Bye Bye Borinda

We love busting horticultural myths, and here’s our latest. Borinda fungosa is another of the wonderful clumping bamboos from China, which, according to bamboo authorities, will not tolerate either our winter temperatures or our summer heat and humidity. Well, darn!

Excuse us for sharing this photo from late January, but here is our 2010 planting of a seed grown plant, and of course, it’s easy to see how poorly it’s growing. That said, we know that it will die to the ground at single digits F, and then re-sprout the following spring. The lesson…don’t believe everything you hear or read.

MacClure’s Bamboo

Borinda macclureana is another superb clumping bamboo that has never received the good PR afforded other more popular species. Collected in Tibet at nearly 11,000′ elevation, it really has no business growing in the hot, humid southeastern climate, but that’s why we trial plants. Although Borinda macclureana can reach 25′ in its native haunts, our 15 year old specimen has only reached 8′ tall x 8′ wide.

Hot Legs

Bambusa multiplex ‘Alphonse Karr’ is looking so hot this winter with its amazingly striped canes. This clumping bamboo is usually grown as a die-back perennial here in Zone 7b, since it goes to the ground when temperatures drop below 10 degrees F. Because we’ve had three mild winters, we are once again able to enjoy the amazing striping of the canes. I did get a chuckle last year, when I saw Bambusa multiplex show up on an invasive species list for North Carolina. As I explained in my letter to the group, Bambusa multiplex is first and foremost, a clumping species. Secondly, all truly invasive species (which invade functioning natural ecosystems, displacing natives and causing economic harm once population equilibrium has been reached) must be able to spread by seed, and bamboo clones only flower once in 100 years, and then die. It’s these emotionally driven lists, without any basis in facts or real science, that makes so many of the invasive lists a farce, and sadly untrustworthy.

Fern zombies awaken in the garden

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.Lepisorus tosaensis unfurling

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

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, 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 cinnamomea emerging  Osmunda cinnamomea unfurling2

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.Osmunda regalis unfurling

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

This is the lovely native Polystichum acrostichoides or Christmas fern…also wonderfully hairy as it emerges.Polystichum makinoi unfurling (2) Polystichum makinoi unfurling

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

The lovely Asian, brown-haired  Polystichum tagawanum. Pteris vittata unfurling2

Our winter hardy form of the table fern, Pteris vittataThelypteris lindheimeri crozier

A single picture perfect crozier of the Texas native, Thelypteris lindheimeriWoodsia subcordata emerging

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.

Plant Delights July 2015 Newsletter

Greetings PDNers!

Summer Open Nursery and Garden

Agave 'Grey Gator'

Agave ‘Grey Gator’

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 flower, a 16-year-old specimen of Agave salmiana x Agave asperrima, with the first flowers opening right on cue for our summer open days. This is the tallest century plant we’ve ever flowered, with the tip of the spike topping out just a few inches below the 30′ tall mark. We’ve got our giant ladder perched nearby so Jeremy can make his daily pollinations, all while fighting off attacking hummingbirds.

We hope you’ll have time to walk around the garden while you’re here. The newly-opened, full sun Souto garden is looking fabulous, with so much color it’s almost overwhelming. Changes also abound throughout the older sections of the garden. Anita has suggested the removal of several formerly fenced and hedged areas to create more openness…we think you’ll enjoy these changes as much as we do.

Summer Nursery & Garden Days Final Weekend

July 17 – 19

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

Daylilies You’ll Notice — Royalty in the Summer Garden

If you visit during the summer, you’ll notice some rather impressive daylilies in the sunny areas. We’ve long enjoyed daylilies for their ability to add color to the summer garden and now have them showcased better than ever.

Hemerocallis 'Freewheelin'

Hemerocallis ‘Freewheelin’

The prevailing daylily breeding trend since the 1970s has been to shrink the height of daylilies to appeal the masses. Obviously, this worked, since Hemerocallis ‘Stella D’Oro’ can be seen lining highway medians across the country. As horticultural contrarians, however, we enjoy taller daylilies, which we feel add much more visual interest to the garden. We don’t object to a few daylilies in the 3′ range, but rarely find the shorter varieties at the top of our favorites list, although some true dwarf rock garden daylilies would be fascinating.

Hemerocallis ‘Autumn Minaret’ is certainly the best known of the taller cultivars, topping out in our garden now at 6.5′ tall…yes, you read that correctly. This 1951 late season introduction was hybridized from one of the taller natural species, Hemerocallis altissima, which is actually a very small-growing plant that just happens to have a 5′ tall flower spike.

Hemerocallis 'Black Eyed Susan'

Hemerocallis ‘Black Eyed Susan’

Hemerocallis ‘Purity’ is another summer-flowering favorite. The well-branched 5′ tall flower spikes hold hundreds of yellow-orange flowers over a very long time. We can’t imagine a summer garden without this gem. While we typically don’t rave about many daylilies that flower below 3′, there are a few noticeable exceptions. One that we continually tout as one of the best is Hemerocallis ‘Black Eyed Susan’. Without question, this amazing plant is one of the most floriferous and stunning daylilies we grow. Although it only manages 32″ in height, its show power in the garden is truly hard to match.

We’ve got many more of the taller daylilies in our trials, and have even moved a bit of pollen around this summer between some of the taller varieties, so we hope you find these “off the bell curve” daylilies worth including in your own garden.

Black Bamboo Death – The End is Nigh

Phyllostachys nigra

Phyllostachys nigra (courtesy Georges Seguin via Wikipedia)

The bamboo world has been rocked over the last few years as most of the black bamboo has begun its flowering cycle. While flowering is good in most plants, such is not the case with bamboo since, like agaves, it dies after flowering. Like century plants, a bamboo plant also takes about 100 years to flower but unlike agaves, bamboo offsets don’t survive. Since most bamboo is grown from divisions, when a particular clone flowers, it flowers everywhere around the world within a certain time window, influenced slightly by growing conditions.

Black bamboo began flowering worldwide in 2008, with many in the US starting only in the last year. Bamboo flowers are brown and insignificant, so most folks won’t even notice until the plant begins a steady decline. The sad part is that everyone’s black bamboo will die, but the up side is that more plants will be grown from seed and the new generation crop will have another 100-year lifespan. Also, all those folks who were lied to by retailers who told them black bamboo clumped will have their problem resolved. The take home lesson is that if you’re buying the running black bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra), be sure to ask if it’s a new generation plant from seed or the clone which is currently flowering.

