What a Relieve

Alstroemeria ‘Summer Relieve’ has been a real star in our trials. This patch is now 3 years old, and consists of 9 original plants. Flowering typically starts for us in early May, slows during the worst heat of summer, and picks up again as temperatures cool. Hardiness Zone 5b-8b.

Alstroemeria ‘Summer Relieve’

Plant Delights Nursery September 2014 Newsletter

Greetings PDN’ers!

PDN Fall Nursery News

We hope you’ve received your copy of the Fall 2014 Plant Delights Nursery catalog. Kudos to our graphic designer Shari Sasser at Sasser Studios for the catalog redesign and new look. Among other things, the fall catalog includes three new aucubas, six new crinum lilies, and twenty new fern offerings. These are a fraction of the many exciting new plants you’ll find either in the print version or online.

Hibiscus 'Kopper King' PP# 10,793

Hibiscus ‘Kopper King’ PP# 10,793

It’s always interesting for us to see what sells and what doesn’t. Top sellers from the fall catalog so far include, Adiantum venustumAgapanthus ‘White Heaven’Agave ‘Huasteca Giant’Agave ‘Shadow Dancer’Alstroemeria ‘Koice’Aster ‘Fanny’Begonia ‘Pewterware’Bouvardia ‘Scarlet Hummer’Canna ‘Pacific Beauty’Dryopteris erythrosora v. prolificaEchinacea ‘Fatal Attraction’Epimedium ‘Domino’,  Eucalyptus neglectaHeuchera ‘Citronelle’Hibiscus ‘Kopper King’Hibiscus ‘Midnight Marvel’Hosta ‘Orange Marmalade’Juniperus conferta ‘All Gold’Lespedeza ‘White Fountain’Ligularia ‘Chinese Dragon’Lilium formosanum Giant formOxalis ‘Francis’Patrinia scabiosifoliaPhlox ‘Peppermint Twist’Ruellia ‘Black Beauty’Salvia greggii ‘Teresa’, and Salvia ‘Golden Girl’.

Aspidistra crispa 'Golden Freckles'

Aspidistra crispa ‘Golden Freckles’

On the other end of the scale, plants which will be severely disciplined for not selling to this point include Aspidistra crispa ‘Golden Freckles’Aucuba ‘Sagama’Begonia henryi,Buddleia ‘Blue Chip Jr.’Buddleia ‘Pink Micro Chip’Choisya ‘Limo’Crinum x digweedii ‘Mermaid’Harpochloa falxLycoris x jacksoniana ‘Caldwell’s Rose’Ophiopogon ‘Tuff Tuft Lavender’Taxus bacatta ‘Aurescens Nana’, and Trismeria trifoliata. We know how well these plants perform, and how hard they auditioned just to earn a spot in the catalog. We really hope you’ll save these gems from the whips and chains of our growing staff and give ’em a try!

October Photography Class with Josh Taylor

Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014, 8am–4pm
Garden Photography – Photo Capture and Processing with Josh Taylor

Photo Class

Photo Class

Learn how to get the best possible images from your camera and how to process your images in Lightroom with Photoshop/Photoshop Elements.

The morning focus of this all-day workshop will be on learning and getting reacquainted with your camera ISO settings, histogram, exposure compensation, shooting modes, bracketing, white balance, etc. You’ll spend 3 hours in the garden with your camera and the instructor.

The afternoon session will be devoted to post-processing with Lightroom using participants’ images for demonstrations. Register hereor call to register at 919-772-4794. See some examples of Josh’s work on his website: www.joshuataylorphotography.com.

Sweden & Germany 2014 Expedition Log

We’ve finally finished the online version of Tony’s expedition log from his trip to Germany and Sweden this spring…lots of cool plants, great gardens, and amazing people. If you’d like to travel along, enjoy the trek here.

Main building at the Munich Botanical Garden

Main building at the Munich Botanical Garden

Last Open Nursery and Garden Days for 2014 are Sept. 19-21

Grasshopper on Hibiscus 'Turn of the Century'

Grasshopper on Hibiscus ‘Turn of the Century’

This weekend, we’re putting the wraps on our final open nursery and garden days for 2014, so we hope you can make the trip to Plant Delights Nursery and Juniper Level Botanic Garden to share the splendor of the fall gardens. Not only is there lots to see here in September, but our muscadine grape trials are ripe, so you can sample each variety while you’re here…or park your spouse under the grapevines to keep them from pestering you while you peruse the gardens and shop.

2015 Open Nursery and Garden Dates
Winter 2015
February 27 – March 1
March 6 – 8

Spring 2015
May 1 – 3
May 8 – 10

Summer 2015
July 10 – 12
July 17 – 19

Fall 2015
September 11 – 13
September 18 – 20

Fridays/Saturdays 8a-5p and Sundays 1-5p
Rain or Shine!     Free Parking
Click for more info

Juniper Level Botanic Garden

Juniper Level Botanic Garden

Fall is a fabulous time to plant!

In most parts of the country, it’s a fabulous time to plant…everything except agaves, echinaceas, bananas, and elephant ears (from Zone 7b north). North of us, just don’t plant anything marginally hardy in your zone as your first frost approaches and, in climates where the ground freezes in winter, allow enough time to get the roots anchored to keep the plants from heaving out of the ground.

