Does this witch hazel ring a bell?

Completely unlike its namesake, this dwarf beauty is a sight to behold. Flowering in the garden now, Hamamelis vernalis ‘Quasimodo’ is a miniature selection of the Midwest US native witch hazel. Our six-year-old specimen is a whopping 4′ tall, so this gem can be tucked into much smaller sites that full-size selections.

Hamamelis vernalis ‘Quasimodo’

In Camelot…

Truly magical, the aptly named Helleborus x ballardiae ‘Camelot’ in flower now at JLBG. This is yet another of the wonderful new sterile hybrids. Visit us during our 2021 Winter Open Nursery & Garden Days, Feb. 26-28 & March 5-7, 2021, and discover all the wonders of the winter garden.

A Crazy Horse

Because we’ve had another mild winter with regard to absolute low temperatures, the foliage on most of our hardy century plants is still looking good. In colder winters, foliar damage is often caused by our wet, cold winters. While we have been consistently cool and extremely wet (it has rained 50% of the days since January 1), the agaves look great…the well-drained soil is the key. We just took this image of Agave ‘Crazy Horse’, which is looking particularly architectural in the winter garden.

More Hardy Cyclamen

It’s hard to find a cyclamen we don’t love in the winter garden, but we are particularly enamoured with Cyclamen maritimum…formerly a member of the Cyclamen graecum complex. Learn more about growing hardy cyclamen.

Cyclamen maritimum (formerly C. graecum ssp. anatolicum)

Well hello, Madame!

There have been some amazing advancements in hellebore breeding during the last decade, and near the top of the list is the amazing Helleborus x lemonnierae ‘Madame Lemonnier’. Here are a couple of images from the garden this week of this cross between the Christmas rose, Helleborus niger and the Lenten rose, Helleborus x hybridus. The flowers are a measured 4.5″ wide…the largest flowers we’ve ever seen on any hellebore. Because this is such a wide cross, it’s completely sterile, so must be reproduced by divisions (tissue culture).

Helleborus x lemonnierae ‘Madame Lemonnier’
Helleborus x lemonnierae ‘Madame Lemonnier’

Logging in…the old fashioned way

When we re-worked one of our recirculating water capture streams a couple of years ago, our grounds supervisor, Jeremy Schmidt, who coordinated the project, wanted to include an old buried log that he had found when excavating another part of the property. It took quite a few staff members to hand carry it and place it across the man-made creek where it resides today. Because it was hollow on one side, we filled it full of planting media and voila…a naturalistic vignette resulted. Here it is this week in the winter garden with several clumps of Carex oshimensis to echo the flow of the water.

Carex oshimensis

Goldfinger Century Plant…coming soon!

One of our most unique agave seedlings is a selection of Agave lophantha in which the tips of the leaves turn bright gold during the cold winter months. Here is our parent clump that’s been in the ground since 2011. Hopefully just a few more years and we’ll have enough to share…assuming there is any interest.

Agave lophantha ‘Goldfinger’

Broadleaf Evergreen Royalty

One of the broadleaf evergreen trees that always elicits oohs and aaahs is Castanopsis cuspidata ‘Angyo Yellow’ and the cream centered counterpart ‘Nakafu’. These yellow-variegated Japanese selections of the the Japanese chinquapin is as rare as the proverbial hens teeth. Our 14 year old specimen pictured here in the winter garden is starting to make quite a show. We expect them to eventually reach their mature size of 25′ – 35′ in another few decades. In Japan, they are propagated by grafting, although they will root from cuttings, albeit in ridiculously low percentages. It’s our dream to one day make these more widely available if we can figure out the propagation that would allow this to happen.

Castanopsis cuspidata ‘Angyo Yellow’
Castanopsis cuspidata ‘Nakafu’

Goldfeather

We can’t imagine gardening in a climate where we couldn’t grow these amazing bold-textured evergreen winter wonders. Here is Aspidistra ‘Goldfeather’ in the garden this week, glowing in the winter light. For those in colder winter climates, the common name of cast iron plants give an indication of how tough they are as house plants in low light conditions.

Aspidistra elatior ‘Goldfeather’

Another Winter Combo

Here’s another favorite winter combination in our parking lot drought border, involving Opuntia aurea ‘Coombes Winter Glow’, Agave x loferox ‘Stairway to Heaven’, a new gold variegated Yucca flaccida, all backed by Phlomis monocephala and a lovely tan-colored Andropogon.