Yucca Birth Records Confusion — Who’s Your Daddy?

For many years we’ve had a fascination with yuccas and have long been convinced that the taxonomy of the Southeast native species was a mess. Reading several recent DNA papers along with some older works from the early 1900s, we realized that most of what is labeled Yucca filamentosa is actually Yucca flaccida…a completely different species.

We’re in the process of updating all of our names on the website and apologize in advance for the confusion. All of the variegated cultivars of Yucca filamentosa, except for the cultivar ‘Variegata’, are actually selections of Yucca flaccida.

Yucca gloriosa 'Tiny Star'

Yucca gloriosa ‘Tiny Star’

Yucca filamentosa, however, is a real plant. The real plant is what is known in the trade as the coastal boat-tipped yucca. We are currently propagating some true Yucca filamentosa for inclusion in a future catalog. If you vacation along the East Coast from NC south to Florida, the small yucca you see on the dunes is Yucca filamentosa.

Also growing on the southeast coastal dunes are two other species, Yucca aloifolia and Yucca gloriosa. It has long been theorized that Yucca gloriosa might represent a natural hybrid between Yucca aloifolia and Yucca filamentosa and, sure enough, the new DNA work confirms that theory. Consequently, the name should be written correctly as Yucca x gloriosa. Now it makes sense that when we were studying yuccas last year on the NC dunes, many plants seemed to be intermediates between the three parent species. We guess our eyes were not deceiving us after all. Two papers on the subject were shared by Larry Hatch of Cultivar.org and are found below if you are scientifically nerdy enough to care.

On our many Southeast US botanizing trips we discovered other natural hybrids along with another new southeastern native yucca species that seems to have never been named. We will be working to get it described and published in the near future…an exciting time for those of us who love yuccas.

Perennial Plant Registrations

Our friend Larry Hatch is looking to fill a gap in the registration of new perennial varieties. There is supposed to be a system in place for anyone who wants to officially register, for posterity purposes, any new perennial that they name and introduce. While some genera of plants like iris, daylilies, and hostas have a dedicated registrar and a functioning system, most genera of plants either don’t have a registrar or the system is too cumbersome. The New Ornamentals Society is working to streamline the process with a new no-cost registration system. We encourage you to give it a try here.

Fern Hardiness Oops

Dryopteris labordei 'Golden Mist'

Dryopteris labordei ‘Golden Mist’

In our trials from this winter, it has become obvious that one of the ferns we offer isn’t nearly as hardy as our liner supplier had indicated. We lost all plantings of Dryopteris labordei ‘Golden Mist’ at 9 degrees F this winter, which is a far cry from its purported Zone 5 hardiness. The problem stems from a taxonomic confusion. Dryopteris labordei is considered a synonym of Dryopteris indusiata, the latter of which is a Zone 5 plant. Obviously, the two plants are not the same. While it’s still a great fern, we are shifting its winter hardiness to Zone 8a-9b. If you purchased this based on our previous hardiness listing, just drop us a note and we’ll add a credit to your account or issue a refund. Please accept our apologies for this incorrect information.

Passing On

Last month saw the passing of one of the giants of the waterlily world, Patrick Nutt, 85, longtime curator of Aquatic Plants at Longwood Gardens. Pat was revered throughout the water lily world for his encyclopedic knowledge and as a water lily breeder, promoter, and educator. Pat will be best remembered as the breeder of the internationally-renowned giant water lily Longwood Victoria, which most summer visitors to Longwood have no doubt gazed on in amazement. Pat began his career at Longwood Gardens in 1957 and remained there for the next 38 years, until his retirement in 1995. Even after his retirement, he continued to be a regular at Longwood Gardens while also traveling around the world, collecting and researching water lilies. Our condolences go out to Pat’s family and friends…life well lived!

Connect with Us!

Until next month, connect and follow us and the cats on Facebook,Pinterest, and our blog, where you may sign up and follow our regular posts from Plant Delights Nursery and Juniper Level Botanic Garden.

Happy Gardening!

-tony and anita

Fargesia sp. ‘Scabrida’

Fargesia scabrida3

Fargesia sp. ‘Scabrida’ has quickly become one of my favorite clumping bamboos.  The leaves of this gem are the largest of any of the fargesias that we grow, and it came through our brutal winter without a blemish.  Our garden plants which celebrate six years in the ground this week are 7′ tall x 7′ wide and look great as you see here.

Plant Delights Nursery February 2014 Newsletter

Dear PDN’ers

It’s hard to imagine winter is finally nearing an end when outside today we see the ground covered in snow with freezing rain forecasted to develop tonight and tomorrow. But to help us remember spring is just around the corner, at least in NC, the greenhouses are bursting with colorful hellebores and other lovely treasures to soothe away any winter blahs and blues. It’s less than two weeks until our 2014 Winter Open Nursery and Garden and we’re eager to show you our plant goodies!


‘Anna’s Red’ hellebore
Photo courtesy Visions, NL

Our selection of hellebores is so outstanding it’s hard to really show it justice in words. We have over 500 gallon-size hellebores in flower and over 1000 one quart hellebores in bloom. The quality of hellebore colors we have available are better each year and 2014 is no exception.

Speaking of weather, winter 2013/2014 has been quite an event in many parts of the country, with temperatures finally returning to more “normal” winter levels. We’ve amusingly watched the last fifteen years as zone creep, aka: zone denial, has taken hold of much of America. It’s been fascinating to observe how quickly peoples’ memories of hard winters fade when they are only a couple of years removed. Some gardeners have recently admitted being lulled into a false sense of security by the constant media drumroll that our climate has dramatically warmed forever.