Four months ago, we posted photos of our new four seasons garden that we’d just installed near our retail greenhouses. This section of the garden is now 16 weeks old, so we’d love for you to see what it looks like now and see how much it’s grown…a great demonstration why good organic soil preparation is so important and how much plants will grow when they’re properly cared for.

Four Seasons Garden - May 2014

Four Seasons Garden – May 2014

Four Seasons Garden - September 2014

Four Seasons Garden – September 2014

Nursery Industry News

PDN kudos to Plant Delights customer Allen Lacy, the founder and chief weed puller at the new Linwood Arboretum. Allen received some great publicity recently in an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer that we’d like to share.

We were also glad to see a recent article about our friend, the late Logan Calhoun, that just appeared in the Dallas News. Logan was a Plant Delights customer who shared many special plants that we still offer today…fifteen years after his untimely death.



In other news from the nursery world, Q&Z Nursery of Rochelle, Illinois, a major wholesale hosta tissue culture lab, is closing its doors. Although very disappointing, I can’t say I’m surprised. Q&Z, which has operated for 22 years since splitting from its former retail division T&Z, chose its market niche to be a hosta liner supplier to small mom and pop backyard nurseries.

They did this by offering a huge selection of new hostas (over 400 of their own introductions), without much, if any, in-ground evaluation, introducing seemingly every mutation that they found in the lab. If they tissue cultured a variegated hosta and it mutated back green, they would name and introduce the plant, knowing these small nurseries were usually more interested in having new hosta names in their catalog than having the best new hostas. This business model cost them the business of larger, more discriminating retailers, especially because they rarely had good photography of mature clumps of their new introductions…the single most important factor in properly introducing a new plant. Still, a few of their hostas turned out to be good plants that had staying power, including Hosta ‘Diamond Tiara’,  ‘Pineapple Upside-down Cake’, Hosta ‘Radiant Edger’, Hosta ‘Sugar and Cream’, Hosta ‘Sugar and Spice’, Hosta ‘Summer Breeze’,  ‘Summer Lovin’, and Hosta ‘Victory’.

Hosta 'Summer Lovin'

Hosta ‘Summer Lovin’

Once the economy tanked, it took many of the smaller nurseries with it, making it even more difficult for such a business model to be sustainable. The founder/owner, Mark Zilis, is one of the most knowledgeable folks in the hosta world, as witnessed by his landmark hosta book, The Hostapaedia, which you can currently still purchase on the Q&Z website.

We’d like to publicly thank Mark and his staff for their contributions to the world of hostas, and wish them the best in their future endeavors.

Garden Director Needed

In local news, one of our neighboring botanic gardens is in need of a new director. Dr. Peter White, director of the NC Botanical Garden, is stepping down to return to teaching and writing, so the garden is in need of a new director. Interested? If so, you can find out more here.

Wedding Anniversary Flowers

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Yofloma'

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Yofloma’

Do you struggle with what to get that special gardener in your family? Consider giving a wedding anniversary flower. Not only are there designated precious stones to celebrate wedding anniversaries, but there are designated plants. The list below suggests what you might present plantwise.

  • 1st Carnation
  • 2nd Lily of the Valley
  • 3rd Sunflower
  • 4th Hydrangea
  • 5th Daisy
  • 6th Calla
  • 7th Freesia
  • 8th Lilac
  • 9th Bird of paradise
  • 10th Daffodil
  • 11th Tulip
  • 12th Peony
  • 13th Chrysanthemum
  • 14th Dahlia
  • 15th Rose
  • 20th Aster
  • 25th Iris
  • 28th Orchid
  • 30th Lily
  • 40th Gladiolus
  • 50th Yellow rose, violet
  • Source: Wikipedia


We try to share important life events from the horticultural world, but here’s one we missed. Ken Durio, 84, founder and president of the infamous Louisiana Nursery passed away last fall on October 28. I say infamous because Louisiana Nursery, was always the topic of customer stories whenever plant people gathered to discuss their new acquisitions. From the 1960s through the 1990s, if you wanted a rare plant…especially a woody plant, there were few sources other than Louisiana Nursery of Opelousas, Louisiana.

Hemerocallis 'August Flame'

Hemerocallis ‘August Flame’

While Louisiana Nursery listed virtually every plant you could imagine, to the tune of 5,000 listings in their prime, the quality of the plants you received, combined with the extravagant prices and their less than stellar customer service, made it a major frustration for most consumers. I’ll never forget ordering their $5 catalog in the late 1980s only to get a return note asking which of their 12 catalogs I wanted…at $5 each…the iris catalog, the hemerocallis catalog, the magnolia catalog, etc.

Ken Durio was an avid and knowledgeable plantsman who started Louisiana Nursery soon after graduating from LSU in 1950. Although it seems hard to imagine today, back in the 1950s and 1960s, Louisiana was one of the epicenters of plant exploration and introduction in the US.

By the 1980s, Ken Durio had developed a reputation as one of the most ornery and curmudgeonly nurserymen in the country, which is why, when I was asked to speak in Baton Rouge in 1996, I told them I would only come if they’d take me to meet the infamous Ken Durio. After trying to talk me out of it, they reluctantly relented and off we went. Despite many tales of people being run off the nursery for no apparent reason, I found Ken both welcoming, hospitable, and glad to chat plants. By this time, however, the nursery had become quite run down as sales had dramatically declined. Louisiana Nursery (no relation to the garden center, Louisiana Nursery.com) became a victim of the Internet, as gardeners were now able to find better quality plants cheaper and without so much hassle.

