South African Geophyte Day – Oxalis and Eucomis

Several of the South African geophytes (plants with swollen underground storage organs) are looking great today in the gardens here at Juniper Level.  The top photo is the amazing Oxalis bowiei, which just emerged from summer dormancy.  This 10" gem is topped, almost as it emerges with stalks of large 1" bright pink flowers.  I can't imagine a late summer/fall garden without these.  It's completely winter hardy here, but not much further north, where it performs great in mixed containers that need a late summer kick.   At the bottom is Eucomis 'Mini Tuft Red', which looks great now...a fantastic pineapple lily hybrid using 2 high elevation, South African mountain species....also only 10" tall.   Both plants make great rock garden or container specimens. Read more [...]

Penthorum sedoides (Ditch Stonecrop) – a US native perennial

Penthorum sedioides 2AL13-003 in flower

So, who is growing Penthorum sedoides?  Who has ever heard of Penthorum sedoides?  Well, it’s a US native perennial wildflower that can found in all but nine midwestern US states. It’s quite fascinating in flower now in our trial gardens, but I question whether anyone would actually buy it.  Thoughts?

Penthorum sedoides

Firmiana simplex – Chinese Parasol Tree

Here are photos I took yesterday of one of my favorite trees in the garden, Firmiana simplex.  The common name, Chinese parasol tree came about since the seed pods look like umbrellas with little heads clustered underneath.  We also love it for the bark, which stays green year round...a trait not seen in many winter hardy trees.  We've seen firmiana growing as far north as Philadelphia, which is its northern limit.  We don't sell trees, but if you're here for our fall open nursery and garden in September, we're always glad to share seed, which germinate easily. Here are photos I took yesterday of one of my favorite trees in the garden, Firmiana simplex.  The common name, Chinese parasol tree came about since the seed pods look like umbrellas with little heads clustered underneath.  We also love it for the bark, which stays green year round...a trait not seen in many winter hardy trees.  We've seen firmiana growing as far north as Philadelphia, which is its northern limit.  We Read more [...]

Manfreda undulata ‘Chocolate Chips’

Manfreda undulata Chocolate Chips3

The only plant we grow with leaves as wavy as our snake is this gem, growing in our rock garden, Manfreda undulata ‘Chocolate Chips’.  This selection of the North American native Manfreda undulata is just too cool for words.  I can’t imagine having a garden without this fantastic introduction from our friends at Yucca Do. Full to part sun and decent drainage should be perfect.  The photo was just taken…not bad for late August!

Another American native – Canna flaccida

Canna flaccida seed pods

Also loving moist soils in the garden is our native Canna flaccida…yes, there are native canna lilies.  Most folks grow Canna flaccida for the bright yellow flowers, but the seed pods that top the plant now are simply exquisite. When the pods dry, they can be shaken to produce a distinct rattling sound…great entertainment for young kids.  Here’s a cool photo that Anita just captured.

Lobelia cardinalis – Cardinal flower

Lobelia cardinalis by sunken pond

Our native cardinal flower, Lobelia cardinalis is simply on fire in the garden now, with spikes reaching 5-6′ tall.  As you can imagine, the hummingbirds are enjoying the tasty treat.  Moist to wet, organically rich soils grow the tallest plants, although cardinal flower also grows in typical garden soils but just doesn’t get as tall.  I can’t imagine a summer garden without this beauty.

Get Well Soon Wishes to David Culp

Get well soon wishes go out to our friend David Culp, author of the hit gardening book, The Layered Garden.  I had just seen with David a couple of weeks ago in Cincinnati where he received an award from the Perennial Plant Association for his wonderful book.  David is just starting the road to recovery after recent emergency Aortic Dissection surgery.  David was scheduled to be at Plant Delights today, but obviously didn’t make it.  He’s currently resting uncomfortably at home and beginning his recovery with short walks. Please join me in wishing David a speedy recovery.

Lycoris radiata pumila ‘Fire Engine’

Lycoris radiata pumila Adam's August3

Lighting up the garden now is the August-flowering form of red surprise lily, Lycoris radiata var. pumila ‘Fire Engine’.  The flower stalks emerge overnight, and voila, here they are.  The foliage emerges in September and grows all winter.  I hope  you’ll check out these and the rest of our incredible lycoris offerings.

Garden Photography – Photo Capture and Processing Workshop

Anita and I are always looking for ways to improve our photography skills since capturing the essence of a garden in a photograph can be a challenge with all the variables that mix to create a satisfying image. Practice is one of the keys to improvement and so is learning techniques from garden photography professionals. We invite you to join us in October as we learn from one of our favorite professionals, Josh Taylor. Here’s a photography tip Josh sent us and we want to share: “The best time to photograph a garden is in the early morning or late afternoon and after a rain, in fog, or with snow. After a rainfall, garden foliage and flowers look fresh and vibrant and stonework glows. Avoid mid-day, when the sun is overhead. Overcast days work well too, but keep the bright, featureless sky out of the picture.”   If you’re looking to improve your skills in photography as we are, please join us Saturday, October 11, 2014, from 8am – 4pm, when Josh will be leading Read more [...]