Gardeners in Zone 4 or 5 have a few Zone 7 winters where the winter low temperatures don’t drop below 0 degrees F, and all of a sudden they decide that Zone 7 plants will actually survive in Zone 4 and 5. It’s not uncommon these days to find less than reputable online nurseries listing plants like the hardy banana, Musa basjoo, as hardy to Zone 4 and 5, which is pure insanity. Windmill palms, which we consider marginally hardy for us here in Zone 7b, have now been planted throughout the mid-Atlantic states and even into parts of the Midwest. Because of the recent mild winters, some windmill palms have actually achieved good size before this winter’s reality check. My friend Al Hirsch recently reminded folks on one of the hardy palm groups that he had actually freeze-tested windmill palms in the lab, and 5 degrees F was their low temperature tolerance…except for some of the hardier forms. Just because we’ve had a string of mild winters doesn’t mean the winter temperature tolerance of plants change.

The first winter hardiness maps from the Arnold Arboretum comprised 40 years of temperature data because weather scientists had noted that temperature patterns typically varied in 15-20 year swings. Using the 20 year model, below are statistics for our nursery in Raleigh, North Carolina, not including the still-trending winter of 2013/2014. The last time we got as cold as we have during this current winter 2013/2014 was all the way back during the winter of 1999-2000. I have posted our actual minimum low temperature charts for Juniper Level Botanic Garden…weather geeky stuff, to be sure.

Winter 1993-2012 8 nights per winter below 20F (Zone 8 temperatures)
Winter 1973-1992 12.5 nights per winter below 20F (Zone 8 temperatures)
*Record winter 1976-1977 38 nights below 20F
 
Winter 1993-2012 8 nights total below 10 degrees F (Zone 7 temperatures)
Winter 1973-1992 25 nights total below 10 degrees F (Zone 7 temperatures)
*Record winter 1980/1981 8 nights below 10 degrees F

So, what does all this mean? It means that despite all the predictions of a perpetual warming trend there is a good chance that we will see more “normal” winters, so plant accordingly and pay attention to proper hardiness zones. With cold winters returning, it’s been great to finally get useful hardiness data. Obviously, since having a Zone 7b temperature only once in the last fourteen years (2008/9) it’s been hard to truly evaluate winter hardiness of new plants.

Because we trial so many plants, we expect our loss rate of new plants to be fairly high. From this year’s trials, we were surprised to see dramatic foliage burn on the hardy bromeliad, Puya dyckioides. The plants look fine at the base…just fried. Another bromeliad, Dyckia choristaminea ‘Frazzle Dazzle’, however, looks fabulous…what a great plant. Several of the aspidistras (cast iron plants) are showing foliage burn this year, including many of the white-tipped cultivars. As is the case with so many white variegated plants, the white variegated parts of the leaf simply aren’t as cold tolerant at the green tissue. We attribute this to a reduction in sugar content (plant antifreeze) in those parts of the leaf.

Sarcococca saligna also took a bit hit and has foliage that is completely fried brown, although it should reflush fine when cut the ground. All of the other sarcococca species look fine. The evergreen Schefflera delavayi looks good with only slight leaf burn on one plant. Edgeworthias look fine and are starting to flower, although customers in Virginia report bud drop after a low of 2 degrees F. Our Exbucklandia populnea also got a good bit of leaf burn, but the stems are all fine. Our Arbequina olive looks great, but some of the other clones we had on trial are already showing foliar damage.

Since we mentioned hardy palms earlier, our Trachycarpus fortunei (Windmill palms) looks fine, other than a few scorched older leaves. The Trachycarpus fortunei ‘Wagnerianus’ also look great. Surprisingly, our plant of Trachycarpus takil got some unexpected leaf scorch. Needle palm, Sabal minor, Sabal x brazoriensis, Sabal sp. ‘Tamaulipas’, Sabal minor var. louisiana, all look fine, although some of our less hardy forms of Sabal palmetto took a hit. Butia catarinensis looks quite dead, as does our Butia odorata. Surprisingly, one of our Butia eriospatha growing nearby shows minimal damage along with one specimen of Butia capitata. The real palm shocker was two Serenoa repens from Colleton County, SC showing little or no damage. We say, surprising, because we have never been able to over-winter a Serenoa repens.

The xButyagrus nabonnandii look pretty fried and the spears have started to pull. Spears are the undeveloped newer emerging leaves, which give us the first indication of cold damage on palms trees. Spear pull isn’t always deadly, but it’s certainly not a good sign. xJubautia splendens ‘Dick Douglas’, a hybrid of Butia x Jubaea looks better than the xButyagrus, but the spears have also pulled from several of these…most disappointing. Most of our Cycas looks okay, although all have lovely tan-brown foliage. After last frost we’ll cut back the old fronds and they should promptly reflush with new leaves.

We have quite a collection of winter-hardy cactus in the garden and had planted out quite a few more in 2013. As expected, we had a number of those which didn’t survive the winter, but overall, we were quite pleased. Bamboos also took a bit hit this year and we expect all members of the genus Bambusa to be killed back to the ground. Time will tell, but perhaps there will always be a surprise. Rohdea chinensis var. chinensis provided quite an unexpected surprise. The Taiwan form shows no ill effects from the winter, while the mainland China form shows substantial leaf burn.

We’re always interested in pushing the envelope when it comes to agaves. Overall, there are few surprises from the winter so far. We’re thrilled our first sacrificial planting of Agave albopilosa looks great so far. Agave gentryi ‘Jaws’ got hit pretty hard but the central stalk seems fine so they should recover quickly once the weather warms. Ditto for Agave ‘Green Goblet’. Agave filifera, Agave parviflora, Agave difformis, Agave ‘Mateo’, and Agave ocahui…all burned pretty bad but should be fine. One real surprise was Agave neomexicana ‘Sunspot’, which looks to have made the journey to the big compost pile in the sky. Since the parent species it quite hardy, we’re guessing it simply got too wet and cold at the same time, since we know it has overwintered in much colder regions.

As expected, Agave ovatifolia looks absolutely superb…always one of the best over-wintering agaves in our climate. Agave horrida perotensis was hit pretty hard, which was expected based on past winters.

Image
Agave ovatifolia

What we didn’t expect was Agave striata ‘Live Wires’ which was severely burned although we think it will return okay. Agave flexipes again proved to be an excellent agave for our climate with only burn on the lower most leaves. Surprisingly, Agave multifilifera looks only slightly burned so far. Honestly, we were hoping for a little more carnage in the agave world since we’ve got over 100 new agaves potted and waiting for a trial spot in the garden.