Iris unguicularis 'Purple Snow'

Iris unguicularis ‘Purple Snow’

No matter what you thought of their business, their plant collections and breeding efforts in groups like iris, daylilies, magnolias, and figs were truly remarkable. One of Ken’s surviving sons, Dalton, recently returned home to take care of his dad in the last stages of life and is currently trying to resurrect the nursery. Fingers crossed for a successful re-launch. You can watch his progress at www.durionursery.biz.

Until next month, join us on the Plant Delights blog , where you can sign up and follow our regular posts from the nursery and garden.

-tony and anita

Featured Plants

Bouvardia ternifolia 'Scarlet Hummer'

Bouvardia ternifolia ‘Scarlet Hummer’

Buddleia 'Pink Micro Chip' PPAF

Buddleia ‘Pink Micro Chip’ PPAF








Canna 'Pacific Beauty'

Canna ‘Pacific Beauty’

Harpochloa falx

Harpochloa falx








Phlox 'Peppermint Twist' PP# 18,196

Phlox ‘Peppermint Twist’ PP# 18,196

Ruellia 'Black Beauty'

Ruellia ‘Black Beauty’


Alstroemeria ‘Casablanca’

Alstromeria Casablanca4Just snapped this image of the amazing Alstroemeria ‘Casablanca‘ in the garden.  Although this was developed as a cut flower, it turned out to be an amazingly hardy perennial.  My friend, Hans Hansen has found this to be hardy for several years in Southern Michigan.

2007 Plant Delights Nursery November Newsletter

When we last talked, we were discussing drought, which is still an issue in many states, particularly in the southeast US. In our part of NC, we have been blessed with two major rains, a 3.5″ storm in mid-September and a 4″ rain in mid-October. Mind you, we’re still in need of much more, but at least the trees are in better shape going into fall.

The drought has already had a huge effect on nurseries in the region. In NC, the drought took out Messenbrink’s Nursery, and the owners are in the process of liquidating their assets. Mark and Louisa’s retail booth has been a popular anchor at the NC Farmers Market in Raleigh, while their wholesale division supplied garden centers throughout the region.

Just south of us, Georgia-based Pike Family Nurseries filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after the severe drought severely impacted their business. Pike Nurseries is probably the largest independently-owned garden center chain in the US with 22 stores in the southeast and, at one time, over 700 employees. Pike’s have secured enough funding to continue operations for now, and we wish them the best as they deal with the continuing drought.

Here at PDN, we’re winding up our 2007 shipping season with only two weeks left before we suspend shipments on November 30, until mid-February. That being said, we will do our best to accommodate any legitimate gardening emergencies during this down period… weather permitting. While plant shipping ends, the busy season for gift certificates is just cranking up. If you have trouble finding gifts for the gardener in your family, consider a PDN gift certificate.

It’s always interesting to see what looks good in the garden in the fall, so I’ve just returned from a stroll around the gardens here at Juniper Level. We’re at the tail end of Cyclamen hederifolium season… a time where the winter-growing foliage has just emerged while the flowers are still in bloom. If you still haven’t grown cyclamen in your garden, you have missed one of the truly great garden plants for the late summer and fall season. Cyclamen hederifolium is best planted at the base of trees and shrubs so that they will stay dry in the summer months while they are dormant.

I mentioned several of the late summer flowering mallows back in September, but three of them are still in full flower here in mid-November. While most commonly grown garden hibiscus are summer flowering types, the giant-growing Hibiscus mutabilis is a fall bloomer which is just getting started. Because of their late flowering, they aren’t particularly useful north of Zone 7b, but south of here, they are highly prized… hence, the common name, Confederate rose… despite their Chinese heritage. This is also peak flowering season for abutilons, which are true stars of the fall garden. Visitors from the Atlanta Botanical Garden last week told us that many of their abutilons flowered all winter due to unseasonably mild winter temperatures last year. The last genera of mallows that are still in flower are the malvaviscus, which have been in full flower since early summer and continue unabated in fall … even through a very light frost. A hard freeze will knock out the malvaviscus and hibiscus flowering, while most abutilons will continue down to at least 20 degrees F.

It’s hard to imagine a better group of late season flowers than the fall-blooming salvias. The most spectacular has to be the 8′ tall yellow-flowered Salvia madrensis. You’ll need some room for this one, but darn it’s showy. One step down in size to the 3-4′ range is Salvia puberula (hot pink), the Salvia leucantha cultivars (lavender-purple), and the brilliant orange red flowered S. regla. If you’re looking for something smaller in the 2′ range, the Salvia greggii forms and hybrids are all in full flower now, as well as the blue flowered S. chamaedryoides. While we don’t recommend planting marginally hardy salvias in the fall, just remember them when you shop in spring and also remember to give them good drainage when you’re planting.

Other long-blooming perennials continue to strut their stuff including Geranium ‘Rozanne’, Alstroemerias ‘Sweet Laura’ and ‘Freedom’, the obscenely long-flowering Cestrum parqui and C. ‘Orange Peel’. Lest I forget, one of the most striking plants is the brilliant red Bouvardia ternifolia. If you’ve tried the commercial bouvardias and they didn’t survive the winter, you need to try our form which is from a colder area of Mexico.

