Visit to Mr. Maple

I’m just back from speaking to the Western NC Master Gardener Symposium…always a great time chatting with MG groups.  While in Asheville, I dropped by to finally visit our friends Matt and Tim Nichols…the owners of Mr. Maple mail order nursery in East Flat Rock, NC.  It just happened that the PBS show, Growing a Greener World was filming there at the time, which afforded a chance to connect with host Joe Lamp’l, and producer Erica Glasener…a great day!

Cuphea micropetala – Halloween flowers for fall

For over a month, Cuphea micropetala has been simply glorious with its Halloween colored flowers. Hardy for us, it can be used as a container specimen as long as you move it indoors before a freeze. For us, it dies to the ground after a hard freeze, but returns stronger each year here in Zone 7b. 

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 [...]