Last fall we offered a new selection of aucuba, Aucuba japonica ‘Male Man’, grown from cuttings from another friend who picked this up overseas. When it flowered, we were shocked to learn that unbeknownst to us, our male aucuba had undergone previously undisclosed sex reassignment surgery and was now a female. Please accept our oops, and change your tags to Aucuba japonica var. borealis ‘Bored Female’.

In other non-plant matters, Plant Delights has several cool job openings.

Image
Jasper at work

First, we have one opening for a full time Customer Service representative (CSR). If enjoy working and chatting on the phone with customers, and you like plants and chocolate, and you reside in the Raleigh, NC area, learn more. Additionally, we are also now hiring energetic and friendly seasonal staff to work 25-40 hours per week in our Shipping department starting in March and extending into the fall. Occasional weekend (daytime) work will be required. Please send resumes and cover letters to our Business and HR Manager, Heather Brameyer to: heather@plantdelights.com

Our friends at Peckerwood Gardens in Hempstead, Texas are looking for a Garden Manager. This is an incredible opportunity to work with one of the southernmost gardens being managed by the Garden Conservancy and the chance to work with garden founder, John Fairey. You can find out more at http://peckerwoodgarden.org/events/work-peckerwood-garden-manager

So, you want to start a nursery? Here’s your chance…not to start from scratch, but to buy an existing mail order nursery. Bob Roycroft of Roycroft Daylily Nursery in Georgetown, SC is retiring and has his nursery up for sale. Bob has 33+ acres near Myrtle Beach that is available, along with his nursery and website. You can reach Bob for more details at http://www.roycroftdaylilies.com

If you’re in the world of garden design, you’ll want to know that Pantone has declared the color Radiant Orchid (18-3224) as the color of the year for 2014. We’re sure you’ll want to change all of your landscape color themes to keep in step with this important development.

Image
Flowershells

If you’re looking for a unique gift for that half-cocked gardener in your life, how about Flowershells? So, what’s a flowershell, you ask? Flowershells are made for the hunters-gardeners in your life who want to be more sustainable with their pastimes. Flowershells are 12 gauge shotgun shells filled with a mix of gunpowder and flower seed, so every time you blast away, you’re planting flowers. Instead of taking a life when you shoot, you’ll be giving life…what a unique concept. If you find the idea intriguing, check out http://www.flowershell.com Unfortunately, Flowershells don’t really exist, but this delightful parody comes from the fertile minds of Studio Total…a creative Swedish advertising agency.

Until next month…happy gardening!

-tony and anita

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 us.

We’ve had many requests to make more of the hardy cypripedium ladyslipper orchids available for fall since some gardeners prefer to plant them now. For this fall, we’ve been able to acquire a large number of many different hard-to-find hybrids and species in very limited quantities, so we have just added them to the website. Inventory for most of these ranges from 3 to 8 plants each, so they won’t last long. Check out our cypripediums!

If you haven’t purchased cypripediums before, a little explanation is in order. First, our offerings are 8 years old from seed, hence, what seems like insanely high prices are really not so high compared with most faster to propagate plants. With orchids, a cultivar name is established for a similar batch of seedlings from a particular cross, so each plant is genetically unique. Second, please keep in mind hardy ladyslipper orchids should be planted differently from most other plants…the roots should be spread out laterally in a well-prepared, compost rich bed and covered with a layer of compost followed by a good mulch. Cypripedium roots should not be allowed to dry out and prefer an average to slightly moist, but well-drained soil for best performance.

After being told by all the experts that the hardy ladyslippers wouldn’t grow in our climate, we have now had many years of excellent successes and consequently feel more comfortable that these can be grown by more gardeners. We still stress, however, that these are not plants for beginners nor gardeners who are not willing to spend time preparing the soil for success. If you feel inclined to give these a try, a more detailed article on our website may be of help.

It’s been an amazing fall so far in the garden, with the fall salvias hitting their peak this month. For us, the giant Salvia madrensis is just coming into full flower while the Salvia greggii and Salvia microphylla selections are just glorious in full bloom. Other fall blooming plants are running late this fall. We are just now seeing flowers on Rabdosia longituba, which often starts in mid-September, and have yet to see flower buds on the fall blooming giant tree dahlias. Flower buds on the giant Verbesina microptera are developing nicely and hopefully we’ll get to enjoy them this year since last year the frost hit just as they were opening.

If you missed our mention on Facebook, Timber Press has just published their latest book, “The Roots of My Obsession – Thirty Great Gardeners Reveal Why they Garden.” In this unusual small book, thirty of us were asked to write a short essay on why we are gardeners. Authors include Dan Hinkley (founder of Heronswood), Ken Druse (NY garden writer), Margaret Roach (former VP of Martha Stewart Living), Doug Tallamy (professor/UDEL), Roger Swain (long-time “Victory Garden” host), Fergus Garrett (Head Gardener at Great Dixter), and many more. As I mentioned to Timber Press when they first floated the idea…I can’t imagine who would want to read such a book, but it’s out and I guess we’ll find out together why we all garden.

We also mentioned last month on Facebook, the delightful article about our plants by NY gardener and former Martha Stewart Editor, Margaret Roach. Check out Margaret’s Blog Article!

It’s been a rough month in the horticulture world with three significant losses. First, Ned Jacquith, 73, of Oregon’s Bamboo Garden Nursery passed away on September 26. Ned was a charter member of the American Bamboo Society and folks in the bamboo industry considered Ned the world’s bamboo ambassador, spreading the word about bamboo and working tirelessly to introduce new bamboos to cultivation. Many of the clumping bamboos we now offer were introduced to this country thanks to Ned’s efforts. After a career with the railroad, Ned and his wife, Nancy started the nursery in 1988. In July, Ned was diagnosed with acute leukemia but continued to be active in his bamboo work until the end. Ned’s staff will continue to operate the nursery. A memorial service will be held on Ned’s birthday, July 14, 2013, at Bamboo Garden Nursery near Portland Oregon. Our thoughts go out to Ned’s family and friends, and as one who has been is a beneficiary of Ned’s work…job well done!

