Plant Delights June 2016 Newsletter

Greetings from Plant Delights and Juniper Level Botanic Garden.

Salvia nutans

Salvia nutans – Coming Soon

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 let-up in moisture. Of course, constant rain can also spell trouble for some more dryland-loving plants like the new perennial snapdragons we’re testing. While the majority of plants we trial from other breeders don’t pass our NC stress test, it is always nice to have a truly stressful spring to let us know what plants are really tough and will survive.

Growth in the garden has been amazing this spring, and the summer show is shaping up to be the best ever. There’s just so much to see in the summer, we really hope you’ll make plans to attend our upcoming Open Nursery and Garden Days, July 8-10 and 15-17. If you’re averse to heat, arrive early when the weather is still delightful, but don’t come without your camera.

Polianthes 'Pink Sapphire'

Polianthes ‘Pink Sapphire’ – Coming Soon

We’re already putting together our fall catalog and have many new exciting plants in store. Several fabulous new hardy hibiscus and salvias will be included and so much more.

2016 Open Nursery and Garden Dates

Summer
July 8 – 10 and July 15 – 17

Fall
September 9 – 11 and September 16 – 18

Friday and Saturday 8a-5p
Sunday 1-5p

Rain or Shine!
Free Parking!

Click for more info

Happy Open Nursery Days Shoppers

Happy Open Nursery Days Shoppers

The Future of Horticulture

Horticulture enrollments have always been a roller coaster ride, but with the job increases in the technology field, fewer and fewer students are migrating to careers with plants. With a wide range of career paths that includes farming, landscaping, greenhouse and nursery growing, plant breeding, and flower arranging, there is something for anyone who enjoys being around plants.

In a recent survey, only 48 percent of adults aged 18 to 34 said they are familiar with horticulture, as compared with 65 percent of older adults. And, while the majority of respondents view horticulture as essential to food, water, and the environment, only 26 percent strongly agree that horticulture is a diverse area of study that will lead to a fulfilling and respected career.

Cyrtomium lonchitoides

Cyrtomium lonchitoides

According to a 2015 employment outlook report from USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and Purdue University, a total of 35,400 U.S. students graduate each year with a bachelor’s degree or higher in agriculture-related fields—22,500 short of the 59,700 industry job openings available annually. No wonder it’s getting so hard to find good help.

To combat declining enrollments in horticulture programs and a lack of qualified industry workers, Longwood Gardens, The American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS), and 150 partner organizations announced the launch of the Seed Your Future initiative. The public rollout of Seed Your Future will officially begin in 2017, but fundraising to support the effort has already begun. You can learn more and make a donation to this effort at the Seed Your Future website.

Tom Ranney at JCRA

Tom Ranney at JCRA

There is a wonderful article about NCSU plant breeder Tom Ranney in the most recent issue of the trade magazine Nursery Manager. I expect many of you grow some of Tom’s introductions, even though you may not realize it. We hope you enjoy the article about one of the world’s top woody plant breeders.

We were pleased to be featured in the spring 2016 issue of Garden Design in a fern article by British garden writer Noel Kingsbury.

Industry News

Scott McMahan

Scott McMahan

Georgia plantsman Scott McMahan has closed his McMahan’s Nursery and sold his garden center, Garden Hood to his former manager, and returned to his previous career at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Scott has been an International plant explorer for many years and will now have the same job full-time with the garden.

A lightning-induced fire has put a damper on the run of Quality Cactus/Select Seeds of Texas. This unique wholesale nursery was the only source for many rare southwest/Mexican native plants from seedlings to mature specimens. Best of luck as they try and rebuild.

Wade Roitsch at Yucca Do

Wade Roitsch at Yucca Do

Our friends at Yucca Do Nursery are calling it quits after 28 years in the mail order nursery business. Owner Wade Roitsch is winding down operations now so, if you want any plants before the doors close, don’t delay. Wade and Carl will continue to explore in the search for new plants, so thankfully they’ll remain an important part of the horticultural community. It’s been a real honor for us to be able to work closely with them during the run of Yucca Do, and our horticultural hats are off to their incredible contribution to our industry and to our gardens.

Our friend and fellow plant explorer, Fred Spicer, has resigned his position as director of the Birmingham Botanic Gardens after over a decade at the helm. The garden has changed dramatically under his leadership, to become one of the major plant collections in the Southeast US. We wish Fred the best of luck in his next great adventure.

In Memoriam

The horticultural world has experienced several significant losses this spring.

Dr. Sam Jones, 83, of Piccadilly Farms in Georgia passed away on February 9. Sam was preceded in death by his wife of 56 years, Carleen. Sam was a professor of botany at the University of Georgia (1967-1991), and he and Carleen ran their side business, Piccadilly Farms. Piccadilly was the first US company to widely promote hellebores and the first to hold a hellebore festival. Sam and Carleen were awarded the Perennial Plant Association’s highest honor, the Award of Merit, in 2005. Piccadilly is now owned and operated by their daughter and son-in-law, Valerie and Bill Hinesley.

Robert Mackintosh, co-founder of Woodlanders Nursery in Aiken, SC, passed away on February 14 at the age of 90. Robert was preceded in death by his wife of 60 years, Julia. Robert enjoyed a career as a Harvard-educated Landscape Architect, while starting Woodlanders Nursery as a hobby in 1975. The nursery, now in its 41st, year is known internationally as a source of rare plants. Woodlanders Nursery is now in the hands of co-owners Bob McCartney and George Mitchell.

Judith and Dick Tyler

Judith and Dick Tyler

Hellebore specialist Judith Tyler, 70, co-founder of Pine Knot Nursery in Virginia, passed away suddenly on March 18, just a week after their annual Hellebore Festival. Judith had just been to a follow-up pneumonia appointment when doctors discovered she had late stage cancer only days before her death. Judith and her husband Dick have run Pine Knot Farms since 1983, during which time they have become known internationally as hellebore experts, due in part to their wonderful book, Hellebores: A Comprehensive Guide, with friend Cole Burrell.

9241-driveway-border-by-ghse-10-looking-south

Grower Needed

We are currently looking to fill our position for a greenhouse/nursery grower. If you or anyone you know might be interested in such a position, click here to learn more.

Connect with Us!

Until next month, connect and follow us and the cats on FacebookPinterest, Tony’s blog and Anita’s blog. We encourage you to sign up to follow our regular posts.

Happy Gardening!

~tony and anita

Campanula ‘Sarastro’

Campanula-Sarastro-mass-in-flower

One of my favorite spring perennials is Campanula ‘Sarastro’…here is a recent image from the garden.  Campanulas are a struggle for us…they either die in our summer heat or take over the garden.  One notable exception is the hybrid Campanula ‘Sarastro’, which we’ve grown since 2003, and it just gets better each year.  This gem came from Austria’s Sarastro nursery.  Coincidentally, we are fortunate to have Sarastro Nursery founder Christian Kress’s amazing daughter Kata, interning with us this summer.  It’s been a great opportunity for us both to learn from each other.11887985_10153618019163203_1945819917940317430_n

 

Kata Kress

Canna ‘Cleopatra’…split personality

Canna Cleopatra in flower

Canna x generalis ‘Cleopatra’

Here’s an image we just snapped of one of the craziest canna lilies we grow…Canna ‘Cleopatra’.  The purple and green random leaf patterns (chimeras) are stably unstable.  When the color splits the leaf, the same thing happens on the flower stalk.  Flowers on the purple side of the stalk are red, and those arising from the green side of the stalk are yellow with red spots.  Canna ‘Cleopatra’ is sure to evoke lots of comments in the garden.

 

Hosta parentage

Thanks for the great feedback on the hosta image.  Since most folks don’t have experience in plant breeding, we thought it might be interesting to share the crosses and parents involved to get to this point.  Our Hosta is PDN#10-004 and is a cross of PDN07-0793  x ((PDN05-156 x PDN04-180) (kikutii x ‘Gemstone’ (venusta ‘Minima’ x ‘Dorset Blue’) (longipes ‘Tardiflora’ x sieboldiana) x (venusta ‘Minima’ x self)) x PDN07-0100 ((‘Faith’ (‘Evening Magic’ (montana gold x sieboldiana) x ‘Big Daddy’ (‘Fortunei Robusta’) x PDN04-182) (kikutii x ‘Gemstone’) venusta ‘Minima’ x ‘Dorset Blue’ (longipes ‘Tardiflora x sieboldiana) x ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ (Blue Cadet sport))  So, the species included in creating this are Hosta venusta, sieboldiana, kikutii, longipes, and montana.

