Stick out your tongue fern and say, Ah-ha

We’re several years into an experiment to see how well the epiphytic (grow mostly on trees) tongue ferns of the genus Pyrrosia fare in hanging, moss-lined baskets when left outdoors all year. This is our coldest winter to date since … Continue reading

Wooly-lipped Ferner

Looking great this week are most of the desert ferns, especially the wonderful Cheilanthes tomentosa. So many folks still don’t realize that an entire group of ferns grow naturally in desert conditions, often alongside cactus. This fern favorite has a … Continue reading

Jurrasic Fern

The amazing Chinese native Pronephrium penangianum ‘Jurassic Park’ is looking fabulous in the garden this week. This large growing, spreading fern has the feeling of a plant from the time when dinosaurs roamed. We continue to make cool, but little-known … Continue reading

Contiguous Cat’s Claw Fern

One of our favorite hardy garden ferns are the amazing cat’s claw ferns of the genus Onychium. The genus comprises between 9 and 23 species, depending on your choice of taxonomist. The most common species in cultivation is the Japanese … Continue reading

Another ferner

Looking particularly lovely in the garden is the elegant fern, Dryopteris affinis ssp. affinis. The semi-evergreen golden-scaled male fern from Europe is among the easiest and most beautiful ferns we grow, yet when we offer it through the nursery, it’s … Continue reading

Randy Ferns

It’s not unusual for ferns to have sex in the wild, even with other species in the same genus. It is, however, unusual for them to have meaningful sex with ferns of an entirely different genus. Such an odd occurrence … Continue reading

Summer Textured Ferners

Here’s a fun textural image from the woodland garden, featuring Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Little Honey’, Farfugium japonicum ‘Aureomaculatum’, and Athyrium ‘Ocean’s Fury’. Off to the left side are three more ferns, Dryopteris x celsa, Adiantum capillus-veneris, and Ctenitis subglandulosa.

Holy Holly Fern

Looking great in the JLBG gardens is the amazing Cyrtomium fortunei ‘China Ruffles’. This superb spore strain is from an original introduction by Michigan plantsman, Hans Hansen, who made the spore collection in 2003 in Sichuan, China. Hardiness is Zone … Continue reading

Mama…where do fern babies come from?

If you’re a nursery, and you’d like to offer ferns, the plants at your disposal are somewhat limited. A large majority of ferns sold in America are still sadly dug from the wild. When you see a catalog listing primarily … Continue reading

Sakhalin Fern

The dainty rock garden fern, Woodsia polystichoides has just emerged in the garden. The spores for this were shared by one of our Russian gardening friends from his collection on the Sakhalin Islands. For those who don’t follow history, the … Continue reading

Finally, a ferner adapts

Since ferns are one of the groups on which we focus our ex-situ conservation efforts, we have collected a huge number of species and selections from around the world. One that has continually frustrated us is the miniature rock fern, … Continue reading

Mr. Butterfield’s Fern

We love the evergreen holly fern in all it’s species and forms. Cyrtomium falcatum ‘Butterfieldii’ is looking absolutely stupendous in the garden this month. This easy to grow shade lover glistens all winter with its glossy foliage with fancy serrated … Continue reading

Mama Mia…that’s a lotta ferns

We love fall and winter, when Woodwardia orientalis ‘Mama Mia’ starts producing baby ferns on the old foliage. Mama Mia can be propagated from the plantlets, but in our cold winter climate, the babies rarely mature unless taken indoors for … Continue reading

Bamboo Ferns

Another genus of ferns that we just adore are the bamboo ferns of the genus coniogramme. We’ve grown these amazing gems for two decades, and after all that time are still in love. Although these woodland ferns are deciduous, they … Continue reading

Zig Zag Fern

One of our favorite of the US native (Central Texas) desert ferns is Pellaea ovata. Here is our clump in the crevice garden looking quite nice this week. This is scheduled to return to the Plant Delights catalog in January. … Continue reading

Similar Spider Fern

We’ve been growing the Chinese Arachnioides simulans, the similar spider fern, for over a decade, in which time, it’s proven a superb performer. Here’s a photo from the gardens this week. Finally, this spring, we got around to sowing spore, … Continue reading

