Roberta P. ‘Sue’ Bloodgood, co*ckeysville nursery owner, dies (2024)

Roberta P. “Sue” Bloodgood, whose vast inventory of hostas, daylilies and ornamental grasses made her co*ckeysville nursery the destination for area gardeners, died of cancer May 28 at her Happy Hollow Road home. She was 81.

“We first met her 30 years ago,” said Stiles T. Colwill, who owns an interior decorating firm.

“We drove to Happy Hollow for the first time and here was this woman walking an IV drip on wheels because she had Lyme disease and then jumped in with it all into a golf cart,” Mr. Colwill said, with a laugh. “I thought, what otherworldly experience have we located? When they made Sue Bloodgood, they broke the mold.”

Colin Kness was not only a longtime friend and neighbor, but also a customer.

“She lived the perfect ’60s lifestyle. She had no cellphone, iPad, computer or internet. She’d sit at the table with only a calculator,” Mr. Kness said. “I’m in IT, and she always called me the ‘Cloud Guy.'”

Roberta Page Bloodgood, daughter of Joseph Holt Bloodgood, a chemist, and Isabel Bloodgood, a Lord Baltimore Hotel administrative assistant, was born in Baltimore and spent her early years on Berkshire Road in Arcadia, near Herring Run Park.

When she was 16, she and her family moved to Happy Hollow Road in co*ckeysville.

Her paternal grandfather was Dr. Joseph Colt Bloodgood, an internationally known surgeon who was also head of the Johns Hopkins laboratory of surgical pathology and chief surgeon at what is now Ascension SaintAgnes Hospital.

Ms. Bloodgood never used her first name.

“Her grandmother called her ‘Sue’and it stuck,” said her daughter, Robin Carlson-Carter, of Mays Chapel.

Roberta P. ‘Sue’ Bloodgood, co*ckeysville nursery owner, dies (1)

She was a 1960 graduate of Notre Dame Preparatory School in Towson but did not attend college.

“She cared for her mother, who was an invalid. She always did things like that for others,” her daughter said.

When a neighbor, Timothy S. Reuwer, became concerned when developers moved in, he asked whether he could move his plants to her beautiful garden.

“That’s how it all began in the late 1970s,” Ms. Carlson-Carter said. “They had so many hostas and daylilies, they started selling them from a card table outside of her house. She was extremely knowledgeable about plants.”

Mr. Reuwer, an artist, relocated his studio to Ms. Bloodgood’s home, and they were together for 30 years and married for a decade until his death in 2012.

The couple’s nursery business expanded to more than 4 1/4 acres and was filled with more than 250 varieties of hostas, perennials and ornamental grasses, and more than 1,200 types of daylilies.

As they say in the restaurantbusiness, Ms. Bloodgood worked the front of the house while her husband was busy in his nursery grounds studio.

Dressed in her trademark colorful muumuus and waving an ever-present cigarette, Ms. Bloodgood would jump into her golf cart, gun it, and advise customers to follow.

“She was just like the comedian Totie Fields,” Mr. Colwill said, referring to the entertainer who died in 1978.

Customers anointedher with the moniker of “Hosta Sue.”

“Despite her occasionalgruffness, Sue’s abode is ever a place of warmth and welcome. She is firm in her opinions, her words never veiled, but always delivered with a heart full of kindness and a mind full of wisdom,” Mr. Knesswrote in an email.

“Her presence demands respectand affection, and her counsel, though straightforward, is a beacon of clarity in the fog of life’s uncertainties. It is her nature to speak plainly, to dispense with artifice.”

“Some people become addicted to hostas,” Ms. Bloodgood told The Sun in 1997. “We have customers who carry lists of their hostas with them so they won’t buy the same one again.”

Despite being ill, Ms. Bloodgood was still active in the business, which she continued to operate with her daughter, and remains open.

“She was slightly depressed, but when she started ordering this spring, she perked up,” Ms. Carlson-Carter said. “I had her sit by her desk by the window and called her quality control. I still call in through that window seeking her advice.”

When she wasn’t busy with her nursery, she enjoyed sewing, crocheting, and rescuing animals.

“She was a homebody,” her daughter said.

“She’d rescue anything that walked,” Ms. Carlson-Carter said. “One time we were picking beans up near the Pennsylvania line, and someone drove up in a truck and threw a goat off of it. She said, ‘Get that goat,’ and we put it in the car and drove it home. The poor thing kept going to the bathroom all over the car, but she didn’t care, and we laughed all the way home.”

Mr. Colwil recalled inviting her for a swim on a warm summer’s day and she said she didn’t have a bathing suit but would wear a muumuu instead.

“When she got into the pool, the muumuu got wet and floated over her head like a large parachute,” Mr. Colwill said, with a laugh, adding, she was good-natured about the experience and took it in stride.

When she was in the hospital, she asked her daughter to take her back to her Happy Hollowhome.

“I put her in the dining room so she could look at her flowers. And her flowers will forever bloom in others’ gardens, which means she’ll always be alive,” Ms. Carlson-Carter said.

It was Ms. Bloodgood’s wish that her life be celebrated with a garden party with family and friends and light refreshments.

“We’ll have flowers from her garden there,” her daughter said.

The garden party gathering will be held from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Lemmon Funeral Home at 10 W. Padonia Road in Timonium.

In addition to her daughter, Ms. Bloodgood is survived by a brother, Joseph Holt Bloodgood, of Freeland, and a sister, Edith Holt Bloodgood Hellmers, of co*ckeysville.

Roberta P. ‘Sue’ Bloodgood, co*ckeysville nursery owner, dies (2024)


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