One of my all-time fall favorites is a hardy gladiolus that we introduced several years ago as G. ‘Halloweenie’. For us, it typically starts flowering on Halloween day and continues until a hard freeze. This fast multiplying glad produces enough stems for countless fall arrangements with colors of bright orange and yellow … perfect for adding seasonal color. Another great geophyte (underground storage such as a bulb, tuber, or corm) for fall is the giant tree dahlia, D. imperialis. If we have an early fall, we miss the flowers, but this year, we have already enjoyed a few weeks of Dahlia ‘Double or Nothing’, which is the earliest of the D. imperialis cultivars to flower. From here south, they are truly superb.

A couple of other great perennials that only strut their stuff in the fall include the many cultivars of Farfugium japonicum which are all topped with stunning spikes of bright yellow daisies right now. One plant that isn’t as widely known as it should be is the Mexican Verbesina microptera. This garden giant tops out at 15′ tall with huge leaves and is in full flower now with gigantic flower heads of yellow.

Although we typically don’t think of grasses as having flowers, their plumes just seem to fit the fall season. Some personal favorites that look great now include the giant Saccharum arundinaceum that doesn’t open until mid-October, the re-flowering Miscanthus ‘Andante’, and the splendid Muhlenbergia capillaris … especially the cultivar M. ‘White Cloud’ that simply must be seen to be believed.

Another great late fall and winter interest plant is the arum. These mostly Mediterranean natives are emerging now and will grow all winter before flowering in the spring, then go dormant in the summer months. Because of this reverse growing season, arums are amazingly drought tolerant. If you get serious about this group, be sure to pick up a copy of Peter Boyce’s book, The Genus Arum.

We typically don’t think of perennials for fall color other than flowers, but several of the amsonias, including A. hubrichtii and A. ‘Georgia Pancake’, have great fall foliage color, as does the popular solomon’s seal, Polygonatum odoratum. Another plant that provides dramatic fall color sans flowers is the group of Ruscaceae that includes the genera danae and ruscus. These tough as nails evergreen perennials were born without the benefit of leaves, but with an amazing show of bright orange and red berries respectively in fall. Add another plant that you don’t normally think of growing for fall fruit – the species peonies, P. japonica and P. obovata. Both of these produce amazing seedheads of bright red berries that look great now.

Have you got your 2008 calender handy? I briefly mentioned this in our last update, but here are more details. From September 25-27, 2008, the nearby J.C. Raulston Arboretum will hold a symposium titled, ‘Surround Yourself with Shady Characters’. The don’t-miss speaker list includes:

Bill Cullina – Author and Consultant, New England Wild Flower Society, MA
Sean Hogan – Editor of Flora: A Gardener’s Encyclopedia, Owner of Cistus Nursery, OR
Dave Demers – Plant Explorer, BC
Richard Olsen – Woody Plant Breeder, US National Arboretum, D. C.
Larry Stanley – Stanley and Sons Nursery, Inc., OR
John Grimshaw – Author/Garden Manager, Colesbourne Gardens, UK
Thomas Bonnicksen – Author of America.s Ancient Forests, retired professor Texas A&M

If you are looking for a job, Mississippi State University is looking for a director for the Crosby Arboretum. If you are interested, you can find out more about this and other exciting jobs in public horticulture at www.publicgardens.org/web/2006/06/careers_center_home.aspx.

The great folks at the Birmingham Botanic Gardens asked if we would spread the word about The Central South Native Plant Conference on Oct. 17-18, 2008. The conference, held every 3-4 years, includes lectures, field trips, and tours. For more information, go to www.bbgardens.org (and click on “events”).

If you find yourself indoors by your computer one evening, you might want to visit the JC Raulston Arboretum website, where all of J.C.’s slides (87,000+) have now been scanned and are viewable on line. This is an amazing account of J.C.’s wonderful life and extensive travels.

We had several interesting moves in the late season Top 25 list. The biggest mover was Lycoris radiata, which zoomed from nowhere to reach #5 on the list, thanks in part to a big article in Southern Living magazine. The next biggest move was another lycoris, L. aurea that zoomed to #18 from off the list. Musa ‘Siam Ruby’ jumped to #21 and Eucomis ‘Sparkling Burgundy’ followed close behind at #22. So, how are your Top 25 predictions faring? Only a few more weeks remain before we award the $250 Plant Delights gift certificate to the person who came the closest to predicting the correct finishing order of sales. If you don’t see your plants in the Top 25, you better get your friends busy ordering!

As always, we thank you for your continued support and patronage.

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

Thanks and enjoy -tony

2007 Plant Delights Nursery July Newsletter

Greetings from Plant Delights and we hope the summer find you all well.

We recently finished our 2007 Summer Open House and would like to thank everyone who took time out of their busy schedules to visit and take home a few special plants. For those who have never been to visit us in the summer, this is a great chance to see numerous summer flowering plants, many of which only make an appearance during the summer months. We really hope we can encourage more folks to visit during this exciting time of year in the garden. If you missed our open house, we’re just over a week away from hosting the Summer Meeting of the Southeastern Palm Society.

