t’s been quite a summer for most of us. I was fortunate to spend most of August in North Vietnam and Northern Thailand in search of new plants. It was an amazing trip that I look forward to sharing the details. It will take a few more months to complete the photo log for the website, but I’ll let you know when it’s posted. Our final few days in Thailand were spent watching Hurricane Katrina as it steamed toward Louisiana and Mississippi.
Our thoughts and prayers are with those residents and former residents of the Gulf Coast, many of whose lives were changed forever by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Many of the nurseries in the region were hit hard, but fortunately many are up and running again… except those inundated with salt water. We’ve already heard from one customer in the region who sent photos of the plant damage in his garden. It was great to hear that he is already planning his re-planting for next season. We even had a Landscape Architect from New Orleans stop by during our fall open house, wondering when he would be able to return to his own garden.
I returned from overseas to find that the excessive heat of the summer had been joined by an extended period of no rain. 2005 has not been one of the best summers to be out in the garden and nurseries in affected regions around the country have felt the effects. I hate to say it, but there is little doubt that we will lose more good nurseries and garden centers after a year like this.
We actually hoped that Hurricane Ophelia would head our way with rain, but it was a dud inland. It did wreak havoc on some coastal customers gardens, albeit nothing like what it could have done. We finally did manage a nice 2″ rain about a week later, which really re-invigorated a tired looking garden. Our fall open house was very poorly attended, no doubt due to the weather, but certainly the high gas prices also played a major part. Even several botanic gardens around the country are seeing cutbacks and layoffs due to decreased visitation.
I would like to thank all those who attended and supported Horticulture Magazine’s GardenFair in September. Considering the excessively hot weather, the event went extremely well. If you missed it this year, be sure to watch for the details of the 2006 version.
Now that cooler weather and some fall moisture have arrived, we have resumed planting again. If you’re ready to do the same, I wanted to let you know of a number of new plants that have been added to the website. Many are available in very limited quantities, while a couple are actually previews of our 2006 offerings. We are very excited to offer the hard-to-find Echinacea ‘Razzmatazz’ and if they don’t sell out this fall, we put them in the spring catalog.
We also have another crop of Colocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ and Hosta ‘Hanky Panky’ ready for sale. While I wouldn’t plant the colocasias outdoors now in cold climates, they would make good houseplants for the winter and we’re not making any promises on spring availability, so get ’em while they last.
In other news, Plant Delights would like to congratulate Dr. Dennis Werner of the NCSU Horticulture Department, who has been selected as the new director of the JC Raulston Arboretum at NCSU. Dr. Werner is completing his class load this fall and will assume the directorship duties on December 1, 2005.
We encourage you to continue supporting your favorite gardens and nurseries during this difficult period for our industry and let’s hope for a great 2006.