Pitcher Plants in flower…truly unique

Sarracenia leucophylla Tarnock flower closeup

Here are some recent images from the gardens here at Juniper Level of one of our favorite pitcher plants, Sarracenia leucophylla ‘Tarnok’. This amazing double-flowered pitcher plant was discovered in Alabama by plantsman Coleman Tarnok in the early 1970s.

Sarracenia leucophylla Tarnock in flower with pitchersHere is the clump growing in the garden.  Pitcher plants are quite easy to grow, provided the soil stays moist about 3-8″ below the surface.  They do not, however, like soil that remains waterlogged.  In both the ground and in pots, we grow our pitcher plants in pure peat moss.  Most pitcher plants are reliably winter hardy in Zone 5.  We hope you’ll give these a try in your garden.

 

Crinum ‘Improved Peachblow’

Crinum Improved Peachblow

Early June is an amazing time for crinum lilies in the gardens here at Juniper Level and here’s one of our favorites, photographed yesterday.  Crinum ‘Improved Peachblow‘ is simply amazing…great flower form, sturdy stems, pink buds that open white, and a fragrance that’ll make a honeysuckle jealous.  Crinum lilies are very easy to grow, but flower best in a moist, sunny location.

Favorites from this week in garden.

 

 

Dryopteris x australis3There’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.  This 3-4′ tall fern grows well in moist or fairly dry soils.  Here’s the clump beside our shipping office. Epimedium Splish Splash

Epimedium ‘Splish Splash’ is in its second flowering spurt of the spring.  This re-flowering Plant Delights introduction is really quite special, both in foliage and in flower.

 

Eucomis Sparkling Burgundy combo with Verbena Lavender Frappe

Here’s a fun color echo combination of Eucomis ‘Sparkling Burgundy‘ and Verbena ‘Lavender Frappe’.  The textural difference in the two plants makes this vignette visually appealing.  Baptisia Pink Truffles3

 

Here’s our clump of Baptisia ‘Pink Truffles’ from the breeding work of our friend Hans Hansen at Walters Gardens.  This is the first named pink flowered baptisia….we are very pleased with its performance.Clematis recta Lime Close foliageClematis recta ‘Lime Close’ has been amazing this spring.  For years, I was under the mistaken impression that this wouldn’t grow in our heat…I was very wrong.  The non-vining Clematis ‘Lime Close’ is often sold under the marketing name Serious Black.  I love this plant!

 

Anole Love

We love our color-changing, native Carolina anoles.  He are some recent photos from the garden.Anole on yucca leaf

Hello…need some auto insurance.  Just kidding!

Anole on yucca leaf3

 

 

 

I’m looking for a mate…are you a mate?

Anole love

That’s more my speed…love in the afternoon…at Juniper Level Botanic Garden.

 

Purple Haze Cat Nip

Nepeta Purple Haze by gh10Here’s a shot I took of my favorite catnip in the garden, Nepeta ‘Purple Haze’.  It’s been looking like this for the past few weeks in the garden.  It looks quite different from other catnips on the market, but we think it’s pretty special. Full sun and well-drained soil are all it requires.

 

Pitcher plants in flower

Sarracenia leucophylla Sumter in flowerHere’s an image we just took in the gardens of Sarracenia leucophylla ‘Sumter’.  In our opinion, it doesn’t get much better than this. All hardy pitcher plants have these amazing other worldly flowers, and most are winter hardy in Zones 5 and 6.  All our sarracenias are planted in straight peat moss, about 8″ deep inside a pond liner that has holes cut along the edges so the water doesn’t stay too high.  No fertilizer ever and you certainly don’t have to worry about insects.

 

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 weekend to see these amazing plants in person, but if not, here are some recently taken images.Arachnioides standishii emerging

The upside down fern, Arachnioides standishii is so texturally amazing, especially as it emerges in spring.Astilbe chinensis Amber Moon foliage

I love the gold foliage of Astilbe chinensis ‘Amber Moon’.  We can’t grow many astilbes due to our summer heat, but as you can see, this one thrives.Asarum nobilissimum King Kong flowers with hand

Here’s photo showing the flower size of Asarum ‘King Kong‘…it’s truly other-worldly…a wild ginger on steroids.Athyrium Ocean's Fury2Another of our favorite silver-foliage ferns, Athyrium ‘Ocean’s Fury‘…what a star in the woodland garden.  We just love the color and texture.  If you can’t visit us, we hope you’ll  spend time in your own garden this weekend and embrace the joy that plants add to our lives.

 

It’s time for our Spring Open Nursery and Garden Days

It’s finally here…the time we share the gardens and open the nursery to the public. Starting tomorrow (Friday) morning, we welcome visitors to stroll the gardens and shop till you drop for cool perennials. Click here for times and directions.  The gardens here and Juniper Level look absolutely fabulous.  Below are a few images of what you’ll see.

2014 9249 patio toward waterfall

2014 9249 combo on patio with Penstemon digitalis

Plant combinations abound throughout the gardens giving you ideas for your garden spaces at home.

Trichocereus Big Time flowers

Here are a few of the gems you’ll find scattered around the garden.  Many of the cactus are flowering this week including Trichocereus ‘Big Time’

Notocactus apricus in flower

Notocactus apricus is another favorite winter hardy cactus.

Trillium flexicpes A2AL-086

Trilliums are everywhere with over 1000+ selected clones as well as many of our seed-propagated selections for sale.

Sarracenia x moorei PDN002 in flower

Pitcher plants are in full flower throughout the gardens and nursery…a sight not to be missed.

Hosta Autumn Frost3

Of course, who can resist great hostas like Hosta ‘Autumn Frost’

For spring, we’ve added a series of short garden chats in the garden that Tony will lead. There is no charge or pre-registration required…just bring your questions

Friday April 29 @ 9am – Gardening in Sun

Friday April 29 @ 11am – Gardening in Shade

Friday April 29 @ 3pm – Hosta Breeding and Evaluation at PDN/JLBG

Saturday April 30 @ 9am – Soil preparation and planting

Saturday April 30 @ 11am – Growing Agaves in North Carolina

Saturday April 30 @ 3pm – Growing Peonies in the South

Carex ‘Silk Tassel’

Carex morrowii Silk Tassel emerging2We’ve been growing Carex ‘Silk Tassel’ for nearly three decades and it is one of our woodland ornamental grasses.  The very narrow variegated leaves are an absolutely delightful texture, although it’s hard to photograph well.  Here’s our latest attempt to capture it as the new growth emerges in the garden this week.

 

Hostas emerging

Hosta Designer Genes emerging

Here are a couple of hosta photos from the garden this weekend.  Above is one of my favorite early spring emergers…Hosta ‘Designer Genes’.   It truly glows in the gardens, contrasting nicely with the burgundy bases.

 

Hosta You're So Vein8This is our 2016 introduction, the dwarf Hosta ‘You’re So Vein’ with prominent leaf veins, especially bright in early spring.

 

Fern zombies awaken in the garden

Close up image of Coniogramme gracillis unfurling
Coniogramme gracillis unfurling

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.  The first is the bamboo fern, coniogramme.

Close up image of Lepisorus tosaensis unfurling
Lepisorus tosaensis unfurling

Lepisorus or ribbon ferns, with their long narrow fronds are quite unique.

Matteuccia The King with new and old fronds
Matteuccia The King with new and old fronds

Matteucia or ostrich fern emerges alongside last years’ spore bearing fronds providing an interesting contrast.

Onoclea sensibilis Supersize with summer and winter fronds.
Onoclea sensibilis Supersize with summer and winter fronds.
Osmunda cinnamomea emerging
Osmunda cinnamomea emerging
Osmunda cinnamomea unfurling
Osmunda cinnamomea unfurling

Onoclea, aka sensitive fern does the same, holding both the new fronds alongside the old fertile fronds from the prior season..  Ferns like this are called dimorphic, which means they have two different frond types…fertile and non-fertile.  Most ferns pack light and have both on the same frond. 

Osmunda regalis unfurling
Osmunda regalis unfurling

The two images above are our native Osmunda cinnamomea or Cinnamon fern.  The hairy croziers are just amazing.  Recent taxonomy has actually kicked this out of the genus Osmunda and created a new genus, Osmundastrum.   Hmmm.

Polystichum acrostichoides unfurling
Polystichum acrostichoides unfurling

Here is its cousin, Osmunda regalis or royal fern…another great US native that’s also native in Europe and Asia.