Silver Moon Fern

We don’t know how many of you have noticed this in the JLBG garden during open house, but this special gem is from a Chinese spore collection by JC Raulston Arboretum director, Mark Weathington. Now that it’s large enough, we … Continue reading

Holy Giant Holly Fern

Cyrtomium macrophyllum is looking particularly fabulous this year. This is a little-grown holly fern with a wide range from India to Southeastern China that can be found at elevations from 2,500-8,000′. The bold textured fronds arch outward to make a … Continue reading

Upside down Spider Fern

Arachnioides standishii is one of our favorite garden ferns. This particular collection comes from Japan’s Mt. Daisen. The common name is Upside down fern since the leaves appear to be attached inverted. Production is always challenging since spore don’t ripen … Continue reading

Celebrating Ferners

One of the fabulous ferns in our garden during the summer months is the sun-tolerant Dennstaedtia hirsuta ‘Sohuksan’. This fabulous specimen came to the US from a 1985 collection from Sohuksan Island, South Korea, where it was discovered by a … Continue reading

Fern zombies awaken in the garden

Like sci-fi zombies re-awakening, ferns in the garden are spring back to life.  Nothing says spring quite like the presence of new fern fronds emerging…known as croziers.  Below are several different fern images we’ve taken as they emerged this spring.  … Continue reading

Athyrium ‘Ghost’ fern

I just took this photo of the Ghost fern on our patio…can’t imagine a garden without this lovely deer-resistant perennial.  Light shade or even a few hours of sun if the soil is kept moist.

Painted ferns for the garden

Here are a couple of fern images from the garden yesterday.  First is our giant painted fern, Athyrium ‘Godzilla’, which can reach 6′ wide x 3′ tall.  To avoid chlorophyll shed in the garden, it’s best planted a far distance … Continue reading

New Ferns for 2015

For 2015, Plant Delights is pleased to introduce several new ferns from our trial program.  Athyrium niponicum ‘Thrill Seeker’ is one of two dwarf compact crested Japanese painted fern selections from a five year joint effort between us and our … Continue reading

Hardy Asparagus fern, Asparagus virgatus

I just snapped this photo of the South African Asparagus fern, Asparagus virgatus, in the garden.  This is one of my favorite hardy foliage plants.  Not only does it provide a nice foil for bolder foliage, but it grows in … Continue reading

Cat nap in the ferns

If your ferns arrive a tiny bit crushed, please excuse us.  I discovered the culprit early this morning when checking inventory in the greenhouses.  Evidently our fox babies love ferns as much as our customers…in this case, the perfect spot … Continue reading

Victoria Lady Fern

I recently snapped this image of the amazing Athyrium ‘Victoriae’ while touring gardens in Cincinnati, where it grows even better than it does here in steamy NC.  The three dimensional fronds are amazing…like no other plant we’ve grown…seriously cool!

Tokyo Wood Fern

Most of the ferns are looking really great in the gardens now as the spring ephemerals are going dormant.  A fern that just impresses me more each year is deciduous Dryopteris tokyoensis.  Here it is in our garden today, where … Continue reading

Athyrium ‘Ocean’s Fury’ (Hybrid Crested Silver Fern)

Here’s another hybrid fern that I would hate to garden without, Athyrium ‘Ocean’s Fury’.  This gem from NC’s Thurman Maness is a cross of our native lady fern with the Japanese painted fern.  The silvery leaves and petticoat tips are … Continue reading

Very Wet behind the Ears

Despite the impending flooding late last week, Patrick, Zac, and I took off to the mountains of western South Carolina for a few days of botanizing. Despite the monsoon-like rains, we managed to visit seven amazing sites. Below is a … Continue reading

Osmundas Rising

We always get excited when the Osmunda regalis fronds begin to unfurl in the bog garden at JLBG. Here are some images from this week, showing the new fronds. The rosy emerging growth is the sterile part of the fern … Continue reading

Pretty Kinki

The Dryopteris kinkiensis is still looking fabulous in the garden as we inch closer to spring. This little-known Chinese native fern was first brought into the country as spore by plantsman Hans Hansen in 2005. It is also native to … Continue reading