The second loss was the untimely death of Nebraska plantsman, Harlan Hamernik, 76, who was killed in an explosion at his home on Monday, October 15. In 1958, Harlan and his wife, Shirley, founded Bluebird Nursery in Clarkson, Nebraska. Bluebird Nursery quickly became known worldwide as a source for new and exciting winter hardy perennials from Harlan’s plant explorations both in the US and around the world to places like China, Tibet, and Inner Mongolia. In his 70’s, Harlan turned Bluebird Nursery over to his sons and started a new nursery, H.H. Wild Plums, with the goal of promoting interesting woody plants for the Great Plains. Harlan was a tireless public servant and served on the board of the Perennial Plant Association as well as 40 years as a volunteer firefighter, and even mayor of his hometown of Clarkson, Nebraska. Our friend, Allen Bush, captured the essence of Harlan in this wonderful recent article. Harlan is survived by his wife, Shirley and sons Tom, Chuck, and Mike. A huge Plant Delights salute goes out to the legendary Harlan Hamernik, as our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

Just after we heard about Harlan, word came in that we lost the world’s authority on bromeliads when plantsman, Harry Luther passed away after a brain seizure on October 17. Harry Luther, 60, was regarded as the world’s top bromeliad authority, having described over 100 new bromeliad species during his 32 year tenure at the Marie Selby Botanic Garden in Florida. Harry was a prolific writer, having authored over 200 articles/publications on bromeliads. Harry did all this without ever graduating from college…a presumptive prerequisite in our current society. In 2010, Harry left Marie Selby to join the new Singapore Botanic Gardens…an effort that has financially lured quite a few of the country’s top horticulturists. Our thoughts go out to Harry’s family and friends.

In some better health news, I just heard from Rob Jacobs that his dad, Eco-Gardens founder Don Jacobs, is slowly recovering from two strokes he suffered last year. Don is now living with Rob near Don’s Georgia home, where he will be celebrating his 93rd birthday on October 25. Don can walk again with a cane and is now fixing his own lunch. Rob says that Don’s speech is returning and given enough time, his memory should also return. If you’d like to send birthday or other greetings to Don, you can write to him care of Rob Jacobs, 512 Chieftain Court, Woodstock, GA 30188.

In the “You can’t make this up” news this month, Duke University fern researchers have recently completed DNA analysis of plants in the fern genus, Cheilanthes, which showed that up to nineteen species from Texas south to Central American actually constitute a separate genera. Consequently, the Duke researchers have created a new fern genus, Gaga. As you no doubt guessed, the new genus was named after sexually expressive pop singer, Lady Gaga. As Duke’s Dr. Kathleen Pryor pointed out, they named the genus Gaga for a number of reasons including the apogamy of the genus (it has meaningful sex with itself), its gametophyte (the baby fern before it has sex) resembles one of Gaga’s Armani costumes, and believe it or not…in the scanned DNA base pairs of the new fern the word GAGA was spelled out. Lest you think naming plants after celebrities is new, the singer Beyonce has a horsefly named after her and President Obama has a California lichen named after him. I’m not sure I’d be jumping up and down about either of those, but as I said earlier, you just can’t make this stuff up.

In another bit of “You don’t say” news, a recent patent has been filed to use plant extracts to counteract the toxic effects from chemicals released by smoking cigarettes. The research uses extracts from plants including tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), Chinese lizard tail (Houttuynia cordata), dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), Korean mountain ash (Sorbus commixta), Japanese alder (Alnus japonica), and balloon flower (Platycodon grandiflora). Who knew? I can see folks who roll their own already changing their formulas. Read More

In news from the commercial horticultural world, the 70-year-old Randolph’s Greenhouses in Jackson, Tennessee closed its doors at the end of September. Plant lecturer, Rita Randolph blamed the closing on a combination of the economy and costs to repair and maintain their aging facilities. Rita plans to do more writing and lecturing while also opening a small mail order nursery as a retirement venture…doesn’t sound like retirement to me!

If you’ve been watching the news recently, you’ve seen the space shuttle Endeavour making its way through south Los Angeles on its 12 mile final trek to its final resting place at the California Science Center. Unfortunately, getting the Endeavour to the Science Center was a bit more than some residents bargained for when they learned that more than 400 trees had to be removed so that the shuttle could fit on the highway. In exchange for allowing the trees to be cut, the California Science Center agreed to spend $500,000 to replant twice as many trees as had to be cut down. So, where were all the tree huggers chaining themselves to the poor trees? Where was the media coverage and national outrage? I must have also missed all the furor from the manmade global warming crowd over this…geez. Regardless…if you haven’t seen it, the time lapse video of the shuttle’s trek through town is fascinating.

Time to get back to catalog writing, so enjoy the newsletter and in the mean time, we’ll see you on Facebook with more updates and plant photos.

-tony

2011 Plant Delights Nursery December Newsletter

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of our extended PDN family. As we wrap up the year and get the new catalog ready to go in the mail and online (Dec 31), we want to remind everyone that this is the last week to buy Plant Delights gift certificates as Christmas presents for your gardening friends and family. You can order our gift certificates online and we’ll get them right in the mail or give us a call at 919.772.4794.

We’d like to congratulate the 2011 Winner of the Top 25 contest, Amy Hill of Archdale, North Carolina. Amy is our first NC winner in several years and takes home a $250 Plant Delights gift certificate for the best score in predicting the top 25 best sellers for 2011. If you’d like enter the contest for 2012, all you have to do is go the contest page on our website, fill in your form and badda bing, badda boom…you’re done.  To get started, see which plants topped the sales list last year.

December was a sad month for the horticulture world with the passing of our friend, Bob Stewart of Michigan’s Arrowhead Alpines mail order nursery, who lost a long battle with colon cancer. Bob and his wife Brigitta started their nursery in 1991 and quickly became the “go to” source for rare and unusual alpine plants and much more. I find most mail order nursery owners to be fascinating conversationalists, and none more so than Bob (primarily to the overwhelming prevalence of ADD in the group). Conversations with Bob might start with primulas and before you knew it, Bob had shifted to the inner most details of nuclear fusion. While Bob and I shared a passion for plants, we diverged on our feelings about Master Gardeners. While we both agreed that the name “Master Gardeners” was probably not the best choice, Bob held Master Gardeners in great disdain. Bob’s tolerance of those promoting themselves as knowledgeable while not understanding much more than the basics of horticulture, was not particularly high. This gruff persona that emanated strongly through his catalog writing, however, was a stark contrast to the passionate and personable Bob you would met in person. Bob is survived by his wife Brigitta, who will continue to run the nursery, and his son Ender, whose passion for computers equals Bob’s passion for plants. Our friend, Allen Bush, wrote a wonderful article about Bob only a few months before his death. Allen captured Bob so well, I encourage you to read his article. We’ll all miss you but never forget you, my friend.