Polystichum makinoi unfurling
Polystichum makinoi unfurling
Polystichum makinoi unfurling
Polystichum makinoi unfurling

This is the lovely native Polystichum acrostichoides or Christmas fern…also wonderfully hairy as it emerges.

Polystichum tagawanum unfurling
Polystichum tagawanum unfurling

Here are two images of the Asian tassel fern, Polystichum makinoi that we took a week apart as the croziers unfurled.

Pteris vittata unfurling
Pteris vittata unfurling

The lovely Asian, brown-haired  Polystichum tagawanum.

Thelypteris lindheimeri crozier
Thelypteris lindheimeri crozier

Our winter hardy form of the table fern, Pteris vittata

Woodsia subcordata emerging
Woodsia subcordata emerging

A single picture perfect crozier of the Texas native, Thelypteris lindheimeri

And finally, the dwarf Woodsia subcordata.  How can you fail to find joy in this amazing spring rebirth?  We hope you’ll visit our fern offerings and choose some of these deer resistant gems for your own garden.

Four favorites flowering today in the garden

Epimedium Pink Champagne clump in flower

 

Epimedium ‘Pink Champagne’ is dazzling today in the garden, both for the great foliage and floral show.

Euphorbia x martinii Ascot Rainbow in full flower

 

Euphorbia x martinii ‘Ascot Rainbow’…WOW.  Variegated foliage and very cool flowers.  The key to growing this well is good drainage and immediately after flower, cut it back to near the ground.

Clematis ochroleuca Penny's Bend in flower

 

Clematis ochroleuca is an amazing dwarf bush clematis native to North Carolina and Virginia, yet winter hardy in Minnesota.  This is one of our favorite late winter plants.

Paeonia ostii clump in garden in flower

 

The first peony of the season is the Chinese tree peony, Paeonia ostii.  Untouched by late frosts, this gem is just wrapping up its floral show.  This is one peony that’s as thrilled with summer heat and humidity as it is with polar vortexes.  Yes, we are currently sold out…sorry.

New Plants for sale added to the website

 

 

 

 

 

Anemonella thalictroides Cameo(64564)

 

We’ve recently added over 60 new plants for sale to the website.  These represent plants that we simply can’t produce in large enough numbers for the print catalog including quite a few rarieties. These include four of our native woodland perennial anemonellas. Above is Anemonella ‘Cameo’

 

Anemonella thalictroides Double White(64573)

Below is the very hard to find, Anemonella ‘Double White’

 

Anemonella thalictroides Shoaf's Double4(64146)

The very popular Anemonella ‘Shoaf’s Double Pink’

Anemonella thalictroides Shozaki(64574)The very new Anemonella ‘Shozaki’.

 

Helleborus x ballardiae HGC Spring Party clump in flower

We’ve also added 22 more hellebores to our extensive offering.  Here are a few hellebore photos from the gardens this week.  Above is Helleborus x ballardiae ‘HGC Spring Party’..one of the sterile selections.

 

Helleborus x ballardiae Merlin clump in flower

Helleborus x ballardiae ‘Merlin‘ is simply amazing with its dusky purple flowers…also sterile.

Helleborus x ericsmithii HGC Joker clump in flower

 

Helleborus x ericsmithii ‘HGC Joker’ – sterile and have you ever seen this many flowers on a single clump!  We hope you find something special in our new offerings!

Sweet box begin sweet

Sarcococca hookeriana v. humilis purple stem in flower closeup

One of the great winter-flowering evergreen perennials is in full flower now.  Sarcococca hookeriana var. humilis, aka sweet box is a fascinating boxwood relative that forms a dense groundcover in shade.  What make sweet box special are the intensely fragrant flowers toward the end of winter.  All sarcococca are similar in form and flowering, varying mainly in height and fruit color.

A Mindful Finch

Blind house finch at feeder

 

After finishing a recent lunch, I headed outside on the porch to fill our bird feeders.  Normally, all the birds instinctively retreat to a safe distance, awaiting their new snack, but something was different this day.  A solitary house finch remained, seemingly oblivious as I re-filled the feeder.  Why, I wondered, did it not fly away with the other birds, and then I noticed that it was blind. Researching further, I learned about finch mycoplasma (which also affect plants), is a disease that robs birds of sight, and often their life.

As sad as the finch plight was, it was amazing to watch the finch using its other senses to fearlessly continue to eat. The finch reinforced many of the lessons I’ve been learning…embrace all of our functional senses each moment and do so without judgment or fear, as none of us are guaranteed anything beyond the present.  What society labels disabilities are only so if we label them as such.  The natural world has many lessons to share if we’re mindful enough to observe.

Beesia – have you met yet?

Beesia calthafolia emerging2

 

Do you know beesia?  Outside of the plant collector world, few people have heard of this obscure member of the Ranunculus family…first cousin to hellebores, thalictrum, and clematis.  There are only two species, both native to moist woodland soils at high elevations in the Himalayas.  Surprisingly, Beesia calthifolia thrives in our heat and humidity almost as well as it does in the cool Pacific Northwest.  The beautiful mature foliage resembles a cross of wild ginger and galax and is about the same stature.  If you have a woodland garden in Zone 6a-8b, we hope you’ll give this a try.

Carex ‘Everillo’ in flower

Carex oshimensis Everillo in flower

 

We’ve raved about the gold-foliaged, evergreen Carex oshimensis ‘Everillo’, but always for the foliage. Today, we want to rave about its amazing floral show.  Here are photos from the garden taken yesterday as it sports its late-winter flowers.  We trim the old foliage back to better enjoy the show

Helleborus lividus in flower

Helleborus lividus clump in flower

 

We love the little-known Helleborus lividus, so here’s a photo of one of our clumps in the gardens today. Unlike most better known lenten roses, this amazing Spanish native loves heat and sun.  Helleborus lividus isn’t hardy north of Zone 7b, and without summer heat, it looses even more winter hardiness.  This is a gem for the deep south, but also makes a great container specimen for those in colder climates.

 

Cyclamen coum in flower

Cyclamen coum PDN008 in flower

We’d like to sing the praises of the amazing Cyclamen coum.  Here are photos from the garden today.  These start flowering for us in mid-February and continue until April, after which time, they go summer dormant, re-emerging in fall.  The secret to success is to plant them near trees/shrubs where they will remain dry in the summer.

Cyclamen coum PDN009 in flower

A white-flowered Cyclamen coum.  Cyclamen are grown from seed, so each plants is slightly different including flower color.

Cyclamen coum PDN016 in flowerA lovely solid silver-leaf Cyclamen coum.  How many folks already enjoy these winter-flowering gems in the garden?

 

Trout lilies in flower

Erythronium rostratum A2AL-065

 

Among many flowers in the garden today are the native trout lilies, Erythronium rostratum (Ohio to Texas).  This small woodland ephemeral perennial is amazing, both for its foliage and flowers.  By May, it’s gone to sleep for the summer.  We are growing these from seed, which should take 2-3 years to have flowering-size plants to share.  Would anyone purchase these if we had them available?

Tibouchina foliage in winter

Tibouchina urvelliana Variegata in winter foliage

I just took this photo of the the amazing Tibouchina urvilleana ‘Variegata‘ sporting its winter colors.  As temperatures in our cold frame hover around the mid-30’s – 40s, the foliage takes on this amazing purple overlay. When temps drop much below freezing, tibouchina becomes deciduous, but if you have a cool greenhouse or sun room, what a gem.   Who needs those incredible purple flowers when you have foliage like this?

Open Nursery and Garden Hellebores in flower

 

 

 

 

 

 

Helleborus Anna's Red flower closeup

If you weren’t able to make it to our Winter Open Gardens and Nursery, here are some hellebore photos we took this morning.  The first is the amazing Helleborus ‘Anna’s Red’.  We’ll be adding more hellebores on-line after open house ends tomorrow (Sunday), but we really hope you can join us to see the nursery and gardens in person!

Helleborus x ballardiae HGC Pink Frost

Helleborus x ballardiae ‘HGC Pink Frost’…it just gets better each year.