This is a great chance to talk with other palm and exotic plant growers from around the southeast, as well as pick up some of the latest new plants. If you would like to attend and are not a member of SPS (we hope you will join SPS at the meeting), just email our Administrative Assistant, Julie Picolla, so we can get a head count of how many to expect for lunch. You can download the meeting schedule at www.sepalms.org/SPS_Meetings_News.htm.

The 2007 Fall Plant Delights Catalog is at the printers and will go in the mail next week. Thank goodness I can finally unchain myself from this computer and head back out into the garden where I belong. It’ll take days to wipe the chlorophyll from my keyboard, so don’t expect me to be back into the office anytime soon. I can tell that focusing on writing catalogs gets progressively more difficult as you age… either that or my ADHD is getting much worse. Regardless, the symptoms are the same.

As with all fans of native plants, we mourn the passing of former First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson. I hope everyone has had the opportunity to visit the wonderful center named in her honor in Austin, Texas. If not, put it on your list. You can find out more at www.wildflower.org.

In other gardening news, Dr. David Creech, director of the SFA Mast Arboretum in Nacogdoches, Texas, will be retiring at the end of August and that opens a position in the horticulture program at Stephen F. Austin State University. If you’ve got your PhD and are passionate about plants, consider throwing your proverbial hat in the ring. SFASU is an exciting place, not just because most of the former Space Shuttle Challenger pieces landed there, but because Dr. Creech’s boundless enthusiasm for plants has resulted in a truly amazing botanical collection. As a good friend of the late Dr. JC Raulston, he shared the same philosophy and vision…. It’s all about the plants. If you’ve never seen the collections at SFASU, put this on your list to visit the next time you’re in East Texas.

Another change that came as a shock to most of us in the horticulture world was the spring departure of Doug Ruhren from the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden. It was Doug’s design skills and plant knowledge that took Daniel Stowe from a flat country field to a destination garden, setting it apart from the cookie-cutter gardens that are popping up around the country. It’s a shame that something as silly as differing management philosophies over how to deal with problem staff were allowed to get in the way of keeping a horticulturist as brilliant as Doug at the garden. Far too often, garden management folks simply don’t realize the importance and scarcity of top flight horticulture and subsequently lose the heart and soul of their gardens. Doug is still actively involved in garden design with both private and public projects.

In other news, the famous Western Hills Nursery in Occidental, California has new owners. The property and nursery has been purchased by Robert Stansel and Joseph Gatta. For those who might be unfamiliar with Western Hills Nursery, it was opened in 1960 by famed California horticulturists Marshall Olbrich and Lester Hawkins, who bequeathed the nursery to one of their staff members, Maggie Wych. For much of its existence, Western Hills was considered the top nursery in the country to acquire new rare plants, and on more than one occasion the late Dr. JC Raulston raved about visiting Western Hills. Not only did the nursery offer great plants, but the 3-acre garden is a plantsman’s masterpiece. After struggling with the nursery’s financial health, Wych put the nursery up for sale in 2005. The nursery has now reopened, and you can find out more, including how to visit, by going to www.westernhillsnursery.com”.

In news that just delights me, The Garden Conservancy has adopted Pearl Fryar’s topiary garden in Bishopville, SC, as one of its new conservation projects. I first met Pearl nearly a decade ago when we were both working on the same program, and I came away with a new appreciation of topiary and for the soul of a very special man. If you haven’t read Pearl’s heartwarming story, take time to read about him and hopefully visit his garden at www.fryarstopiaries.com.

Horticulture magazine has announced a fall symposium in Raleigh on Saturday, October 20. The symposium includes a line-up of Lucy Hardiman, designer and author from Oregon; Scott Kunst of Old House Gardens; Landscape Architect Gordon Hayward of Vermont; Rosemary Alexander, founder of the English Gardening School at the Chelsea Physic Garden; and Horticulture.s own Nan Sinton. We’re hosting a special brunch on Friday morning at the nursery before the symposium, where you will be able to tour the gardens and… if the mood strikes you… shop until you drop. We hope to see you here. Details are available at www.hortmag.com.

It’s been quite the year for Amorphophallus titanum flowering. Just after the plant at UNC-Charlotte flowered, another at Cleveland’s Clemet Zoo flowered. To learn more or to see the video, go to www.clemetzoo.com/animal_plant/horticulture/cronus.asp.

Amorphophallus are one of our specialty research genera to determine which species might survive outdoors in our warm temperate climate. Amorphophallus are quite valuable for a lightly shaded garden since most don’t emerge before late spring/early summer and add a valuable freshness when the woodland garden begins to tire as the spring ephemerals go dormant. Not all amorphophallus species have huge or incredibly smelly flowers, but all do possess the delightful form of a deciduous perennial palm tree. Additionally, the seed heads provide another great garden feature. A. henry produces club-like spikes of blue fruit, A. konjac delivers a giant stalk of orange berries, and A. kiusianus produces fruit that starts pink and gradually turns blue. Another interesting thing we’ve noticed is that most species grow better in partial sun and in some cases full sun for several hours. Dense shade tends to produce very weak plants that aren’t particularly attractive. We’re now up to 11 species that have been successful outdoors in the ground… see the list below. There are still many more species that we are yet to try, and we hope for a few more hardy species.