Another dear friend who lost a very sudden battle with cancer this month was Wolfgang Oehme, 82, of Oehme and Van Sweeden Landscape Architects. Wolfgang came to the US as a young man and wound up leaving a huge mark on the American landscape. In addition to designing gardens around the world, Wolfgang was a true trendsetter in the world of landscape architecture. His concept of the New American Garden took the world by storm in the 1970s, with the use of large drifts of plants in a naturalistic style. Wolfgang, or “Wolfi” as he was known to his friends, was renowned for a few signature plants whose use he championed in virtually all of his designs. This short list included Miscanthus sinensis, Fargesia clumping bamboo, Pennisetum alopecuroides, Perovskia atriplicifolia, Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’, Panicum virgatum, and Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’.

Even with his amazing body of work, it was his quirky behavior that made people love Wolfi. I’ve never know anyone else to tout their work as much as Wolfi, but he did so with such a child-like excitement that it didn’t come off as bragging. I had the pleasure (make that unique experience) of staying in Wolfi’s home a few times over the years…yielding experiences I’ll never forget. Many people might think that Wolfi’s fetish for nude swimming in his back yard pool, hidden from the neighbors only by a few large clumps of miscanthus, would be unusual but for Wolfi, that fell into the range of normal behavior. After late dinners, Wolfi would drive me around Baltimore County looking at his designs, often stopping his car in the middle of four lanes of traffic to get out to inspect or even weed a particularly nice planting of perennials. Shining a flashlight in Baltimore County clients yards after midnight to see 20-year-old clumps of fargesias didn’t seem strange at all to Wolfi, while all I could do was think of where to buy a bulletproof vest. Then there were the nights at the Towson County courthouse…

As we strolled around the courthouse, well after midnight, Wolfi would suddenly decide that a planting of coreopsis needed to be moved to a new location, so we would pull the plants from their amended beds barehanded and move them to another bed where Wolfi thought they fit better. Wolfi was oblivious to the police cars speeding back and forth along the streets just feet away from our exploits. I, on the other hand, was keenly aware of everyone around us and how we seemed to be invisible…like being with the Keyser Soze of horticulture. It soon became obvious that this was part of Wolfi’s nightly routine.

As the story goes, the landscape design contract for the courthouse was outsourced to an azalea-loving landscape architect in Texas, which caused Wolfi great consternation. Instead of complaining, Wolfi called the architect and had them rework their plan based on his choice of plants. Wolfi then adopted the completed garden, sans any authority, and made it his own playground. Eventually the county government realized his interest and put him in charge of their landscape advisory committee.

Wolfgang will be long remembered through his books, Bold Romantic Gardens (1990), and the German language Zwischen Gartengrasern (2008). Wolfgang worked for a variety of clients in downtown Washington DC and even designed Oprah Winfrey’s garden in Chicago. Wolfi’s work has been featured in an array of books, most recently, Ornamental Grasses: Wolfgang Oehme and the New American Garden by Stefan Leppert (2009). I could go on with more Wolfi stories, but I’ll suffice to say that Wolfgang Oehme was a true genius who ate, slept, and breathed plants, and whose influence on our landscapes will live on for generations to come…so long, my friend.

The horticulture world lost yet another larger-than-life figure recently with the passing of Dr. John A. A. Thomson on November 28, just 5 days after his 100th birthday. Many of you will recognize the name from the hokey SUPERthrive® advertisements. Dr. Thomson, a PhD biochemist, invented SUPERthrive® in 1939 and subsequently marketed it though his company, the Vitamin Institute. I never met Dr. Thomson in person, but can only imagine he must have been an interesting fellow.

Thomson’s ads always seemed a bit over the top, not to mention overly egotistical. The in-your-face claims, combined with his 1940s ad style just seemed out of touch with the modern day. One of my favorite claims was that Super Thrive was used during WWII to transplant mature trees to camouflage the troops. Although I’ve received a number of samples, I never got around to giving them a try…how about you? Join us on our Facebook page and share your SUPERthrive® stories. It will be interesting to see if the marketing changes with Dr. Thomson’s passing. Dr. Thomson was recognized for his contributions to horticulture by receiving The Lifetime Achievement Award from the Lawn & Garden Marketing & Distribution Association in 2006, and The Sustainable Environmental Education’s Environmental Awareness Award in 2009.

On a more regional note, one of the top plantsmen in the Memphis, Tennessee region, Plato Touliatos, passed away of cardiac arrest after a two year battle with prostate cancer. Plato Touliatos was much more than the owner of Trees by Touliatos/Nature Center and Arboretum for 50 years…he was a plantsman, businessman, and philosopher whose life was spent teaching people about the natural world. In 2009, Plato and his wife Sarah were inducted into the Tennessee Nursery and Landscape Association Hall of Fame…well deserved! Every time I found myself in Memphis, Plato was always at the top of my list of people to visit…you will be sorely missed, my friend.

Finally, the strangest of the plantsmen to pass away this month has to be North Korea’s Kim Jong Il…yes, you heard me right. The story goes back several years, when the late Dutch plant breeder Kees Sahin, who was friend of Kim’s dad, was visiting North Korea with Japanese plant breeder Motoderu Kamo. Kamo gave the elder Kim one his begonia hybrids, which was subsequently named Begonia ‘Kimjongilia’ for Kim Jong Il’s 46th birthday. Kim was so taken with the begonia, that he declared begonias the National Flower of North Korea. After supplying Kim with more begonia genetics, Kim Jong Il began what would become the largest begonia breeding project in the world. According to Kees, Kim would fly over his begonia fields in his helicopter and make his final selections from the air. At the time of Kim Jung Il’s death, there were sprawling greenhouse complexes all across North Korea, all for the purpose of housing Kim’s massive begonia collection. For international begonia shows, Kim would fly his prize begonia hybrids to the show with one person holding each begonia in the back of a cargo plane, to keep from damaging the plants. Also, according to Kees, Kim’s head begonia breeder became so renowned internationally, that Kim had him killed for upstaging the Dear Leader. As Dave Barry liked to say…I am not making this up!

