JC Raulston Arboretum – New Gardens Manager

Congratulations to NC plantsman and friend Doug Ruhren, who was just named the new Gardens Manager for the JC Raulston Arboretum.  Doug has volunteered in the perennial border at the arboretum for nearly 30 years, among full-time stints at Chatwood Camellia Gardens, Montrose, Daniel Stowe Botanic Garden, and the American Camellia Society headquarters.  As an independent garden designer, Doug’s work is only display at other gardens and nurseries around the country.  We look forward to seeing Doug’s transformative gardening/design skills throughout the arboretum’s amazing collections.   

Variegated magnolia and mahonia

If you grow many plants from seed, you already know the chance of finding variegated offspring is actually fairly good..if you have a detailed eye.  Most variegates have little if any commercial value, other than to crazy plant collectors, who will gladly trade their first born for a start.  Still, it's always exciting when these pop-up. Here is our seedling of Magnolia insignis 'Significant Find'...in the ground for several years and unstably stable. Here is our unnamed seedling of Mahonia fargesii in the garden.  Keep your eyes peeled in your own garden and when you visit others.  Read more [...]

Lycoris surprise – the late season

While Lycoris x squamigera is one of the first surprise lily to flower each summer, Lycoris x caldwellii (Lycoris chinensis x longituba) is one of the last, usually in early to mid September in NC.  With the popularity of Lycoris x squamigera in gardens through the upper midwest, it is quite shocking not to find the equally winter hardy Lycoris x caldwellii...especially since it offsets quite fast for a surprise lily.  We guess some of the lack of other hardy clones in gardens is that most people purchased mislabeled plants and think they are actually growing Amaryllis belladonna.  Unless you garden from Zone 8 south, you are not growing Amaryllis belladonna outdoors.  We're doing our best to get these great lycoris spread far and wide.  Read more [...]

New sterile hybrid hellebores for fall – sneak peek

 We are very excited to add four brand new Helleborus niger hybrids (bred with Helleborus x hybridus) to our fall on-line catalog.  These are sisters to the wildly popular Helleborus 'Anna's Red' and 'Penny's Pink', all with outfacing flowers, incredible silver-veined foliage, and no seed. Our supplies of each are very limited.  Helleborus 'Cheryl's Shine' Helleborus 'Dana's Dulcet' Helleborus 'Moondance' Helleborus 'Sally's Shell'   Read more [...]

Lovin’ Leaf and Limb

    We were thrilled to welcome Raleigh based Treecology firm, Leaf and Limb for a volunteer workday at Juniper Level Botanic Gardens (JLBG) recently.  Almost 30 team members showed up with tree equipment to help with pruning, and some woodland canopy opening.  These volunteer work days are also used as a training opportunity for newer Leaf and Limb staffers.  Their crew had recently conducted a similar volunteer day at the JC Raulston Arboretum.  Kudos to a wonderful firm, and our sincere thanks for a job well done.  Read more [...]

Foxtrot in the Garden

Foxtrot – “a dance characterized by long, continuous flowing movements” – Wikipedia. Pennisetum ‘Foxtrot’ –  I’ve long loved this splendid fountain grass, but somehow never managed to remember to stop and take a good photo…until now.  We like it so much, we planted a big mass around our new home.  These were planted as 1 quart pots in January…yes, we shop here also.   

 

Cow Pies….aka Meadow Muffin

I will admit I originally purchased this from We-Du Nursery co-founder, Dick Weaver for the name, after he shared the story of tromping through the woods near his home in Polly Spout, NC, and spotted what appeared to be a green cow pie.  It turned out to be an exceptional form of the native woodland groundcover, Erigeron pulchellus.  Figuring a plant named 'Cow Pie' wouldn't sell well to city folks, Dick opted for the name Erigeron 'Meadow Muffin'.  We've grown this for nearly 30 years, and as a shade groundcover, it's hard to beat.  The semi-evergreen (temperature dependent) rosettes knit closely together, forming a dense mat.  In mid-spring, the clump are topped with an incredible show of light pink daisies.  We hope you love this as much as we did, and help us keep the story alive. In case you know Dick during his NC nursery days (after retiring as the taxonomist at the Arnold Arboretum) he recently moved from his retirement home in Florida to Pennsylvannia Read more [...]

Magnets and Magenta…both attract

We were marveling this week at the incredible number of pollinator insects feeding on Sedum 'Dynomite' in the garden.  Visitors included honeybees, native bumblebees, dirt daubers, and assorted other wasps...all feasting away as if the buffet was closing.  Gardens can be environmentally healthy and attractive.  Fom a different angle, the same plant of Sedum 'Dynomite', combined with Persicaria 'Golden Arrow'.  Part of the fun of the garden is creating fun color, texture, and form combinations.   Read more [...]

New Cascades Butterfly Bushes…not your grandmothers buddleias

Can we have a collective, WOW!  For decades, we've begged plant breeders to use the weeping butterfly bush, Buddleia lindleyana in their breeding.  Although two breeders did so, and we have their F1 (first generation) hybrids in the garden, no one took it to further generations...until now. We are please to help introduce these amazing Hans Hansen/Walters Garden hybrids...the Cascades series of butterfly bushes.  The "Cascades" aren't small like many of the newer hybrids, but instead mature at 6-6.5' in height and width...the 'Empress Wu' of butterfly bushes. When I visited the Walters Garden trials this summer, these insanely showy butterfly bushes emitted an incredibly strong and sweet fragrance, and were loaded with an array of pollinators.  The "Cascades" are truly breakthroughs in the genus buddleia. They come in three colors, pink, lavender, and grand.  Hmmm....didn't know that grand was a color.  The photo above is Buddleia 'Grand Cascade'.  Read more [...]