Bloodgood Nurseries was a fixture in Horsham since the 1970s when Al Edling moved the existing business from Doylestown. But its roots go way back - claiming to be America's oldest nursery, established in 1790!
Bloodgood is a name that has long been associated with various plants. The Bloodgood Japanese Red Maple Acer palmatum atropurpureum is probably the single most popular upright purple-leafed Japanese maple. Bloodgood introduced it to North American gardening shortly after the Civil War, a very long time before the general craze for Japanese maples was really begun & the tree was practically unknown in North America.
The earliest records of the Bloodgood name associated with nurseries relate to 1790 in Flushing (now Queens) New York. The name Bloodgood can be traced to Francis Bloctgoct, one of the earliest setllers in the village of Vlissingen (anglicized to Flushing) prior to 1674. French Huguenots immigrated to the area in the 18th century, bringing knowledge of horticulture with them and Flushing became known for its various nurseries: Prince, Bloodgood, Higgins, Kimbers and Parsons families. Members of the King and Murray families purchased the Bloodgood Nursery in the 1830’s and moved it to land next to their Kingsland estate.
John Warner Willcomb, who was born in Massachusetts in 1793 and for many years was the owner of the Bloodgood Nursery but “lost the business by defalcation of his New York agent.” “The old Bloodgood nursery now owned and conducted by Wilcomb and King, has long been in high reputation, and is only inferior in quantity and variety to the Linnaean Garden.” By 1849, per the catalog here, the business was in the hands of Thomas and James Bloodgood.
It was shortly after the Civil War when Bloodgood began producing the Japanese Maple that still bears their name, but we don't know who was running the company during that time. Keene and Foulkes are shown as owners on the 1897 catalog - and Foulke and Flemer by 1912.
William Flemer started F&F Nurseries in 1868 in Springfield, NJ. By 1912, it appears that he had partnered with Theo Foulk - Bloodgood was advertised along with F&F Nurseries as American Nursery Company. Bloodgood was still located in Flushing and F&F was located in Springfield, NJ. Flemer moved F&F to Kingston, NJ beginning in 1913 with the purchase of the 65 acre Myrick farm and F&F was renamed Princeton Nurseries.
After serving with the Ambulance Corps in World War I, Flemer’s son William Flemer, Jr. returned and began purchasing additional properties, building the nursery holdings to about 1,200 acres. Princeton Nurseries operated at the Kingston location until 1995. The company ceased operations in 2010. The Kingston site was taken over by the Friends Of Princeton Nursery Lands and in 2018 it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Ted Foulk moved Bloodgood to Doylestown, Pa. after graduation from Princeton in 1946. Flemer stayed in New Jersey.
Al Edling, who had received a degree in horticulture from Delaware Valley College in Doylestown, took over the Doylestown business and moved it to Horsham as Bloodgood Nursery. Mr Edling was a long-time HPHA member who donated fruit trees and other plants to HPHA, and with his wife, Eleanor, hosted our Covered Dish Supper several years ago. He ran Bloodgood Nursery for 37 years.
We are sad to report the passing of Mr. Edling on December 10, 2016
Bloodgood still operates in Horsham as Bloodgood Pond and Landscaping.