Helleborus x ericsmithii HGC Joker

Helleborus x ericsmithii ‘HGC Joker’

Helleborus x hybridus PDN328 dbl pnk clump

Helleborus x hybridus Double Pink

Helleborus x hybridus PDN0336 cream w viol blotch

Helleborus x hybridus Cream with violet blotch

Helleborus x hybridus PDN362 pk spt anem

Helleborus x hybridus Pink spotted anemone type

Helleborus x hybridus PDN372 pntd dbls

Helleborus x hybridus ‘Painted Doubles’

Helleborus x hybridus PDN374 dbl pk

Helleborus x hybridus Double Pink

Helleborus x hybridus PDN376 dbl violet pk edge

Helleborus x hybridus Double pink with violet spots

Helleborus x hybridus PDN389 wht viol edge anem

Helleborus x hybridus White with violet border

Helleborus x hybridus PDN427 violet anemone

Helleborus x hybridus Violet Anemone

Helleborus x hybridus PDN431 viol wht edge

Helleborus x hybridus Violet with white edge

Helleborus x hybridus PDn453b pk spt anem

 

Helleborus x hybridus pink spotted anemone type

Agaves and Mangaves

Agave victoriae-reginae PDN018 winter before flowering

We are very excited to see that we have at least 9 agaves so far that will be flowering in 2016.  Above is a recent photo of Agave victoriae-reginae where you can see the bud forming in the center where the leaves have become reduced in size.  While we lose the agaves after flowering, we are able to make crosses and create more new and unqiue agaves.  We also share pollen with plant breeder Hans Hansen, who crosses them with manfredas to create some amazing mangaves as pictured below, which we are pleased to introduce for 2016

x Mangave Kaleidoscope - Jaguar with cream edge WG285-9 at Walters(64484)

Mangave ‘Kaleidoscope’ makes a superb container plant where it isn’t hardy in the ground.  It should be fine outdoors from Zone 7b south.

xMangave Moonglow (M. Bloodspot x M. Choc Chip x )(Walters)(64486)

Mangave ‘Moonglow‘ with its large dark purple spots is the smallest of the three. The foliage of all is incredible pliable unlike most agaves.

xMangave Pineapple Express at Walters4(64487)A third introduction for 2016 is Mangave ‘Pineapple Express’…the fastest growing of these three.  These will fill out a container in no time and are great for summer patio containers.

 

 

 

Plant Delights February 2016 Newsletter

Greetings from Plant Delights Nursery and Juniper Level Botanic Garden.

Now hiring shippers!

Now hiring shippers!

We hope you’ve received your 2016 Plant Delights Nursery catalog. If you’re an active customer and haven’t seen yours, drop us an email and we’ll send a catalog. If you’re not an active customer (haven’t purchased recently), you may shop online or order a printed copy. If you’re a garden writer/blogger, garden celebrity, local garden guru, etc., just let us know and we’ll be glad to add you to our complimentary permanent catalog mailing list.

Only a few weeks remain before we begin shipping plants again starting the first week of March. This means we’re beginning to hire seasonal shippers to help during our busy spring season. So, if you’re interested in joining us and are physically fit, please let us hear from you.

Visit Us During Open Nursery and Garden Days

Grading the road near Greenhouse 14

Grading the road near
Greenhouse 14

Our first Open Nursery and Garden days for 2016 are only a short time away. Winter Open Days are actually one of our best attended events, so if you haven’t dropped by, we hope you’ll join us this year. Winter is a great time to see the structure of the garden before the spring flush. In NC, it doesn’t take much gardening prowess to have a nice spring garden, but if your garden looks good in winter, it will be fabulous the rest of the year. You’ll also be amazed how many plants actually flower in the winter season when few people venture out to garden centers. Did we mention our open nursery days also offer the chance to select your own seed-grown flowering hellebores in person?

Renovations are in full swing as we continue with our entrance, exit drive, and parking lot enhancements. You’ll see the progress we’ve made during our upcoming Winter Open Nursery and Garden Days, although neither project will be completed.

2016 Open Nursery and Garden Dates

Winter
February 26 – 28 and March 4 – 6

Spring
April 29 – May 1 and May 6 – May 8

Summer
July 8 – 10 and July 15 – 17

Fall
September 9 – 11 and September 16 – 18

Friday and Saturday 8a-5p
Sunday 1-5p

Rain or Shine!
Free Parking!

Click for more info

Happy Open Nursery Days Shoppers

Happy Open Nursery Days Shoppers

Sign Up for New Classes at PDN/JLBG

We have a super list of classes scheduled for 2016 with topics from soil to propagation, and from botanical illustration to relaxing your body. We hope you’ll join us for some of these educational and stimulating events.

Anita will be leading our expanded series of thought-provoking mindfulness and meditation classes, and botanical artist Preston Montague will be teaching us how to illustrate the natural world.

In the Winter Botanic Garden

Helleborus 'HGC Joker'

Helleborus ‘HGC Joker’

Here in eastern NC, we’ve had a mild winter so far, with only one night below 20 degrees F, compared to 2013/2014 when we had thirteen nights below 20 degrees F during the same period. The January ice/freezing rain storm left quite a few memories by removing a couple of large evergreen specimens (one persea and a magnolia) from the garden, while pruning limbs from several other specimens. No structural damage resulted.

Because the temperatures were so mild early in fall/winter, some plants starting growing much sooner than normal including many of the hellebores. The new growth on a few hellebores was kissed by the cold and is looking a bit black, but the next round of new growth will be fine. A few of our later hellebores are already in flower and, in most cases, the flowers can take quite a bit of freezing since they’ve learned how to lose turgidity during very cold weather and regain it when the temperatures warm.

We prefer to remove the old, tattered hellebore foliage to improve the floral show, but we always wait until the flower buds are showing color and have risen above the old leaves. We do this so the old leaves will keep the developing flower buds in shade and consequently cooler, which in turn delays flowering.

Trillium underwoodii

Trillium underwoodii

Many of the southern trilliums also emerged a bit early this year, although they can tolerate temperatures in the teens F once they’ve emerged…just not too many nights of those temps. This year we saw Trillium foetidissimum, Trillium underwoodii, and Trillium recurvatum up in December.

Bananas, cannas, crinum lilies, podophyllums, and the winter growing Zantedeschia aethiopica (calla) have also tried growing above ground several times this winter, getting nature-slapped repeatedly. Fortunately, these have an abundance of underground dormant eyes that will continue to resprout.

The foliage on our lycoris (surprise lilies) looks the best we can remember for this time of year. The longer the foliage grows undamaged, the more food is going into the bulb. It’s looking like we’ll have an exceptional bloom season this summer. We hope you’re going to try several of the choice new surprise lilies that we’re bringing to market for the first time.

Our Research Programs in the Garden and Nursery

Ensete maurelii

Ensete maurelii

We’re always conducting horticultural research, both in the field and the nursery. One of the most recent mad scientist quests was to see if we could cause a non-offsetting banana to offset. Our subject for the experiment was the lovely Ensete maurelii, which is a genus of solitary-trunked banana relatives. We were curious to learn if ensetes had dormant buds around the base that were simply kept from sprouting by the plant’s auxin hormones.

To answer the question, we severed the auxin translocation system by slicing through the stalk about one inch above the soil level. Once the knife came out the other side of the stalk, we applied down pressure until the knife emerged through the root. Next, we rotated the stalk 90 degrees and repeated the process. To our surprise, after eight weeks, the crown began to sprout pups…up to fifteen per plant. This practice, called crown cutting or rossisizing, has long been used on hostas, but now we can use it to multiply some of the rarer bananas and their relatives.

Kudos…

Congratulations to Florida plantsman Adam Black who was named the new Director of Horticulture at Peckerwood Gardens in Texas. We look forward to watching Adam put his stamp on this already amazing garden.

Passages

We were saddened to lose plantsman and garden writer Allen Lacy, 80, in December. The former NY Times/Wall Street Journal garden columnist and philosophy professor was given a second lease on life after defying death and giving up his former hard-living lifestyle. He subsequently established the Linwood Arboretum in his home state of New Jersey, all while receiving dialysis. Our thoughts are with his widow, Hella, and their children.

This Christmas season also marked the passing of our friend Rene Duval who, along with his surviving partner of 43 years, Dick Weaver, started the well-known North Carolina mail order nursery, We-Du. In the 1980s, the Polly Spout (near Marion, NC) based We-Du Nursery was one of the most important sources of new and unusual perennials in the country. The opportunity to visit and chat with Dick and Rene was always special, as was the chance to buy plants that were unknown and unavailable elsewhere. After retirement, Dick and Rene moved first to Puerto Rico, then to North Central Florida. Dick, who originally worked at Arnold Arboretum, plans to move north to Pennsylvania to be closer to family. Our thoughts are with him.

