Marion has a particular interest in hellebores and has  numerous varieties including some of David Culp's Brandywine hybrids. I was looking for woodland plants for my garden and went home with three different toad lilies, several epimediums, some ferns and our native ground cover, Mitella diphylla. I also found some choice coleus plants and a beautiful blue flowered annual, Streptocarpus 'Lady Slipper Blue Ice.'

If you are in Lancaster County in Pennsylvania don't miss Martin's Greenhouse. It is a gem of a nursery with a plethora of rare and unusual plants to choose from.

Martin's Greenhouse
5489 Division Highway
Narvon, PA 17555-9217


  1. Michael - I am always in Lancaster, PA as I love to go antiquing there. Thanks for the tour of Martin's Greenhouse! Will visit. I have not seen that silvery hellebore....would be great in my white garden. Didn't you love all the silvers and grays mixed with the whites at Sissinghurst?

    1. Loi,
      There are lots of surprises there. It is a good idea to ask Marion for certain plants or kind of plants. As note about what to expect: it is a little less than tidy. It has a cottagey feel that is charming. Marion loves too many plants, so they are stuffed in all kinds of nooks and crannies.

      I love the white garden at Sissinghurst but it has a bit of a lull in late May, I'm afraid. I think the tulips are past, the roses haven't started, and the summer annuals have been just planted. That is one of the nice things about gardens with rooms, certain gardens can be "in between" peaks and the overall effect remains sublime. Small gardens, like ours, can be a greater challenge because everything needs to look perfect every day of the year. An exciting task, I think.

    2. Will definitely call ahead before jaunting out there! I hope you'll be showing us photos of your own garden soon. It must be glorious. Would love to see!

  2. I too first visited Martin's based on a recommendation from David Culp. That was about six years ago, and I've been back many times since. I've always loved how the nursery area and greenhouses are filled to overflowing with special plants.

    On one spring visit a few years ago Marian offered seeds from a Carolina silverbell in her garden. This year I transplanted 10+ small silverbells into the garden and surrounding woods.

    Thanks for bringing this special nursery to mind today!

    1. Hi Matthew,

      Entering the greenhouse has always reminded me of the scene in the Wizard of Oz where the movie changes from black and white to color. It certainly isn't an easy place for tall person to navigate!

      I have a couple of stewartias that I planted from seed in my garden. That is one of the marvels of gardening. Thanks for commenting. Hopefully this post will bring more keen gardeners to Martin's.



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