I don’t know how many of you watch golf tournaments, but if you were watching the Chevron World Challenge a few weeks ago and enjoying the futility as golfers tried to cope with the high winds as they played in Southern California, those same winds were causing horrific devastation to the nearby horticulture community. On November 30, these severe tornado-like winds swept through Pasadena, California and left a devastated Huntington Botanic Garden in their wake. Although the garden buildings fared okay, the gardens lost an estimated 150 significant trees and other plants. According to reports, the Jungle garden is even more of a jungle and the subtropical hill, the North Vista, and the Camellia garden were heavily damaged. The Desert Garden fared reasonably well, with only significant damage toward the north end where limbs and plant debris abound. You can imagine what it’s like to clean up leaf and limb debris in a densely planted cactus garden…on second thought…I bet you can’t.  Curator Gary Lyons has asked for volunteers to help with the clean up. You can email him or the volunteer coordinator Mikki Heydorff.

In a final bit of news that you’ll need to know before starting to plan your spring garden, the color of the year for 2012 is Tangerine Tango. Yes, The Pantone Color Institute, the purveyors of all things color, have named Tangerine Tango as the color of the year for 2012. Folks from garden designers to fashion designers to paint manufacturers use Pantone’s color predictions in their designs. According to the folks at Pantone, “There’s a lot of homework that goes into it. But it’s also, what is it that people are needing? There are a lot of concerns out there and serious issues we are facing. Color, from a psychological standpoint, can be uplifting. We arrived at this particular orange because it’s hopeful and optimistic and also has sophistication.” I don’t know about you, but it sounds like the Pantone folks take themselves way too seriously!

Once again, we can’t thank you enough for your patronage during 2011! We’ve enjoyed our new foray on Facebook where we can share our plant passion with you as well as seeing and hearing about your successes. We hope to meet more of you on Facebook during the upcoming year as we continue to share photos of our favorite plants and gardening tips We’ll chat again in 2012! Thanks!

-tony

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 the 90’s, which normally dot our spring season. We’ve been spared the crazy weather seen in other parts of the country including Colorado’s frequent late spring snows, North Dakota’s floods, and tornados throughout the Southeast. At least the gardeners in northern Georgia and upstate South Carolina are finally getting some rain after being parched for several years. Even Atlanta’s Lake Lanier is within 7′ of finally refilling. Parts of the Texas Hill Country set a record last year with only 2″ of rain, but fortunately, the weather patterns have changed in recent weeks and the rains have finally returned.

We’ve just added some more plants to the on-line catalog including the very rare variegated shredded umbrella plant, Syneilesis ‘Kikko’. As always, most of these gems are only available in limited quantities, so don’t delay. They are integrated into the main on-line catalog or you can find the new additions listed separately.

It was great to have our friends Carl Schoenfeld and Wade Roitsch from Yucca Do visit a few weeks ago along with encyclopedic Texas nurseryman Pat McNeal. We have long worked together to trial plants in each other’s climates, so it was interesting for them to see the damage that occurs to woody lilies when temperatures drop into the single digits F. Yucca Do has recently completed their move to Giddings, Texas, about 1.5 hours west of their former location outside of Houston. The old property was sold to the Peckerwood Garden Foundation, which will allow Peckerwood to expand their gardens as well as have more parking. You can read more about the Yucca Do move at www.yuccado.com/themove.htm.

It’s been a busy spring…. just not as busy as we would have liked. It was great to have visits from an array of groups including most recently the Carolina Gardener Symposium as well as attendees from Southeast Palm Society meeting in Raleigh.

Last fall, I had the pleasure of meeting and lecturing with Lucinda Hutson of Austin, Texas. Lucinda is a delightful person; a combination artist, designer, and chef. Lucinda has published several cookbooks as well as an array of articles in addition to her career as an interior/exterior designer. You can get an idea of Lucinda’s exuberant style and possibly book her as a lecturer through her website at www.lucindahutson.com.

If you’re out and around North Raleigh on Tuesday May 5, I’ll be presenting a free gardening seminar at 7pm at the North Raleigh Library at 7009 Harps Mill Road. If we have a good crowd, I’ll consider doing more of these in the future. No registration is necessary, but the library phone number is 919-870-4000. Bring your gardening questions and problems; I hope to see you there.

Obviously, the big upcoming events for us are our two Spring Open Nursery and Garden weekends on Friday – Sunday, May 1-3 and May 8-10. We will be open from 8am-5pm on Friday and Saturday and 1-5pm on Sunday. There is so much to see that we truly wish everyone could visit and enjoy the gardens for themselves. Just walking through the gardens now is a sensory delight. Not only are the colors and textures a thing to behold, but the exuberant fragrances are just amazing. From banana shrubs to phlox to dianthus, it’s amazing what fragrances plants can add to your garden. At Open House, not only can you see how plants should grow in the garden, you will no doubt leave with a cartload of ideas, inspiration, and hopefully a few cool plants. This year, one of our largest agaves ( Agave salmiana v. ferox ‘Logan Calhoun’) has sent up a huge flower spike, which should be close to fully open, so come and enjoy a phallic moment with us in the garden. Directions can be found on our website.

One of the many challenges of running a nursery is predicting what will sell and in what quantities. Sometimes we hit the target, and sometimes we miss as bad as a North Korean missile launch. There are many factors that determine how well a plant sells, but the most important is the photograph…hence the reason many mail order catalogs pay professional photographers to take studio shots that often use dozens of plants which are then ‘cut and pasted’ to make one photo. A particular favorite is the commonly used mail order photo of Arum italicum showing the arum seed heads with leaves inserted from a calla lily. I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a problem trusting folks who use doctored photos, but then they probably laugh at our meager sales. Another key factor in determining sales is photo placement…did you realize the location of an image on a page can double or triple sales of that item? That being said, here are our top 10 list of great plants for 2009 that didn’t sell as well as they should have …. consequently, we have some really nice ones remaining.