* A. albus
* A. bulbifer
* A. corrugatus
* A. dunnii
* A. henryi
* A. kiusianus
* A. konjac
* A. symonianus
* A. thaiensis
* A. yuloensis
* A. yunnanensis

For the first time in several years, we are working to catch up on Hosta registrations from our breeding program. While our hosta breeding has continued, we simply have not had the time to catch up on evaluations and subsequent registrations. After dedicating three consecutive days to the project, we have named 18 new hostas, most of which will be gradually introduced over the next few years. We are also changing the name of our Hosta ‘Chickadee’ to ‘Dixie Chickadee’ since research revealed that the late Dr. Herb Benedict introduced (but never registered) a plant by the same name. The name change will be reflected in our catalog as of January 2008. We feel this will be the easiest way to avoid possible confusion.

There are so many great plants that look great in the summer that it often makes us wish that visitors could see them all, but the best we can do is to tell you about them and hope you will try them for yourselves. I’ll start with some of the late-flowering daylilies. If you’re like most folks, your normal daylilies have come and gone, but not if you grow some of the wonderful late-flowering varieties. While there are some modern day breeders working on late-flowering varieties, many of the most popular selections are still WWII era introductions. Two of my favorites which are in full flower now are H. ‘Autumn Minaret’ (yellow) and H. ‘August Flame’ (red).

Other flowers similar in height include the perennial Alstroemerias, such as Mark Bridgen’s great hybrids, A. ‘Freedom’ and A. ‘Sweet Laura’… both great in the garden and for making summer flower arrangements.

Mid to late July is also when the first of the ginger (hedychium) hybrids start to flower. The first in what will be a summer sucession of flowers include H. densiflorum ‘Stephen’, H. ‘Kanogie’, H. ‘Daniel Weeks’, and H. coccineum ‘Flaming Torch’. While the plants will survive amazing drought conditions, remember that moisture is the key to good hedychium flowering. Additionally, planting hedychiums on a slope is preferred, although certainly not necessary. One of the things that struck me in the wild is that hedychiums are always found growing on a slope.

There are a number of great summer bulbs including crocosmias. The new selections from David Tristam are exceptionally good flowering and a far cry from C. ‘Lucifer’, which essentially crowds itself out and stops flowering after only one season.

Other favorite summer-flowering bulbs include the many selections of crinum and lycoris. Crinums are winter dormant, while lycoris are dormant in spring and early summer. Both plants provide a great mid to late summer show, despite the vargaries of the weather. Many of the crinums and lycoris have also proven to be much more winter hardy than some gardening texts give them credit. Thanks to help from our bulb friends, we’ve been able to assemble one of the best offerings of both of these great bulb genera that you’ll find. While both are great southern pass-along plants, you first need a friend to pass them along. In the meantime, we’ll be your intermediary.

Lilies…yes, summer is the time for a great show of lilies. Many of the asiatic hybrids don’t do much for me, but some of the species selections are phenomenal. Lilium formosanum is certainly hard to beat for a white lily, but the yellow-orange Lilium henryi provides a different effect with its arching stems of pendant flowers. If you haven’t grown the recently discovered US native Lilium pyrophilum, then you’ve missed a truly great lily… find a moist spot and enjoy! Lest I end without mentioning Lilium lancifolium ‘Flora Plena’. The amazing tiger lily is great in the garden, great as a cut flower, and also makes bulbils in the leaf axils that you can share with gardening friends.

If you like red hot pokers, how about some that bloom in the summer? One of my favorite summer flowering clones is Kniphofia ‘Nancy’s Red’, which is in full flower as we speak. I couldn’t stop without mentioning the wonderful eupatoriums. All it takes is a slightly moist location and you’ll have a landing tower for butterflies, not to mention the wonderful bouffant purple flower heads. I could go on for hours, but I’m already two pages over what marketing consultants tell us that customers will actually bother to read… you know, short attention spans and all that garbage.

In other plant news, we like to let you know when we find a mix-up or when a plant doesn’t perform as we have touted it. This is going back a few years, but we offered a Hosta ‘Blue and Gold’ in 2003, which was reportedly a sport of H. ‘Hadspen Blue’. Now that our plant is mature, it is obviously H. ‘Tokudama Flavocircinalis’… a great hosta, but not a sport of H. ‘Hadspen Blue’. If you are one of the seven people who purchased these, change your tags.

We have also been very disappointed at the overwintering performance of many of the new coreopsis hybrids. Part of the problem seems to be that one of the parents that imparts the cool colors to the hybrids is Coreopsis tinctoria, which is an annual species. While true winter hardiness is not the problem, we are finding that when planted in the ground and allowed to flower, they are not surviving even our last two mild winters of 15 degrees F. Reportedly, non-flowering plants installed in late fall will survive fine. A few folks tell me that if they are cut to the ground in the early fall, that this may help with winter survival, but we aren’t betting on this. Researchers from NC State University think the problem is that the excessive flowering does not allow energy to go into developing enough basal growth for the plant to overwinter. We are pulling these from the market and hope the introducers of these will be willing to assist us with refunding money to customers (yeah, right!) who have not found them to be as winter hardy as promised. To get a credit or refund, just email our customer service department at office@plantdelights.com.