Ostrich Feathers in Winter

Although the native Ostrich fern, Matteuccia struthiopteris ‘The King’, goes winter dormant, the fertile fronds remain upright and attractive all winter. Here, we have it growing among the evergreen Solomon’s Seal, Disporopsis pernyi. This site is quite dry, compared to … Continue reading

At the Coast with Holly

The typical holly fern, Cyrtomium falcatum, is considered fairly reliable in Zone 7b, but no further north. The oddball is the coastal form, which grows on the coast of both Japan and Korea. We received the plant shown below in … Continue reading

Genetics Matter

We have long been enamored by the elegant, evergreen fern, Polystichum neolobatum, but have failed countless times with the commonly sold material in the horticultural trade. It was not until we grew spores from a Hans Hansen Chinese collection from … Continue reading

The Little Asparagus that Could

In 2006, NC plantsman, and our long time customer, Graham Ray of Greensboro, emailed to see if we were interested in a dwarf Asaparagus densiflorus (Sprengeri) fern that he grew in his rock garden, and had been winter hardy for … Continue reading

Dry-opteris on a Wet, Rainy Day – New Relevations

The cold and raw weather of late autumn and winter provide the perfect opportunity to sit down with the dissecting scope and put our ferns through the identification mill. Often gardens and nurseries receive a plant into their collections from … Continue reading

You’re so Vein…Anastomosing, that is

Nurses and plant taxonomists are among the few fields in which you would run into the term, anastomosing veins. Having been in the plant world all my life, I had never even run into the term until trying to key … Continue reading

Soaring Microsorum

One of our most amazing dwarf ferns is our 2008 Taiwanese spore collection of Microsorum brachylepis ‘Datun’. Our garden patch pictured below, which is looking great this month, was planted outdoors in 2017, and is now 4″ tall x 3′ … Continue reading

Bermuda Run

Adiantum capillus-veneris ‘Bermuda Run’ is looking exceptional in the garden this fall. Actually, it looks exceptional most of the year for us. Until the temperatures drop below 12 degrees F, this amazing fern remains evergreen. This fern has a huge … Continue reading

Low Country Treasure Hunt

Last week, Patrick, Zac, and I spent a couple of day botanizing in the low country…i.e. Coastal South Carolina. In between swatting away the incredible troupe of mosquitos which chose to join us, we were able to capture a few … Continue reading

Frosty Pearl

One of our favorite broadleaf shrubs is undoubtedly Orixa japonica ‘Pearl Frost’. Orixa is a monotypic (one species) genus in the citrus (Rutaceae) family, that’s virtually unknown in US gardens. We are particularly enamored with this superb variegated form, brought … Continue reading

Pteris on the Terrace

We’ve long loved the fern genus, Pteris (pronounced terrace), but struggled for years to find any that were winter hardy here in Zone 7b. That changed with our 1996 Chinese expedition to Yunnan Province, and later a subsequent expedition by … Continue reading

Christmas in June

While doing some local botanizing recently, we ran across this fascinating form of our native Christmas fern, Polystichum acrostichoides. Not only was it more compact than any others in the area, with more “orderly” fronds, but it also showed none … Continue reading

The King Ostrich

One of the most Jurrasic-looking plants we grow is the North American native Ostrich fern. If you moved here from “up north” and brought some of this fern with you, chances are it failed miserably. As a rule, Ostrich fern, … Continue reading

Who is Molopospermum?

Chances are pretty good that few US gardeners have grown molopospermum. We’ve long been fascinated with members of the Apiaceae family (think carrots, celery, Queen Anne’s lace, etc.). Not only are most members culinary/medicinal, but they are also great host … Continue reading

Fury of the Ocean

One of our favorite ferns is the Lady fern hybrid, Athyrium ‘Ocean’s Fury’. Created in Pittsboro, NC by plantsman Thurman Maness, this patented gem was offered for years through wholesale channels, but sales were not strong enough, so the sole … Continue reading

Those tricky plant names

Looking good in the garden this week is the amazing fern, Dryopteris x australis. This rare fern is a US native…despite the confusing name, hailing from only a few scattered locations from Virginia west to Arkansas. In reality, the name … Continue reading

Can you Spare an Asparagus?

