Clarksburg’s Secret Garden
Experience outdoor beauty in all seasons as we take you inside the private estate of Edgewood Manor.
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You drive through the commanding wrought iron gates that moan and creak as they swing open and hear each pebble in the long driveway crunch under your tires. Cherry blossoms shower your windshield, and a moss-covered angel figurine welcomes you as you sneak a peek at the grand Arts and Crafts-style home. It’s spring at Edgewood Manor, and the colors blanketing the extensive grounds—pale pink, chartreuse, white, red, yellow, and 10,000 shades of green—appear as vibrant as the pure powdered pigments of a painter. With a traditional English garden, a French-inspired knot garden, a bog garden for water-loving plants, a kitchen garden full of fruits and vegetables, a Japanese-inspired garden, and a cutting garden full of blooming flowers for arrangements, the near eight acres of land hugged by the meandering West Fork River offer a new view with every step and in every season.
Homeowners Gary Alan and Steven Christopher have been busy transforming these grounds from a sprawling lawn to a well-organized feast for the senses since they bought the property in 2001. While Steven takes pride in designing and planting their gardens, Gary specializes in outdoor architecture, like the wooden trellises topped with lush greenery, raised boxes for vegetables in the kitchen garden, and exquisite stone pathways and stairs.
What Makes a House a Home
Originally occupying more than 50 acres, Edgewood Manor was designed by architect Steven Wardner Ford and built for Haze Morgan, a descendant of Zackquill Morgan, founder of Morgantown. The buff brick, three-story Arts and Crafts-style home features all original woodwork, 11-foot ceilings, a renovated kitchen with commercial-grade appliances and cherry cabinets, and is capped by a medium-tiled hip roof. Now the inside is eclectically decorated with a mixture of traditional and colorfully upholstered antiques, Asian sculpture and décor, paintings and art from every period, and Steven’s prized orchids, which he carefully grows in his greenhouse located in a part of the home that used to be a summer bedroom.
On the grounds, the original chicken coop houses Steven’s extraordinary birds, including four peacocks and many rare breeds of chickens. The cellar house, covered in concrete, offers a distinct sitting area overlooking the open field and winding river. The side patio, off the kitchen, is the dining spot of choice during the warm months, and the front porch swings look out over the pristinely manicured front lawn and the English-style earthen staircase, dug directly out of the hillside.
In Full Bloom
Spring at Edgewood Manor is all about color. Steven says, “I get the most joy when the garden is coming to life and I see the first green. It’s new, fresh—there are so many shades. Each tree, each plant, each bulb shows a different green.” Aconite, Anemone blanda, Camassia, forget-me-nots, English bluebells, forsythia, poppies, yellow Euphorbia, red buds, and a mulberry tree make up just a portion of eye-catching flora. “I planted over 1,800 bulbs last year,” Steven says, alluding to the sheer size of the projects he and Gary have completed since the landscaping began. With Edgewood being a private estate, it’s clear the homeowners aren’t just showing off. “We do it for ourselves. It’s as simple as that,” says Steven. How does he keep it all straight? Easy—an entire journal devoted to keeping track of what needs done. “I usually have a plan for each month, so I know what jobs need done. There’s so much to remember every single season, so that way it’s like a checklist,” says Steven. “I know at the end of March, it’s time to put salt in the pond, and in the beginning of April, it’s time to throw fertilizer in the ground.” Steven devotes most weekends—though not all day everyday—to pulling weeds and picking up sticks.