1. Agapanthus ‘Back in Black’ …must be the photo, as it’s a really cool plant.
2. Agave guiengola ‘Creme Brulee’ …we possibly saturated the market last year, but this is a really amazing potted specimen.
3. Colocasia ‘Blackwater’ – this narrow leaf C. ‘Fontanesii’ has evidently been overshadowed by the great new John Cho hybrids.
4. Colocasia esculenta ‘Hilo Bay’ – this overshadower has the most distinctive leaf, but is the worst seller…really hard to capture this well in an image…bummer.
5. Cypripedium parviflorum v. pubescens – the high cost of 7 years production time has unfortunately put this plant out of reach this season for many economically impaired gardeners. It should have sold much better…very disappointing. Disappointing, heck…this means I’ll have more for my own garden.
6. Epimediums, especially ‘Pink Elf’, E. x youngianum ‘Tamabotan’, E. x versicolor ‘Cherry Tart’ and E. grandiflorum ‘Pierre’s Purple’. So, do we just have too many eps? These are all great selections and ‘Cherry Tart’ is just delightful, but for some reason, folks just won’t buy it. E. ‘Pink Elf’…one of only three patented epimedium in the world…very floriferous…must be the darn photograph.
7. Fargesia denudata – do people really trust that there are clumping bamboos when disreputable nurseries are selling Phyllostachys nigra (black bamboo) and claiming it to be clumping…which is it not. Perhaps folks want all bamboos to be 30’ tall…and they are really hard to photograph well. I wish you knew how hard it’s been to get these into the trade.
8. Hostas…geez, is it the deer or too much to choose from? A new hosta will sell really well, then when collectors get their fill, sales drop off for the next 2-5 years until regular gardeners realize how great they are. Disappointments for 2009 include

H. ‘Appetizer’…a really nice dwarf;
H. ‘Applause’…which looks like a clump of hands clapping;
H. ‘Cathedral Windows’…an incredible sport of H. ‘Stained Glass’;
H. ‘Deliverance’…ok, the movie connotation probably did this one in;
H. ‘Electrocution’…so where are you gardeners with the sick sense of humor?
H. ‘Landslide’…it’s a photo thing along with leaves that aren’t round and cupped;
H. ‘Mango Tango’…it’s as nice as H. ‘Stitch in Time’, but the name just doesn’t have the same ring;
H. ‘Parasol’…we thought the name on this H. ‘Blue Umbrellas’ sport was perfect, but you must not have agreed; and
H. ‘White Wall Tire’;…sold great last year, but is a dud in 2009…must be the Detroit crash that has affected this one.

9. Malvaviscus ‘Pam Puryear’ …something about a pink turk’s cap just didn’t find a niche in the market.
10. xHeucherella ‘Alabama Sunrise’ …okay great name, great photo, great plant …. guess I’ll need to call the psychic hotline to figure this one out.

And this business looks easy to who?

Speaking of hostas, our staff suggested we let you know which containers of hostas are obscenely huge and need a good home, so here’s the list of those that would make instant clumps or are so dividable you can immediately get into the nursery business. Applause
Capitol Hill
Christmas Pageant
Climax
First Frost
Halcyon
His Honor
Journey’s End
Key Lime Pie
Landslide
Lederhosen
Miss Tokyo
Peedee Elfin Bells
Percy
Pilgrim
Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Pot of Gold
Shazaam
Sun Power
Swamp Thing
Twilight Time
White Necklace
Yesterday’s Memories

For those who entered our Top 25 contest to compete for the $250 worth of plants, click here for the results though April 26, 2009. Topping the list for the first time is the new Echinacea ‘Tomato Soup’, which just edged out Colocasia ‘Thailand Giant’for the top spot. The only other colocasia in the list so far is Colocasia ‘Mojito’in the 4th spot. In third place is the first appearance for Syneilesis aconitifoliain the top 25. The only other echinacea in the list this month is E. ‘Green Envy’. Thanks to the shade gardeners, it’s good to see two ferns, an asarum, an epimedium, and even an aspidistra make the list. The list changes each month, so if your picks don’t show up near the top yet, don’t despair.

In other news, we reported last month the Northwest Flower and Garden Show and the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show were both being phased out unless a new owner stepped forward. The latest news is Duane Kelly has two different parties interested in purchasing and continuing the shows. No final decisions have been made, but at least there is hope. In the Southeast, the Southeastern Flower Show in Atlanta is taking a temporary hiatus for 2010, while it re-evaluates the financial commitments required to put on its annual flower show. There is still no word on when or if the New England Flower Show in Boston will ever resume, since the financial mess there is still to be resolved and their bills from the 2008 show remain to be paid.

We were saddened to learn of the passing of plantsman Alex Summers of Bridgeville, Delaware on Sunday, April 11. Summers, 96, was a founding member of the American Hosta Society in 1968 and served as president for the first decade of the society’s existence. Alex was also a keen gardener as anyone who has visited his garden knows firsthand. Alex was preceded in death by his wife Gene, but is survived by his son Alan. Instead of sending flowers, the family asks donations be made to the American Hosta Society.

We lost another giant of the plant world on April 12, with the passing of Dr. Thad Howard of Texas at age 79. Thad is best known for his extensive work with bulbs for hot climates, though his numerous plant expeditions into Mexico, and for his 2001 book, Bulbs for Warm Climates (University of Texas Press). I was fortunate to visit Thad at his home in May 2003 and take him on a ride though Texas to visit other bulb greats such as Crinum guru, Dave Lehmiller, the wonderful Yucca Do Nursery, and to meet another Texas crinum guru, Marcelle Sheppard for the first time. It was truly a trip that I.ll remember for the rest of my life. Thad also was a mentor to a number of young men, who later went on to become bulb experts in their own right including Steve Lowe of Tejas Bulbs, and garden writer/lecturer Scott Ogden.

As always, thanks for taking time to read our rants and most of all, thank you so much for your support and orders this year!

Please direct all replies and questions to office@plantdelights.com.

Thanks and enjoy

-tony