We often talk about the amazing group of hardy asparagus ferns, so here we go again with a few that are looking particularly great now. The first image is our dwarf selection of Asparagus cochinchinensis ‘So Fine’. This is our … Continue reading

Texas Goji

A few years ago, Goji berries were the hot plant for gardeners due to their almost mythically healthy fruit. That was before gardeners realized what a weedy, suckering mess goji (Lycium barbarum) made in the garden. The Lycium species few … Continue reading

Lithophytes, epiphytes, tigers, and bears…oh my

Just out in the garden in early January and wanted to share photos of a few of our favorite evergreen ferns that would rather not be growing in the ground. In our garden, these are all growing within a few … Continue reading

Garden hookups

We always love it when unexpected garden hookups yield unexpected results, and such was the case recently when, under the cover of darkness, two of our holly ferns took a liking to each other. The result of this conjugal interlude … Continue reading

Meet Ctenitis

We love the tardily deciduous Ctenitis subglandulosa ‘Hoshizaki’, which remains looking great in the garden as we pass the winter solstice. This truly elegant fern came to us from fern guru, Judith Jones, who got it from California fern guru, … Continue reading

The Flowery Gates of JLBG

We’ve been working on upgrading many of the temporary gates throughout the garden, our first few, which went in this year are all designed by NC sculptor Jim Gallucci, from photos we took in the JLBG Gardens. We all need … Continue reading

A Rolling Stone gathers no moss, but a stationary stone…

Indeed the old proverb about a rolling stone is correct, but a stationary stone, especially in the water, gathers all kinds of amazing things. This rock in one of our garden streams has not only gathered moss, but several young … Continue reading

Leaping Lepisorus

We love ferns of all types, but especially the single-leaf types. Our clump of the Chinese Lepisorus macrosphaerus really stands out in the fall and winter garden. In the wild, most lepisorus grow on rocks or tree trunks, but most … Continue reading

Mamba Combo

Every day as we take the short drive home, we’re greeted with this combination of Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Fernspray Gold’ and a new black elephant ear. We encourage people to be more conscious of textures, forms, and colors in the garden, … Continue reading

Who put the Kunth in Kunthii?

Looking superb this week is our great native fern, Thelypteris kunthii (southern shield fern) So what is a kunth? In fact, this fern gets its name from German taxonomist, Carl Sigismund Kunth (1788 – 1850). Kunth was one of the first … Continue reading

Celebrate Plasticity

We live in an age where many plastic products are vilified, but every now and then, we find a reason to embrace the texture of plastic. Such was the case in 2008, when we visited The Missouri Botanic Garden. Walking … Continue reading

Another Giant Monster

A few years ago, we introduced one of our Japanese painted fern sporlings of particularly giant proportions as Athyrium ‘Godzilla’. Recently, we found ourselves in search of another giant monster name for our new hybrid of Osmunda regalis (US) and … Continue reading

Patterns

If you slow down in the garden, you’ll notice an amazing array of natural patterns. One of our favorites are the spore patterns on the fern genus, Coniogramme. While all spore patterns are fascinating, the bamboo ferns are truly unique, … Continue reading

Brexit Redux – Part I

With the ink barely dry on the Brexit signing in early February, and well before Coronavirus panic hit, it was time for a return trip to the UK for another round of plant collecting. Accompanying me is Walters Gardens plant … Continue reading

Plant Folklore

Humanity could not exist without plants. People’s interactions with plants have evolved throughout history from medicinal, to magical, to nutritional. These interactions often resulted in whimsical, fanciful tales tied to oral history passed from one generation to the next. Take … Continue reading

Mixing textures

We love experimenting with new textural combinations in the garden, and here are a couple that caught our eye this fall. Start planning new bold leaf texture and color combinations for your garden this winter as you dream of spring. … Continue reading

Sporty spores

Have you ever stopped to look at fern spore patterns?  If not, take time to turn over your fern fronds.  My favorite spore pattern comes from the fern genus, Coniogramme. These produce what is known as anastamosing veins…your new word … Continue reading

Hardy Orchids from seed

I was looking at our patch of Bletilla ‘Brigantes’…a hardy orchid hybrid between Bletilla striata and Bletilla ochracea and wondering what its offspring would look like.  I recalled that the late plantsman Don Jacobs grew bletillas from seed in his … Continue reading

Plant Delights June 2016 Newsletter

Greetings from Plant Delights and Juniper Level Botanic Garden. Botanical Interest So far, it’s been a great spring at PDN and JLBG. Rains have been pretty regular so far…thanks to two early-season tropical storms. No sign of an imminent summer … Continue reading

Favorites from this week in garden.

