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.

xHowardara ‘Little Princess’ flowering today

xHowardara Little Pirncess

If you’re coming to our Open Nursery and Garden today, be sure to check out the flowering xHowardara ‘Little Princess’.  What looks like a red rain lily is actually a very rare tri-generic hybrid…a cross of Hippeastrum (amaryllis) x Sprekelia (Aztec Lily) x Zephyranthes (rain lily).  The cross was created a few years ago by Texan, Dave Lehmiller. Perhaps one day we’ll have enough of this to share.

Two favorite agaves – Agave bracteosa and Agave ovatifolia

The Agaves are looking great in the garden today as we start our Fall Open Nursery and Garden.  Here are two of my favorites as they look today...the spineless Agave bracteosa (top) that looks like a stiff green squid, and the magnificent Agave ovatifolia. (botttom) Both of these were brought into the US from Mexico by the late plant explorer, Lynn Lowrey of Texas.  You'll see them both on display when you visit during the next two weekends. Be sure to say hello while you're here. Read more [...]

SFASU plantsmen

It was great two visit several of my favorite plantsmen/women on my recent trip to Texas.  Here are two my camera happened to capture at the Stephen F. Austin Gardens.  Top is Greg Grant, who has shared many of his wonderful introductions with us.  Below is Dr. Dave Creech...the founder and mastermind behind the Stephen F. Austin State University Gardens.  Dave is showing us one of the Black Diamond Crape Myrtles, bred by his friend Cecil Pounders of Mississippi.  Not photographed are Dawn Stover, Dave's strong right hand, and Dr. Jared Barnes, a recent NCSU grad who is taking over the horticulture teaching duties at SFASU.  Great to see them all on a far too quick visit...a must stop if you're in the area around Nacogdoches. Read more [...]

Goodbye to Pearl

  We lost a long-time member of our Plant Delights family yesterday with the passing of Pearl at the ripe old age of 16.  I'm sure many of you interacted with Pearl during her tenure at Plant Delights, so here is one final photo taken by Anita last week during her final trek out into the garden.  Pearl was preceeded in death by her sister, Ruby, and is survived by Zirconia, Jasper, and Henry.  We hope you'll share your memories of Pearl here and during our upcoming open nursery and garden days that start tomorrow (Friday). Read more [...]

Cestrum ‘Orange Peel’

After 5.28" of rain in the last 24 hours, we're hoping for see clear skies today.  The low pressure system that parked itself just east of the nursery didn't seem to ever want to move out to sea, giving us ark-like rains.  Despite the rain, Cestrum 'Orange Peel' is still looking superb in the garden. This amazing perennial/shrub (depending on your winter low temperatures) is one amazing flowering machine through the summer and early fall.  I'd be hard pressed to think of many plants that produce this many flowers through the course of a year.  Full to part sun is best for this little-known member of the tomato (Solanaceae) family. Read more [...]

Tony and Katie occupying the garden

Tony and Katie at Katie's garden

I’ve spent a bit of time over the last few weeks with my stepdaughter Katie at her first home, working with her on the basics of landscaping. She’s never gardened before and this is her first time experiencing the joys of home ownership.  After this weekend, she’s getting close to seeding her first lawn. She’s really embraced the amount of work required to properly prepare the soil organically.  Anita snapped this yesterday as we laid out the lawn borders…all while wearing the appropriate garden attire.

Travels to Shangrila

I've just returned from a whirlwind trip to Texas to speak for one of my favorite gardens, Mercer Arboretum in Houston, Texas.  One of my side trips was to visit Shangrila in lower southeast corner of Texas.  I know many of you don't think of Shangrila as being in Texas, but bear with me.  A friend, Rick Lewandowski (left in photo) (the former director of the Mt. Cuba Center in Delaware) had become the new director of Shangrila Botanical Gardens and Nature Center, so curiosity got the better of me. Thanks to my host Darrin Dulling (right in photo), the director of Mercer Arboretum, I was able to make the side tip to Shangrila.  As it turns out Shangrila is both a new and old garden.  It was closed in 1958 after a particularly cold winter and not reopened to the public for 50 years (2008). Shangrila is a giant park/nature preserve, morphing into a botanical garden.  The formal plantings, while immaculately maintained are not particularly interesting for a plant collector, but the Read more [...]

Musa velutina – pink velvet banana

The amazing hardy banana, Musa velutina is full of flowers and fruit in the garden.  Here are photos I just took of it in both bud and in full fruit.  There are so many fruit, you'll see pink from several hundred feet away...very attractive.  The bananas are full of small seeds, so we don't recommend eating these unless you are extremely hungry. Read more [...]

Disjunct genera research

Although many folks only know us for our commercial division, Plant Delights Nursery, it is our research division, Juniper Level Botanic Garden that is the most important.  Our collections now top 22,000 taxa, making JLBG one of the most significant plant collections in the country.  We spent last Friday with Dr. Jenny Xiang of NC State University, her lab manager, and two graduate students taking samples of plants needed for her research into continentally disjunct plant genera.  In other words, what happened when the ancient continent of Pangaea split and some members of a genus (i.e. Asarum, Arisaema, Croomia) got caught on each side of the split. How did they evolve after being separated?  Plant samples were carefully taken for genetic testing in China, and immediately dipped into liquid Nitrogen for preservation.  We are thrilled that we had quite a number of relatively obscure plants that were important to the research.  Remember that 10% of all plant purchases at Plant Read more [...]