Connect with Us!

Until next month, connect and follow us and the cats on FacebookPinterest, Tony’s blog and Anita’s blog. We encourage you to sign up to follow our regular posts.

Happy Gardening!

tony and anita

We’re Hiring!

Shipping garage 03.2.2015

We have begun the hiring of seasonal shippers to help get all those plants out the door and to their new families.  Peak season is from March through June, but could continue longer, so if you live nearby, are physically (and mentally) fit, and have time available, we’d love to hear from you. Dave and Thomas building fence in snowWe also have one immediate opening for a Full-time Maintenance and Facilities Specialist if you happen to have such skills, or have someone with those skills nearby.

You may click on the embedded links for more details and contact information

 

 

 

Photos from the winter garden

Erythronium mesochorum A1AR-037b in flower

The native midwestern trout lily, Erythronium mesochorum showed it’s lovely face for the first time this week.  We sowed lots of seed last year, so hopefully we’ll have enough to share in a couple more years.

 

Helleborus niger Jesko forming seed

Even after the early flowers of the Christmas rose, Helleborus niger, finish, the lovely green petals and developing seed pods are quite attractive.

Iris unguicularis v. cretensis Katsifu Gorge flower

The Iris unguicularis have been amazing this winter.  This is our collection from Crete, where they grew in large grass-like masses.  Although this clone isn’t as floriferous as some we grow, the intensity of the color is quite special, and like all of the forms from Crete, the foliage is quite short.  We may have enough of this for a 2017 introduction.

Pachysandra procumbens Angola in flower

For the first time in several years, we are able to share our superb collection of  the native, evergreen Pachysandra procumbens ‘Angola’, that we collected near Angola prison.  This is the earliest, most vigorous, and most fragrant flowering form of this superb native that we’ve ever encountered.

 

Silene virginica Jackson Valentine winter rosette

 

Not only is Silene virginiana ‘Jackson Valentine’ superb in flowers, but it’s also pretty nice with its purple winter foliage.

Aucubas in flower

Aucuba japonica male flowers - form A

 

We have a thing for aucubas that gotten well out of hand.  Of course, you could say the same for many plant groups.  I was photographing in the garden this week and snapped this photo of a male aucuba in flower.  Most people who grow aucubas often opt for females, since they produce nice red fruit, but there will usually be no fruit without a male nearby.  While I love aucuba fruit, I think the males are the most stunning.  How many shrubs do you know that flower in the winter time?  We’d love to offer more male clones if anyone would purchase them.

 

 

New hostas for 2016

 

Hosta You're So Vein PDN04-331 (longipes x op) x BME) - Copy(64421)

 

We are pleased to introduce two new miniature hostas from our own breeding program for 2016.  Many years ago, we began work to create miniature hostas with good vigor and good multiplication rates.  The first few years resulted in hostas that were either miniature or vigorous, but not both.  After several generations, our goals were realized and these are the first two introductions from that work.  Hosta ‘You’re So Vein’ is a 2004 cross… a hybrid of Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ with unique leaf veins, which are most prominent in the early season.

Hosta Sun Mouse(64510)

 

Hosta ‘Sun Mouse’ is our other 2016 introduction of a cross we made back in 2007.  This is also a hybrid and not a sport of Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’.  The vigor is outstanding as is the multiplication rate and leaf thickness.  The foliage color also holds very well through the summer.  We predict both of these will become standard with collectors of small and miniature hostas.  We hope you’ll enjoy them both, but remember that quantities of both are limited.

Mindfulness in the garden today

I was thinking about Anita’s Mindfulness class next weekend, and thought I’d take another ice walk this morning and see what I’d observe if I wasn’t looking for anything in particular.  For those who are familiar with mindfulness, it’s simply, being present, which most of aren’t….learn more here.  Below are a few images from my stroll. bird tracks in ice

Bird footprints

Cat tracks in ice

Feline footprints

Footprint and catprint in ice

Homo sapiens followed by hungry feline

Footprint in ice3

Homo sapiens trying to escape hungry feline

Possum print in ice

Something playing possum in the snow

Deer tracks in ice2

Deer, Deer…footprints of a wood goat.

water flow print in ice

 

Water flow frozen in place.   Snow and ice are like website cookies….they make it really easy to track visitors and see where they go.

Ice swirl

Nature art….a cool, make that cold, puddle of water.

Deer fence in ice Deer fence in ice5 Deer fence in ice6

Who thinks of deer fence (above) as an interesting winter art feature in the garden?  Mindfulness allows you to see things you might normally miss.

Goat trials in ice

 

One of our research areas clothed in ice

 

 

 

9249 patio toward east in ice storm

Just outside our back door this morning.

Grevelia Poorinda Leane in flower in ice

Grevellia ‘Poorinda Leane’ isn’t missing a beat.

Nothoscordum sellowianum buds under ice

and Nothoscordum sellowianum keeps on flowering.  Remember….spring is coming soon! We hope to see you at Anita’s Mindfulness class on January 30, 10am-noon.

Bluebell Giants – Our new agave hybrids

Agave x protoamericana 45-79 in spike

Agave x protoamericana

 

Agave Belleville3

 

Agave salmiana var. ferox ‘Bellville’

One of the fun projects our JLBG research division has been working on for several years is breeding for winter hardy century plants. One of our latest crosses is between the two plants pictured above, Agave x protoamericana (blue) and Agave salmiana var. ferox ‘Bellville’ (green).  These are the two largest agaves that are winter hardy for us, and we were able to cross them in 2014.  We are offering seed grown offspring while they last under the name Agave ‘Bluebell Giants’.  In most cases, our other hybrid agaves are larger and more vigorous than the parents, which in this cases could be HUGE!   These seed-grown plants have now filled our 1 qt pots and we’ll be planting our first plants in the garden in spring.  If you like giant agave and love to experiment along with us, don’t miss this once in a lifetime opportunity.

Soil Preparation for the new garden section at JLBG

9205 leaves added to beds west of house site2

The Soil is Alive!  Practicing our theme for the year, several feet of compost are added to each new bed and mixed with the existing native soil.  In this case, we are using fresh leaves collected by the local municipality, which will be mixed until it turns a rich black color.  These beds are the start of the newest section of garden around our new house site.

9205 bermuda planting installaton3

 

These new berms just installed by Sauls Road are composed of older compost, also mixed 50/50 with our native soil.  Planting began this week, so be sure and notice how fast these grow in well-prepared soil, when you visit us on future Open Nursery and Garden days.

Winter update from PDN/JLBG

Iris unguicularis Mary Bernard flower(64321)

 

It’s been an amazingly mild winter in NC so far, with the the winter-flowering Iris unguicularis blooming their proverbial heads off.  We’ve worked for years to build up stock of these amazing, but hard-to-find gems, because we feel they should be grown in every Zone 6b-9b garden.

Also, only two days remain before we launch the 2016 Plant Delights Nursery catalog on-line.  When that happens, over 600 of the plants that are currently available in small quantities will disappear to make room for the new plants.  If there is something that you’ve been meaning to order, this is your last chance because of the large number of new plants we offer each year means we must constantly remove equally wonderful offerings to make way for new items.  In the meantime, we’re counting down for the new catalog launch on Thursday December 31!

Christmas Full Moon at Juniper Level BG/PDN

Christmas Full Moon at JLBG2

 

What a beautiful Christmas Day here at Juniper Level that continues into the evening with short-sleeved shirt weather.  Fortunately, the clouds just parted to allow a few photos of the rare Christmas full moon, which hasn’t occurred since 1977.  Anita and I hope you’re all having a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful holiday season.  For me the greatest gift of all is having such an amazing wife with whom to share this wonderful life.   And to all of you who continue to support our mission…a heartfelt thank you!

Plant Delights November 2015 Newsletter

Greetings PDNers!

From all of us at Plant Delights Nursery and Juniper Level Botanic Garden, we give thanks to you for joining our plant-loving family.

Shipping Season Ends Soon

We’re wrapping up our 2015 shipping season on November 30, so if you’ve put off making your fall order, better hurry. We’ll begin shipping again in mid-February, but will try to accommodate any horticultural emergencies between now and then as the weather and our staffing will allow.

Order PDN Gift Certificates for the Holidays

We’ll continue to make Plant Delights gift certificates available, since these are the perfect gift for the gardeners on your list.