    There’s so much going on in the garden now, it’s hard to know where to start.  The ferns are looking fabulous, and one of our favorites is the native Dryopteris x australis.  Yes, “australis” means from the south. … Continue reading

Woodland Garden plants looking great

  Spring is an amazing time in the woodland garden.  We begin the final two days of our spring open nursery and garden with a few photos of some of our seasonal favorites.  We hope you can join us this … Continue reading

Plant Delights September 2015 Newsletter

Greetings PDNers! It’s hard to believe, but September is here and it’s time for our final Open Nursery and Garden for 2015. We hope you’ll join us to see all the gems that look great this time of year and … Continue reading

Variegated Sea Oats combination

Ornamental grasses make such great combinations.  Looking outside our back door now is this combo of Chasmanthium ‘River Mist‘ with tricyrtis, and a thelypteris fern. No colorful flowers…only great textures and form.  

Plant Delights July 2015 Newsletter

Greetings PDNers! Summer Open Nursery and Garden Come see our 30 foot flowering agave at our final Summer Open Nursery and Garden Days this weekend. Visitors from around the country have been showing up to see our giant agave in … Continue reading

A quick trip to Washington DC

I’m just back from a quick trip to Washington DC with my stepdaughter Katie.  We first stopped at the US National Arboretum to spend some time with the new director Richard Olsen, who shared his excitement about many of the … Continue reading

Hostas looking good in the garden

Here are some new hosta images from the garden, starting with the miniature Hosta ‘Church Mouse’…very cool ruffled edges. Here is Hosta ‘Rainbow’s End’…a stunning favorite that just glows. Another superb small hosta, Hosta ‘Virginia Reel’. Love this plant Here’s … Continue reading

Plant Delights May 2015 Newsletter

Greetings PDNers! Spring Open Nursery and Garden Days One more weekend of our Spring Open Garden and Nursery Days remains… this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. We hope you’ll join us to walk the 10+ acres of gardens and take home … Continue reading

Dryopteris erythrosora ‘Brilliance’

Here’s a new photo of the evergreen Autumn fern, Dryopteris erythrosora ‘Brilliance‘ as it emerges in the woodland garden with its stunning new growth.  

Paeonia japonica – a peony for shade

The Japanese woodland peony, Paeonia japonica just opened yesterday in the garden!  Unlike most other peonies, this one requires light shade, so plant it with hostas and ferns.  Our supply of these is always limited, so if you like it, … Continue reading

Plant Delights April 2015 Newsletter

Greetings PDNers! Nursery Update—Made it through Winter It’s been quite a late winter at Juniper Level/Plant Delights, with the latest-occurring single digit temperature we’ve seen since our records began in the 1970s. Plants like hellebores in bloom when the cold … Continue reading

New Plants Online – February 2015

Buy New Plants! Shop now – we’ve just added over 35 new plants to the online catalog, including a number of ferns, several hard-to-find cyclamen, several crinum lilies, hostas, peonies, and even a couple more agaves and hellebores …most available … Continue reading

Plant Delights Nursery December 2014 Newsletter

Greetings and Happy Holidays from all of us to you! We hope your holiday season is merry and bright, and those of you in climates where winter gardening is possible are enjoying time in the garden. Now that the new … Continue reading

Plant Delights Nursery September 2014 Newsletter

Greetings PDN’ers! PDN Fall Nursery News We hope you’ve received your copy of the Fall 2014 Plant Delights Nursery catalog. Kudos to our graphic designer Shari Sasser at Sasser Studios for the catalog redesign and new look. Among other things, the fall … Continue reading

Plant Delights Nursery May 2014 Newsletter

Dear PDN’ers! Greetings and Happy Spring! The Perfect Storm As we mentioned in an earlier email, we experienced the perfect storm of events which impacted our order processing and shipping operations this spring. The combination of delayed ordering due to … Continue reading

