Hellebores germinating and flowering

Here are some images from the nursery taken yesterday, starting with hellebore seed sown last June.  Click on the blog link to see all the images.  They key is gathering fresh seed...even month old seed has a greatly reduced viability.  The seed are sown almost immediately after harvest and kept in a cold frame with night temperatures near freezing.  Germination occurs in January. The seedlings are first transplanted into cell packs, then into 1 quart pots by May.  It takes us just over 2.5 years from seed sowing to flower for most of the Helleborus x hybridus. Here are some hellebore images snapped yesterday.  Here is Helleborus 'Cotton Candy'...a stunning seed strain. Followed by Helleborus 'Red Sapphire' Helleborus 'Painted Doubles' are always amazing. and Helleborus 'Peppermint Ice' Helleborus 'Onyx Odyssey' and finally, Helleborus 'Rose Quartz'.  All the images above are hybrids from Ernie and Mariettta O'Byrne, and we are Read more [...]

Fun in Philly before the snow

It was great to have so many folks show up yesterday for my lecture for the Scott Arboretum/Hardy Plant Society’s Joanne Walkovic Memorial lecture near Philadelphia.  It’s always great to see and chat with so many long-time friends and PDN customers. I only wish I’d had more time to roam around the amazing plantings at the Scott Arboretum on the Swarthmore campus.

I was supposed to give a second lecture today, but the impending blizzard sent me packing a day early…getting out before they closed the Philadelphia airport.  Our thoughts are with those in the tri-state area preparing for white out conditions. I hope everyone is bundled up on a warm couch for the next couple of day, enjoying their Plant Delights catalog and dreaming of spring.

 

New Plants Online

Shop Our New Plants! We’ve just added over 35 new plants to the online catalog, including various types of Arisaema, hardy Cyclamen, Cypripedium orchids, and the ever winter blooming Helleborus…most available in very limited quantities, so order now. Shop all the new plants for this year here. Visit & Shop Open Nursery & Garden Days If you live in the area, Juniper Level Botanic Garden and Plant Delights Nursery’s Winter Open Nursery and Garden is just over five weeks away, beginning February 27th. This is our first of four public open nursery and garden dates this year and you will be AMAZED how the gardens thrive this time of year. Remember to bring your camera as the beauty of the colors and textures of the winter garden are magnificent. Winter open nursery is peak time for hellebores blooming in the garden and you may select your favorites from hundreds of specimens in flower and available for sale in the nursery. Since we are closed to the general public Read more [...]

Agave winter protection experiment

One of the difficulties growing agaves in our climate is keeping them dry in winter.  Our biggest losses occur when temperatures drop below 20 degrees F, and the ground is damp. While we always plant agave on slopes, that only helps with the external drainage...it does not necessarily keep the soil dry.  Once agaves grow large enough, they are better able to shed water and keep the soil dry, so our dilemma is getting young plants to survive.  This year, we decided to experiment using microwave covers.  Keep in mind  we are not interested in cold protection, only protection from moisture.  We were also looking for something that would keep the soil dry, while not baking the plants when the sun was bright.  If the covers were not filled with holes, the heat underneath would actually make the plants start to grow and become more cold sensitive. We're only half way through winter, but so far, our experiment is a great success. We only cover the agaves several days before the temperatures Read more [...]

Plant Delights Print Catalog mailed

Our 2015 Plant Delights Nursery 27th anniversary catalog went in the mail almost two weeks ago, so most of you, except those in remote areas, should have it by now.  If you haven't received your copy yet, drop us an email to [email protected] and we'll make sure you're still on the mailing list, and if needed, get you another copy in the mail.  Until your print catalog arrives, you can flip the pages virtually here. We hope you'll enjoy the new catalog, which features lots of cool new plants as well as a plethora of color photos.  We're betting you'll find the layout dramatically improved thanks to Anita's design concepts which were implemented by our layout designer, Shari Sasser.  Anita also thought you'd like the new perfect bound spine, for those of you who like to save the catalogs for reference books.  Anita is now focusing her amazing talents on a re-dsesign of the entire Plant Delights website.  You'll begin to notice bits and pieces, all designed to make our site Read more [...]

Direct Gardening Association Meeting

I'm just back in town from the Direct Gardening Association meeting in New Orleans.  It's my first trip to New Orleans, and my second DGA meeting.  The Direct Gardening Association, which started in 1934 as the National Mail Order Nurseryman' Association, is the organization of of businesses who sell gardening goods direct to consumers, including plants, fertilizers, tools, greenhouses, etc.  The three day biannual meeting, which moves around the country, is focused on a number of factors that affect our businesses, from creating a better website, e-commerce options, finding new customers, and improving a customers' shopping experience.  The attendees love networking and sharing their experiences, so if you already have, or a looking to start a mail order gardening business, be sure to take advantage of this wonderful group. We have lost far too many mail order nurseries, several of which might have survived if they had attended DGA conferences.  When I arrived home, Jake made Read more [...]

Iris unguicularis in flower in winter

Another favorite of winter is Iris unguicularis...the winter-blooming iris.  I just snapped this photo of a clump that's been flowering for weeks here in the gardens.  Iris unguicularis is relatively easy to grow if given a part or full sun site with good drainage.  For us, we get random fall flowering that gives rise to a heavy bloom season in late winter....February and March.  This year, we're offering four different selected clones.  Iris unguicularis can only be divided in fall/winter if you want it to survive.  We're getting quite a few reports of winters hardiness throughout Zone 6. Read more [...]

New plants for 2015 – Lilies

We've been lily fans for quite a while, and have spent decades collecting unique lilies that are quite different from the short, stiff Asiatic lilies that are so prevalent in box stores. Our 2015 introduction,  Lilium davidii 'Lite Lunch' came from a former staffer, David Lee, who purchased this lily bulb for lunch from a Chinese grocery store on his way to work in 2001.  Well, we talked him out of the bulb and subsequently planted it in the garden, to be shocked when it turned out to be the best and most compact form of Lilium davidii that we'd ever grown.  After nearly a decade, we gave it a name and finally have enough to share. Another gem is Lilium 'Springville'.  This amazing lily was discovered by native plant experts Richard and Russell of Alabama Nursery.  It turned out to be a natural hybrid of two native species, Lilium canadense and Lilium michiganense. Lilium 'Springville' has been an amazing lily in our trials...seen here in a photo we took last June.  We Read more [...]

Cyclamen hederifolium in the winter garden

Cyclamen hederifolium Hansen's Fancy Leaves foliage

I just snapped this image of Cyclamen hederifolium in the garden this morning…only a couple of days removed from a low of 12 degrees F.  These are so wonderful in the woodland winter garden.  Be sure to plant cyclamen where they will stay fairly dry in the late spring and summer when they are dormant.  Planting Cyclamen hederifolium right at the base of trees or shrubs works great!