A handwritten Plant Delights Nursery Gift Certificate

  • Makes the perfect Hostess gift for your next soiree
  • Makes the perfect gift for Teachers (Way better than a coffee mug!)
  • Has no fees and never expires
  • Can be accompanied by our color catalog and a note with your personalized sentiment
  • Can be emailed as well for fast delivery

PDN Gift Certificate

Check off your shopping list with a PDN Gift Certificate!

PDN’s 2016 Spring Catalog Coming Soon

We’ve been busy writing and assembling the 2016 Plant Delights Nursery catalog, which is now in the design phase. Only a few more weeks before it heads off to the printer on the journey that will land it in mailboxes early in 2016. As always, the catalog will feature over 500 treasures including nearly 100 first time offerings.

Fall in Juniper Level Botanic Garden

Dahlia imperialis

Dahlia imperialis

We’ve enjoyed wonderful fall gardening weather, which featured mild temperatures and a crazy amount of moisture. Thank goodness we missed the deluge that occurred three hours south in South Carolina, where they endured 26″ of rain in a single storm. As you can imagine, plant growth in the gardens this fall has been nothing short of miraculous. Most pitcher plants form new pitchers in spring and fall and, as long as I’ve been growing them, they are truly exceptional with all the moisture this year.

Other plants enjoying an exceptional fall include our fall-flowering Gladiolus ‘Halloweenie’, the giant tree dahlias, Dahlia imperialis, and the stunning Salvia regla. The winter-flowering Iris unguicularis is now beginning to bloom. We and the honeybees have enjoyed great flowering on the fatsias in the garden. We love those alien-like flower spikes in November. Even the dazzling Schefflera delavayi has flowered beautifully sans frost, and seems to be setting another excellent crop of seed.

Projects Around the Gardens

Iris unguicularis

Iris unguicularis

We have a number of fall/winter projects underway including renovations and hedge removal along our nursery and garden entry and exit drive. We’re recycling sections of concrete from the new property to use in constructing a new rock garden section. Weather permitting, we’ll have something new for you to see in spring.

We’ve also finally broken ground on our new retirement bungalow and begun ground-shaping and berm building on the new property, incorporating compost from our nursery. Each fall we receive 400-500 tons of leaves from the local municipality, which are composted here and added to the gardens. As much as it pains us to see people discarding such wonderful resources, we are thrilled to be the recipients.

New Online Customer Reviews Added

We’ve recently added customer reviews to the Plant Delights website, so we hope you’d be willing to take time and share comments on your favorite plants and education center classes. You can do that on the individual product pages here.

Also, these websites have general business reviews, so we’d really love it if you would also review Plant Delights Nursery!

PDN/JLBG Classes

Anita in the Garden

Anita in the Garden

We’ve already posted our greatly expanded education center schedule for 2016 on the PDN and JLBG websites. Because Anita’s first class in 2015 was so well received, we’re kicking off the new year with another Mindfulness in the Garden Retreat on January 30.

Anita will lead you through simple sensory exercises to soothe the body and open the heart. If you’re ready to reduce stress and suffering, you’ll enjoy this intimate opportunity to experience the peaceful and healing effects of sensing the garden from your heart.

Seating for this class is limited and pre-registration is required at 919-772-4794. The class fee is $40. Click here for more information on any of our 2016 classes or call 919-772-4794.

You may learn more about Anita at http://AnitaAvent.com or read her wonderful Sensuous Garden Blog.

Open Nursery and Garden Dates for 2016

We’ve posted our 2016 Open Nursery and Garden dates on the website…we hope you’ll save these dates for a visit to Plant Delights Nursery and Juniper Level Botanic Garden.

Winter
February 26 – 28 and March 4 – 6

Spring
April 29 – May 1 and May 6 – May 8

Summer
July 8 – 9 and July 15 – 17

Fall
September 9 – 11 and September 16 – 18

Friday and Saturday 8a-5p
Sunday 1-5p

Rain or Shine!
Free Parking!

Click for more info

Happy Open Nursery Days Shoppers

Happy Open Nursery Days Shoppers

See You in Germany

Tony looks forward to meeting many of our International Facebook friends in Frankfurt, Germany for the International Hardy Plant Union Conference in February 2016, where he’ll be speaking. We hope you’ll be able to attend this special gathering of plant nerds.

Passing On

It is with sadness that we share the passing of Camellia Forest Nursery founder, Kai Mei Parks, 79, who suddenly passed away from pancreatic cancer in mid-October. Tony treasures his early visits to the 35-year old Camellia Forest when it was once a one woman operation, and his delightful chats with Kai Mai. She was a strong-willed workaholic, without whom we wouldn’t have her nursery treasure today. Camellia Forest has been managed by her son David for the last decade plus, but you could still find Kai Mei pulling orders almost until the end. Please join us in celebrating the life of this amazing lady!

The International Horticultural Community also suffered a huge loss with the untimely death of UK plantsman, Mark Flanagan at age 56, due to sudden heart problems. Mark was the Chairman of the Royal Horticulture Society’s Woody Plant Committee and Keeper of the Gardens at Windsor Great Park (including The Savill Garden). Mark was a world-renowned plant explorer, collecting in Japan, China, South Korea, and the Russian Far East. Mark was also co-author with Tony Kirkham of two widely acclaimed books, Plants from the Edge of the World (Timber Press, 2005), and Wilson’s China (Kew Publishing, 2009). Mark was awarded two of England’s highest honors, as a Member of the Royal Victorian Order (MVO) and with the Royal Horticultural Society’s highest accolade in horticulture, the Victoria Medal of Honor (VMH). We celebrate Mark’s valuable contributions to horticulture, and offer our condolences to his family.

Industry News

A September 2015 study with responses from over 1,400 garden writers shed an interesting light on garden writing as a career. The study showed, of both full- and part-time writers, the majority earn below the National Poverty Level of just over $11,000 per year. Garden writer earnings have declined over 24% since 2009 due to a number of factors, including a decline in bookstores, the domination of Amazon, on-line piracy, the consolidation of publishers, and the increased availability of free on-line content. Of those surveyed, 33% have self-published at least one book. Most have also resorted to additional sources of income to support themselves.

In nursery industry news this month, Mike Shoup, 63, founder of the famous Antique Rose Emporium, is selling his display gardens and garden center facilities. The rose breeding and mail order divisions, however, will be retained.

The eleven-acre garden center and gardens, which include restored historical buildings, gift shops, and a chapel, are located near Brenham, Texas in the town of Independence. Serious inquiries may be directed to Jenny at 979-836-5664.

Garden for Sale

Our longtime customers Sherrill and Joyce Morris are downsizing and are hoping to sell their house and garden to another plant lover. If you’re looking to move to the area just south of Plant Delights, take a look.

Connect with Us!

Until next month, connect and follow us and the cats on FacebookPinterest, and our blogs: Tony’s at https://blog.jlbg.organd Anita’s at http://www.sensuousgardening.blogspot.com/. We encourage you to sign up to follow our regular posts.

Happy Gardening and Happy Thanksgiving!

tony and anita

Monarch butterflies have arrived

Monarch on Salvia Phyllis Fancy2

 

It’s been amazing to watch the arrival of Monarch butterflies here at Juniper Level over the last few weeks, where they seem particularly attracted to the array of perennial salvias in flower.  Here’s one of several I photographed that were spending several hours on our clump of Salvia ‘Phyllis Fancy’.  We hope you’ll all plant your gardens to attract more of these amazing butterflies.

Pitcher Plants for fall color

Sarracenia Daina's Delight6

 

So many folks have become locked in to chrysanthemums as the only way to have fall color in the perennial garden, but we’d like to suggest you try sarracenias.  These North American natives are simply stunning this time of year.  Taken this week, this photo  is a pot of Sarracenia ‘Daina’s Delight’ that’s been growing, untouched, by our front walk for over a decade.  It’s potted in pure peat moss, with no drainage holes in the bottom of the container, but a couple at soil level on the sides to prevent standing water.  At least a few hours of full sun is necessary.

Allium kiiense in flower now

Allium kiiense2

 

I just snapped this photo of the amazing Allium kiiense…one of the best performing and best behaving ornamental onions.  There aren’t nearly enough fall flowering perennials, and this is one of the best.  Hardiness is Zone 5a-9b.