2013 Plant Delights Nursery July Newsletter

Dear PDN’ers, This weekend marks the start of our 25th Anniversary Summer Open House at Plant Delights Nursery.  The weather and moisture levels have been incredible this year, the gardens look amazing and the plants lush.  I never imagined having … Continue reading

2013 Plant Delights Nursery May Newsletter

Dear PDN’ers Thanks to everyone who took the time to visit during our recent Spring Open House.  In contrast to our Winter Open House, the weather was excellent and the threat of rain never materialized.  We were delighted to meet … Continue reading

2013 Plant Delights Nursery April Newsletter

            Dear PDN’ers It’s been quite a spring so far…very cool for much longer than usual…at least until early April.  Plant emergence was far behind recent springs when, out of nowhere, temperatures rose in the … Continue reading

2012 Plant Delights Nursery November Newsletter

Greetings from Plant Delights where we hope the march toward colder weather finds everyone’s garden ready for winter.  We’d like to start by sharing a few recent changes  at Plant Delights, including our long-time Shipping and Customer Service Manager, Dianne … Continue reading

2012 Plant Delights Nursery October Newsletter

Dear PDN’ers Early fall greetings from Plant Delights, where the spring 2013 catalog writing heads into the home stretch. As always, there are lots of exciting new plants for 2013, which is really what makes the whole effort worthwhile for … Continue reading

2012 Plant Delights Nursery April Newsletter

I picked a lovely night to write to you from our home patio, where I’m sitting adjacent to the falling water sound of the Mt. Michelle waterfall, punctuated by the intermittent peeps from nearby mating frogs, each in search of … Continue reading

2011 Plant Delights Nursery March Newsletter

Howdy folks and welcome to spring! Alright, I know that’s rubbing it in to those of you in the northern climatic zones, but here at Juniper Level, spring is in full swing. Even for those of you still suffering through … Continue reading

2011 Plant Delights Nursery February Newsletter

Unlike many gardeners in the upper states of the country who are still having winter, we’ve turned the corner and have been enjoying several days of spring-like temperatures. Hopefully, we won’t have too many of these days until the danger … Continue reading

2011 Plant Delights Nursery January Newsletter

We hope you’ve all received your 2011 catalogs by now. If not, it’s probably been confiscated by a postal carrier who also has a penchant for gardening, so give us a holler and we’ll send another. We were very honored … Continue reading

2010 Plant Delights Nursery January Newsletter

Dear PDN’ers: Whew…we made it though another year thanks to those of you who stuck with us during the last couple of years, when everyone’s budget was stretched to the point of breaking. I’m sure we’re all tired of the … Continue reading

2009 Plant Delights Nursery April Newsletter

Greetings from Juniper Level and we hope you’re having a great spring. Other than a couple of cold spells, we’ve had a near perfect spring with cool temperatures and timely rains. Only recently have we seen a few days in … Continue reading

2008 Plant Delights Nursery December Newsletter

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year’s greetings from Plant Delights. We hope you’re having a great holiday season and are already anticipating the upcoming spring season. Much of the country has experienced an early blast of winter, unseen in some … Continue reading

2008 Plant Delights Nursery July Newsletter

We hope everyone is having a great summer and preparing for your visit to PDN for our Summer Open House, July 11-13 and 18-20. The gardens look fabulous and I’m sure you’re likely to see a few things that will … Continue reading

2006 Plant Delights Nursery December Newsletter

The 2007 Plant Delights Nursery catalog is in the mail! If you just can’t wait, the Plant Delights Nursery website has already been updated to the new catalog, so click away at www.plantdelights.com. With 160 new offerings as well as … Continue reading

2006 Plant Delights Nursery April Newsletter

Howdy folks, and I hope everyone is having a great spring as is the case at Juniper Level. So far, the late spring frosts haven’t been too bad. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that we are finished with winter, but … Continue reading

2005 Plant Delights Nursery February Newsletter

It’s been great to see everyone this spring at the CENTS and New England Grows Trade Shows. Now, the speaking season switches to homeowner groups, which have also been superb this spring. Speaking of traveling, I’ve recently returned from a … Continue reading