As if we needed more pests, the following alert from the Florida Department of Agriculture may be of interest for those living in or vacationing to Florida. To quote information from officials in Florida, ‘The redbay ambrosia beetle, Xyleborus glabratus was first detected in the U.S. in a survey trap in Georgia in 2002. It now exists from Florida to South Carolina on redbay and sassafras. Not enough is known about this ambrosia beetle, but its behavior seems very similar to the Granulate (Asian) ambrosia beetle. This beetle also makes “toothpicks” and is thought to vector a wilt disease. Please report any wilting or bark beetle activity on redbay or sassafras so it can be checked.” For more information, see the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Pest Alert at www.doacs.state.fl.us/pi/enpp/ento/x.glabratus.html.

There’s been some movement in the Top 25 this month, although most of the list has stayed relatively stable. Tiarella ‘Pink Skyrocket’ zoomed from off the list last month to 10th place overall, while Nierembergia ‘Starry Eyes’ also shot from 22nd to 14th place. In a couple of other big moves, the perennial hollyhock, Alcea rugosa, jumped from off the list to 19th place and Aloe polyphylla moved from 27th to 20th. So, how are your top 25 predictions faring? Only four more months remain before we award the $250 Plant Delights gift certificate to the person who came the closest to predicting the correct finishing order of sales.

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

Thanks and enjoy


2001 Plant Delights Nursery December Newsletter

It’s December, which means only a few more weeks remain before the new 2002 Plant Delights Nursery Catalog will hit the mail. All of the plants have been selected, the text has been written, and the photographs have been selected. Now, all that remains is to finish putting everything into a publishable format. David Lee, our master graphic arts designer/shipping manager is spending nights and weekends putting this all together.

Over 150 new plants and over 700 color photographs grace the pages of the upcoming 2002 catalog, expanded from 96 to 116 pages. We hope to have good stock on all items, although anticipating demand for a new plant is anything but an exact science.

We have essentially stopped shipping plants for 2001, unless we are apprized of a horticulture emergency to which we could respond. Newly arriving orders will be scheduled for spring 2002 shipment. Remember, there are still gift certificates. If you’re tired of getting new ties, socks, or more golf balls than you could possibly lose, you could always drop a hint for a Plant Delights Nursery Gift Certificate. A simple call to our Customer Service folks at 919.772.4794 gets one on the way, so you’ll be ready when the new catalog arrives.

From the staff at Plant Delights, we hope you have a great Holiday Season and we hope to hear from you when the new catalog arrives. God Bless America!

Final 2001 Top 20 sellers as of 12/01

1 ‘Colocasia Black Magic’
2 Muhlenbergia capillaris
3 Colocasia antiquorum ‘Illustris’
4 Salvia leucantha ‘Santa Barbara’ PPAF
5 Lobelia ‘Cotton Candy’
6 Gaura ‘Pink Cloud’
7 Tanacetum vulgare ‘Isla Gold’
8 Athyrium filix-femina ‘Frizelliae’
9 Veronica ‘Royal Candles’ PPAF
10 Athyrium ‘Ghost’
11 Lantana ‘Miss Huff’
12 Dicliptera suberecta
13 Lilium formosanum
14 Hosta plantaginea
15 Vinca minor ‘Illumination’
16 Verbena ‘Snowflurry’
17 Tradescantia ‘Sweet Kate’
18 Sedum ‘Purple Emperor’ 19 Veronica prostrata ‘Aztec Gold ‘ (formerly V. ‘Buttercup’ PPAF)
20 Physostegia virginiana ‘Miss Manners’ PPAF
21 Coreopsis ‘Sweet Dreams’ PPAF
22 Yucca rostrata
23 Lamium maculatum ‘Anne Greenway’
24 Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’ PPAF
25 Alstroemeria ‘Freedom’ PP 9,393


2001 Plant Delights Nursery October Newsletter

It’s hard to believe, but the year is coming to a close…and without a hurricane to hit the US! Fall has been beautiful and consequently lots of folks have been planting in their gardens. Frankly, with all that’s gone on in the world this fall, the garden is truly the place to be. I can easily remember back to the “good old days” when we didn’t know a Taliban from a telephone.

The change in consumer purchasing habits due to the terrorist disaster has had tremendous effects on our industry with many small nurseries folding up shop, while major players such as Burpee went in to Chapter 11 bankruptcy. I cannot emphasize enough…patronize your favorite nurseries, be they local or mail order. Many small and some larger nurseries simply cannot endure income slow downs, particularly in the fall and winter.

We are already looking forward to a big spring, and our greenhouses are nearly fully stocked. Stocked that is with a dizzying array of wonderful new plants. We are working nearly round-the-clock on the 2002 catalog as we finish writing the descriptions and begin the tedious process of selecting photographs.

Several of our staff has just returned from the wonderful Southern Plant Conference in Athens, GA. With seventeen of the top plantsmen in the country as speakers, this was one of the most intense and fun conferences that I’ve ever attended. Held every two years, the next SPC will be held in Charleston in fall 2003.

This has also has been a great fall for chocolate! The specialty chocolate as well as the home-made chocolate chip cookies have been superb…keep ’em coming! Okay, it’s time to get back to the catalog and for you to get back to your garden. See you soon.