Anita’s Mindfulness/Meditation Classes

DSCF5121Thanks to everyone who attended and provided such glowing feedback about Anita’s first Meditation/Mindfulness class this past weekend at Juniper Level Botanic Garden. She’ll be starting a series of Mindfulness related classes at the garden in 2016 including several nonduality event.  These classes/events are all designed to teach the use of the garden as a tool for reducing stress,fear, and embracing every moment of our lives. We’ll post the 2016 schedule as soon as the dates are confirmed. We hope to see you at one of these life-changing events.

 

Camellia Forest Nursery news

Kai Mei Parks

It is with sadness, that I share the passing of Camellia Forest Nursery founder, Kai Mei Parks, who just passed away from pancreatic cancer, diagnosed only last week. I’ll always treasure my early visits to the 35-year old Camellia Forest when it was a one woman operation, and how delightful Kai Mai was to chat with. She was a strong-willed workaholic, without whom we wouldn’t have this nursery treasure today.  Camellia Forest has been managed by her son David for the last decade plus, but you could still find Kai Mei pulling orders almost until the end.  Please share with us in a big PDN salute to this amazing lady!

Sarracenia ‘Bug Bat’

Sarracenia Bug Bat from backFall is a great season for many of the pitcher plants, which produce beautiful new pitchers now.  Here’s a photo from yesterday, showing the lovely Sarracenia ‘Bug Bat’.  Pitcher plants are easy to grow in full sun, organic soil with low nutrient content, and in a garden site that stays moist, but not wet on top.

 

Salvia splendor

Salvia Phyllis Fancy clump in flower(64064)

Salvia ‘Phyllis Fancy’ is simply stunning in the garden now.  This giant can reach 6′ tall x 10′ wide in one season…a great way to impress the neighbors. This wonderful salvia thrives despite moist soil and single digit F winter temperatures.

Salvia leucantha Santa Barbara4Salvia leucantha is one of the parents of Salvia ‘Phyllis Fancy’.  This is the compact form, Salvia ‘Santa Barbara’ in flower now.  To overwinter this below 15F, the soil must remain very dry.

 

Last call for an amazing Fall Photography Workshop at PDN this Saturday, Oct. 10

Garden Photography Workshop This Weekend

Be sure to get your front row seat to photograph along side professional garden photographer Josh Taylor here in our gardens. Check out the details and register at Garden Photography Workshop and learn more about Josh on his website: Joshua Taylor Photography.

Some of Josh Taylor’s Recent Work

image001 image002 image003 image004

My favorite flower – Anita Jane

Anita Avent2

I just snapped this photo of my favorite flower in the garden…my lovely bride, Anita Jane. Anita will be conducting her first class (a Mindfullness class &walk) here at Juniper Level Botanic Garden on Saturday October 24.  Only a few spaces remain for this unique and insightful opportunity. I’m sure you’ll find her as amazing as I do.

Boehmeria in flower

Boehmeria nipononivea Glowlight2

Boehmeria ‘Glow Light’ in our woodland garden this week..one of the few rays of brightness we’ve seen in the garden after 11 straight days and over 6″ of rain.

Boehmeria nipononivea Kogane Mushi in flower closeupHere’s a closeup of Boehmeria ‘Kogane Mushi’ in flower this week.  Although we grow boehmeria for the foliage, the flower are also quite interesting.  Most of these are Zone 6a-9b and very easy to grow in light shade or part sun.

 

Who is Balduinia atropurpurea?

Balduinia atropurpurea in flowerWe just snapped this photo of our little-known Southeast native, Balduinia atropurpurea, which is in full flower today…not bad for early October.  It’s grown so rarely, that we don’t know how much farther north it might grow.  Any comments?

 

New Camera day

Eryngium yuccifolium flower closeup

Farfugium japonicum Sunsplash4 Tricyrtis Komon2 Tricyrtis Momoyama flowers

I’ve been using a Cannon EOS for probably two decades, so when my current one died recently (they all seem to develop shutter problems after a couple of years), Anita encouraged me to try her mirrorless Fuji camera.  Surprisingly, it almost made sense to my technically impaired brain, so yesterday I took the plunge and purchased a Fuji XT1, so this is my first day of trying it out.  Here are a few pics from the morning test session. Top to bottom are Eryngium yuccifolium, Farfugium ‘Sunsplash’, Tricyrtis ‘Komon’, and Tricyrtis ‘Momoyama’.  As always, Anita was right…it’s a great camera.  Now if I could just become a better photographer.

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 stock up for the fall planting season with all the cool new plants from the fall catalog.

Plants, Plants, and More Plants

Monarda 'Bubblegum Blast'

Monarda ‘Bubblegum Blast’

We also hope you’ve had time to enjoy the Fall Plant Delights Nursery catalog. We’re so excited by the new offerings, especially the clumping, heat-tolerant, mildew-resistant bee balms. These are a huge breeding breakthrough for anyone who likes monardas and attracting pollinators into the garden.

Other members of the same (Lamiaceae) family are also putting on quite a show now.Agastaches, first cousins to bee balm, are simply amazing in fall. In particular, Agastache ‘Peachie Keen’ and ‘Rosie Posie’ have been standouts in our trials and are still in full flower here. These are perfect for a sunny, well-drained spot in the garden where you can observe all the cool insects and hummingbirds which will visit.

Agastache 'Peachie Keen'

Agastache ‘Peachie Keen’

While we’re talking members of the Lamiaceae family, we must mention the salvias. The Salvia greggii cultivars are putting on their fall show, as are many other fall-flowering species. Our favorite fall-flowering salvia has to be Salvia ‘Phyllis Fancy’. We moved a plant of this amazing giant into one of the new beds near the sales greenhouses, so people who don’t wander the gardens extensively will still get to enjoy it.

Final Open House for 2015…and More Plants

Did we mention we’re in the midst of our final Open Nursery and Garden for 2015? Friday through Sunday, September 11-13 and 18-20 (8-5 Friday and Saturday and 1-5 Sunday) are the final opportunities to visit until February 2016. We hope you’ll bring your want list from the fall catalog or just come and stroll the gardens.

Boehmeria 'Glow Light'

Boehmeria ‘Glow Light’

There’s so much to see in the garden this time of year, including an array of ornamental grasses and a number of fall-flowering bulbs.Cyclamen hederifolium is flowering throughout the dry shade woodland garden, Also, an incredible array of shade-loving tricyrtis (toad lilies) are at their peak with their unique orchid-like flowers. For a bright spot in the fall shade garden, there are few plants as capable of adding as much sunshine as Boehmeria ‘Glow Light’…truly radiant.

We’ve had a great lycoris (surprise lily) season and a number of late-blooming crinum lilies are flowering nicely. Peak lycoris season at JLBG is August, but there are several cultivars which flower into September as you’ll see when you visit. Crinum lilies begin as early as May for us, but many re-flower through September, while others don’t start until fall. Their cousin, the mini-hippeastrum-like Rhodophiala bifida is also providing a bright spot of red throughout the garden now. Be sure to see what these genera have to offer for your fall garden.

Silene subciliata

Silene subciliata

Several more fascinating new plants from the fall catalog that are now looking great in the garden include Silene subciliata, Heteropterys glabra,Gloxinia ‘Little Red’, and Sedum ‘Dynomite’. Be sure to enjoy these stars out during open house…they’re hard to miss.

The dark blue-flowering leadworts (ceratostigma) are simply fantastic now as are the light blue-flowered caryopteris. Even buddleias (butterfly bushes) are showcasing their fall blue-lavender flowers. We think you can never have enough blues in the garden.

Other colors abound now including echinaceas (if they were cut back after their early flowering), dahlias, rudbeckia, verbena, hedychiumlobelia, ruellia, achimenes, and so much more. Bring your camera, bring your friends, and we’ll provide the great weather. We hope you’ll be able to visit!

Open Nursery and Garden Dates for 2016

Winter
February 26 – 28 and March 4 – 6

Spring
April 29 – May 1 and May 6 – May 8

Summer
July 8 – 9 and July 15 – 17

Fall
September 9 – 11 and September 16 – 18

Friday and Saturday 8a-5p
Sunday 1-5p

Rain or Shine!
Free Parking!

Click for more info

Happy Open Nursery Days Shoppers

Happy Open Nursery Days Shoppers

News from PDN/JLBG

With our steady growth over the last couple of decades, we experienced an office space crunch, so to alleviate this, we were fortunate to recently purchase the adjacent 6-acre horse farm. While it’s sad to lose our wonderful neighbors, the Yde’s, we are excited to have more room. To get more office space, the nursery will be booting us out of our current home in the middle of the garden as soon as we build our downsized retirement home on the new property.