Our top selling plants for the season as of October 15, 2001

1 ‘Colocasia Black Magic’
2 Colocasia antiquorum ‘Illustris’
3 Muhlenbergia capillaris
4 Salvia leucantha ‘Santa Barbara’ PPAF
5 Lobelia ‘Cotton Candy’
6 Gaura ‘Pink Cloud’
7 Tanacetum vulgare ‘Isla Gold’
8 Athyrium filix-femina ‘Frizelliae’
9 Veronica ‘Royal Candles’ PPAF
10 Athyrium ‘Ghost’
11 Lantana ‘Miss Huff’
12 Dicliptera suberecta
13 Lilium formosanum
14 Vinca minor ‘Illumination’
15 Verbena ‘Snowflurry’
16 Tradescantia ‘Sweet Kate’
17 Sedum ‘Purple Emperor’
18 Physostegia virginiana ‘Miss Manners’ PPAF
19 Lamium maculatum ‘Anne Greenway’
20 Veronica prostrata ‘Buttercup’ PPAF
21 Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’ PPAF
22 Salvia chamaedryoides
23 Hosta plantaginea
24 Alstroemeria ‘Freedom’ PP 9,393


2001 Plant Delights Nursery August Newsletter

I hope everyone now has received their fall catalog by now. Response to the larger color photos has been wonderful, which is really good because they were really expensive. The catalog is filled with many choice new items, so don’t be left out as plants begin to sell out. So far fall orders are far exceeding last year, which as Martha would say, is “A good thing”.

We have just completed construction of a new underground irrigation tank, which will take the place of the one that collapsed back in June. This has been a time consuming and obscenely expensive task, that has left facilities manager Larry Blakeman, claustrophobic, covered in mud, and probably thinking about finding an air-conditioned office job. In the same area, Gary Mazur and Joe Steele of Raleigh’s Envision’s Co. are just finishing the installation of the new patio pavers around the new Southwestern Garden. We can’t wait for you to see this area, filled with agaves and cacti…truly amazing!

We would like to welcome two new employees to the permanent Plant Delights staff. Sarah Gwynn has replaced Cindy Brooks in our office. Sarah has already made great headway in the task of pronouncing some of those long Latin names. Cindy has returned to the less stressful life of taking care of family and some part-time work. We would also like to welcome Brian Hicks, who joins us in our newly created position as Plant Pathologist. It will be Brian’s job to keep the plants healthy and free from insect and disease.

Our top selling plants for the season as of September 1, 2001

1 ‘Colocasia Black Magic’
2 Colocasia antiquorum ‘Illustris’
3 Salvia leucantha ‘Santa Barbara’ PPAF
4 Muhlenbergia capillaris
5 Lobelia ‘Cotton Candy’
6 Gaura ‘Pink Cloud’
7 Athyrium filix-femina ‘Frizelliae’
8 Veronica ‘Royal Candles’ PPAF
9 Tanacetum vulgare ‘Isla Gold’
10 Athyrium ‘Ghost’
11 Lilium formosanum
12 Lantana ‘Miss Huff’
13 Hosta plantaginea
14 Dicliptera suberecta
15 Vinca minor ‘Illumination’
16 Sedum ‘Purple Emperor’
17 Lamium maculatum ‘Anne Greenway’
18 Verbena ‘Snowflurry’
19 Salvia chamaedryoides
20 Physostegia virginiana ‘Miss Manners’ PPAF
21 Tradescantia ‘Sweet Kate’
22 Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’ PPAF
23 Veronica prostrata ‘Buttercup’ PPAF
24 Alstroemeria ‘Freedom’ PP 9,393


2000 Plant Delights Nursery November Newsletter

Well, the 2000 shipping season is drawing to a close, as we reach the end of November. This month has seen several of us glued to our desk, composing the 2001 spring catalog, which will go to the printer in early December, then in the mail on January 1. As always, there is an array of wonderful new introductions, including some of the most exciting new hostas in years!

It’s been a busy fall with traveling, and I must include a word of thanks to all the great audiences around the country. It is truly rewarding to get a chance to meet customers face to face, and share in your gardening successes.

Our fall weather here at the nursery has been outstanding, even with the driest fall on record. If going without a hurricane means drought, then we’ll take the drought. Granted we have had to apply a little more water to the display gardens than normal, but that’s okay as well.

You may be wondering what ended up as our top sellers for the season…and we didn’t need four recounts to decide:

1 Hibiscus ‘Kopper King’
2 Colocasia ‘Black Magic’
3 Physostegia ‘Miss Manners’
4 Tiarella ‘Iron Butterfly’
5 Persicaria ‘Red Dragon’
6 Muhlenbergia capillaris
7 Syneilesis aconitifolia
8 Athyrium ‘Frizelliae’
9 Colocasia antiquorum ‘Illustris’
10 Lilium formosanum
11 Sabal minor ‘McCurtain’
12 Tiarella ‘Heronswood Mist’
13 Sedum ‘Neon’
14 Helleborus x hybridus
15 Verbena Snowflurry’
16 Baptisia sphaerocarpa
17 Asarum ‘Velvet Queen’
18 Canna ‘Cleopatra’
19 Baptisia ‘Purple Smoke’
20 Alstroemeria ‘Sweet Laura’
21 Ajania ‘Yellow Splash’
22 Colocasia fontanesii
23 Laurentia fluvitalis
24 Polygonatum odoratum ‘Variegatum’
25 Panicum ‘Shenandoah’
26 Agastache ‘Blue Fortune’
27 Eucomis ‘Sparkling Burgundy’
28 Pulmonaria ‘Majeste’
29 Helleborus foetidus ‘Sienna’
30 Rhapidophyllum hystrix