Anita with Frank Harmon

Anita with Frank Harmon

We are blessed to have acquired the services of one of America’s finest architects, Frank Harmon, of Raleigh, who, along with his team, have designed our new residence. (Tony was classmates with Frank’s late wife, Judy, at NC State…back in the day). The purchase will also allow us to re-configure the Open Nursery and Garden parking areas, which we believe you will enjoy. Be sure to follow the changes over the next year during each Open Nursery and Garden.

Demolition of the Yde's Former Residence

Demolition of the Yde’s Former Residence

 PDN/JLBG Classes

garden-retreat-classAnita will be leading her first class at the garden this fall, but it’s not about plants. Join Anita as she leads a sensory garden walk designed to awaken the senses and quiet the thinking mind. Anita will show you how experiencing the gardens through the senses will nourish the body, mind, and spirit. If your mind is open to new experiences, don’t miss this incredible opportunity to gain new insights from a truly amazing woman…yes, I’m prejudiced. You can learn more about Anita at http://AnitaAvent.com or read her wonderful Sensuous Gardening Blog at http://www.sensuousgardening.blogspot.com/. Seating for this class is very limited.

Remember to sign up for our other classes offered this fall:

  • Josh Taylor’s Photography Class
  • Tony’s Garden Walk
  • The World of Soils

Read the class descriptions here.

Industry News

In news from the horticultural world, corporate giant, Ball Horticultural has purchased the 153-year-old Conard-Pyle Company from owner Steve Hutton, whose family has owned the business for the past 65 years. Even though you may not recognize the company name, Conard-Pyle is the manger/distributer of Knock-out roses…perhaps you’ve heard of them. They also introduced the “Blue Hollies”, the industry standard holly in the Northeast US.

Gardens of Germany

Our friend, landscape architect, Roland Oehme, son of the late landscape architect, Wolfgang Oehme is taking a plant trip to Germany and is accepting travel companions. This isn’t an organized tour per se, but a chance to visit gardens, nurseries, and study German garden design. The cost is $2500-$3000 including airfare. If you’re interested, you can email Roland at his company, Green Harmony Design, at info@greenharmonydesign.com.

Passing On

Athyrium 'Branford Beauty'

Athyrium ‘Branford Beauty’

We were saddened this month to learn of the passing of plantsman Nick Nickou, MD, of Branford, CT, who passed away at the age of 94. In addition to being a physician for 40 years, Nick was a keen gardener and plant explorer (China, Russia, Greece, South Africa, Patagonia and more). We are fortunate to have a number of plants that Nick shared, growing in our garden, including his two most popular introductions, Athyrium ‘Branford Rambler’ and Athyrium ‘Branford Beauty’. What an amazing and wonderful life!

Bruce Usrey

Bruce Usrey

The nursery world lost a giant this month, with the passing of retired Monrovia Nursery President/CEO, Bruce Usrey. Bruce worked with Monrovia for over 45 years, starting in plant production and working his way up to CEO and, in his later years, Managing Director. Bruce oversaw much of the tremendous expansion of Monrovia during the 1980s through the 2000s, when Monrovia became a household brand. Bruce is survived by his wife, Susie, another 40-year Monrovia veteran.

Most everyone who grew houseplants from the 1970s through the 1990s has probably heard of Peters Fertilizer, which is a worldwide industry standard for quality and performance. Many of us vividly remember their famous blue fertilizer dye, which stained our hands and made those we subsequently dined with stare with horror.

We are sad to report that Peters founder, Robert (Bob) Peters just passed away at age 97. Peters rewrote the proverbial book on liquid fertilizer during the green industry heyday. Peters started his fertilizer company in 1947, but sold it in 1979 to the Grace Company, which later became Grace-Sierra. Grace-Sierra was subsequently gobbled up by Scotts in 1993. Disenchanted by the workings of a large corporation and their unequal promotion of their Miracle-Grow brand, Peters re-purchased the rights to their fertilizer in 2002, but not their original name. They subsequently started a new company, selling the old Peters fertilizer as Jack’s at www.jrpeters.com.

Connect with Us!

Until next month, connect and follow us and the cats on FacebookPinterest, and our blogs at https://blog.jlbg.org and http://www.sensuousgardening.blogspot.com/, where you may sign up to follow our regular posts from the nursery and the botanic garden.

Happy Gardening!

tony and anita

Cyclamen season at JLG

Cyclamen graecum v. anatolicum pdn005 in flower

 

Cyclamen season is in full swing here at Juniper Level.  We had great flowering this summer on Cyclamen graecum, even after a very cold winter…here’s a recent photo from the garden.  Cyclamen are very easy to grow as long as they receive light shade and have dry soil during the summer months.  We have an amazing selection of hardy cyclamen to choose from in our on-line catalog.

Fall Open Nursery and Garden time is here!

2015 9313 Souto garden west gate toward MtnIt’s time for our final Open Nursery and Garden for 2015.  Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, Sept 11-13 and Sept 18-20; 8-5 on Fri, Sat., and 1-5 on Sunday.  We hope you’ll join us with plant lovers from around the country to enjoy the beauty of the fall garden and shop for perennials to your heart’s content.  Did I mention the muscadine grape sampling…mmm good!

 

Hosta ‘Sugar and Spice’

Hosta Sugar and Spice in flower2

We’ve been enjoying the late-flowering hostas over the last few weeks, with many just beginning.  One of our favorites is Hosta ‘Sugar and Spice’…a stunning sport of Hosta ‘Invincible’ with fragrant flowers and variegated foliage.  We put this as one of the best performing hostas we’ve ever grown..great foliage, great flowers, and great vigor in the garden.

Attracting Butterflies to the garden

Allium Millenium with yellow swallowtail2

We love plants that attract butterflies to the garden, and here at Juniper Level Botanic Garden, it’s been a banner year for butterflies. Allium ‘Millenium’ is always a favorite of yellow swallowtails…here are images from this week. See the top 25 flowers that attract butterflies here.

Eupataorium dubium Little Joe with yellow swallowtail

Joe Pye weed…aka Eupatorium is always a butterfly favorite.  Here is a photo this week with yellow swallowtails taking a sip of Eupatorium dubium.

Eupatorium dubium with pipevine swallowtailThe pipevine swallowtails were enjoying the same eupatorium together with the yellow swallowtails. You can find a link to all of our butterfly favorites here.  We hope you’ll plant to bring nature into your garden.

 

Fun with clematis

Dasylirion with clematis in seed

 

We love species clematis for their interesting seed heads…in addition to the flowers.  Here is one of our experiments using a dasylrion as the support structure for the clematis.  We just took this photo showing the interesting three dimensional effect it created.

Colocasia ‘White Lava’ – stunning accent in the garden

Colocasia esculenta White Lava leaf (2)Here’s a photo we just took in the garden of the amazing Colocasia ‘White Lava’.  We love this hybrid from the amazing breeding program of Hawaii’s John Cho.  Hardiness outdoors is Zone 7b south. Learn how to grow elephant ears here.

 

Blue plumbago/leadwort in flower

Ceratostigma plumbaginoides5 (2)It’s hard to beat the cobalt blue flowers of blue plumbago/leadwort in the summer garden. Here is our patch of the durable groundcover, Ceratostigma plumbaginoides in flower today…either full sun or light shade is fine.  Don’t confuse this with the tropical blue African plumbago, Plumbago auriculata…this one is winter hardy to at least Zone 5b.

 

Butterfly bush – Buddleia ‘Blue Heaven’

Buddleia Blue Heaven clump in flowerLooking especially great in the garden today is Buddleia ‘Blue Heaven’.  This amazing butterfly bush was hybridized to have a perfectly rounded, compact shape throughout the growing season without any clipping.  Here’s our amazing plant in the garden this week.

Also, check out our in-depth article about Butterfly Bush and our article on the top 25 butterfly garden plants. Check out our quick guide on How to care for Buddleia

Crinum lilies in the garden

Crinum x baconii Maurine Spinks5

 

This has been an amazing summer for crinum lilies at Juniper Level.  These mostly African species and their hybrids are wonderfully fragrant, hard-to-kill bulbs for the sunny garden.  Above is Crinum x baconii ‘Maureen Spinks’…one of the showiest summer-flowering hybrids.Crinum x digweedii Stars and Stripes5

 

Another of the milk and wine striped crinum lilies is Crinum x digweedii ‘Stars and Stripes’…here’s a recent photo from the garden.  It just oozes with fragrance!Crinum Rose Parade5