Hellebores abound at our Winter Open Gardens and Nursery Days

As we approach our first open garden and nursery day of the 2018, we wanted to share some Helleborus x hybridus photos we took in the garden this week...even though you'll see them when you visit.  These are all our own seedlings raised here. In addition to all the named varieties we offer, we'll have a selection of our own seedlings for sale during our open days, and if any remain, they'll be added on-line.  We hope to see you this weekend and next.  Read more [...]

Do you have rocks in your head…or your garden?

We're members of many plant groups, and each are quite wonderful. One of the groups of which we've been member the longest is the North American Rock Garden Society.  We're blessed not only with a great national organization, but also with a superb local chapter. We were thrilled to host the groups' National Meeting last year in Raleigh.  One of the incredible bonuses of membership is access to their incredible seed exchange, where one can get lost in a list of over 3000 rock garden plant seed, donated by members from around the world. These are not plants that are usually found anywhere else, and certainly not in typical seed catalogs.  Round two of the 2018 seed exchange will start in a few weeks, so if growing unusual rock garden plants from seed appeals to you, check out the seed exchange and consider becoming a member.  Read more [...]

Pearls of Wisdom

Just back from speaking at the wonderful Davidson County Garden Symposium, held in the NC metropolis of Welcome.  It's always an honor to share the stage with on of my idols, the 78 year young topiary artist, Pearl Fryar. In addition to being an incredible topiary artist, Pearl is truly one of the great inspirational thinkers and doers of our generation. If you've never visited Pearl's amazing topiary garden in South Carolina, I hope you can do so while he's still able to greet and chat with visitors. Pearl tells me that recently he hosted a 40 person delegation from China, setting up tents in his garden as they studied his unique style.  If you can't make the trip to Bishopville, SC, you can contribute to the preservation of the garden, and perhaps still catch the inspirational movie, A Man Named Pearl. Pearl and his bride of 51 years, Metra drove up to Welcome in their new smart car...a perfect choice for this young at heart couple.   Read more [...]

Magnolia lovers headed to Raleigh…join us!

  Here's a photo we took in the gardens last year of a new Mangolia insignis hybrid from SC plantsman Kevin Paris, who will be one of many world renown speakers at the upcoming meeting of the International Magnolia Society meeting to be held here in Raleigh, March 23-25. We look forward the amazing lineup of speakers and tours, including here at PDN/JLBG.  This is an intense group of plant nerds from around the world, most of whom are passionate about much more than magnolias.  Below is a note from President Gary Knox about the upcoming registration deadline, and how to sign up.  We hope to see you there. The Feb 9th deadline for registration for the Annual meeting is rapidly approaching.  This is your final reminder to register for the Annual Meeting of Magnolia Society International planned for March 23-25 in North Carolina (please click HERE for details and HERE to link to online registration). Join us in Raleigh during the midst of Spring where you Read more [...]

The Horticulturist behind Amazon’s Garden Workspace

We couldn't be happier for Raleigh native, and former Plant Delights staffer, Ron Gagliardo, who manages the new Amazon HQ Rainforest. We've known Ron since he was a young teen, tissue-culturing carnivorous plants in his parents home near the State Fairgrounds.  It's so great to see him getting so much recognition in his role as Amazon's "green" celebrity.  Congratulations Ron!  Below are a couple of articles about his amazing work. https://www.seattletimes.com/business/amazon/happy-plants-in-the-spotlight-as-luminaries-open-amazons-spheres/ https://www.cbsnews.com/news/amazons-spheres-seattle-office-space/     Read more [...]

Ballard’s Christmas Roses

The late Helen Ballard of England was one of the early pioneers in developing what we know today as hybrid hellebores. It was only fitting, when one of the breakthrough crosses, a hybrid between the Balkan native Christmas Rose, Helleborus niger, and  the Majorca endemic, Helleborus lividus, that was formerly known as Helleborus x nigerliv, was renamed Helleborus x ballardiae. The offspring from this cross combine the lovely veined foliage from Helleborus lividus with the outfacing flowers of Helleborus niger.  Once the cross was first made, plant breeders around the world have worked to develop new and improved varieties of Helleborus x ballardiae.  Unfortunately for plant breeders, Helleborus x ballardiae is sterile, so you won't find the hybrids typically producing seedlings. This means that each named variety is a division from an original selection, propagated by cloning (division or tissue culture). We planted the first one in our garden in 1996, and in the 22 Read more [...]

Disporum flavens – coming up soon

It won't belong before spring woodlanders begin to pop, and one of the first out of the ground for us is the amazing Disporum flavens.  This Asian Solomon's Seal emerges already, with yellow, skyward-facing bells.  As the stalk expands upward, the flower orientation changes from upright to horizontal, before becoming pendant.  By mid-April for us, the slowly expanding clump reaches 30" in height, with each stalk laden with clusters of bright yellow bells.  Even after the flowers drop, the plant remains intact and attractive all summer. Disporum flavens is a plant we can seem to keep from photographing every spring, and certainly one we wouldn't garden without. Sadly, it's rarely offered commercially because it just doesn't offset fast enough for most nurseries to find it financially viable. Finally, as fall approaches, the leaves change to a parchment yellow, with each stem terminating with a cluster of small blue fruit. Disporum flavens is quite easy to Read more [...]

Psoralea…baptisia’s little cousin

While we’re on a theme of little-known North American natives, how about a shout out to Psoralea psoralioides…aka Sampson’s snakeroot. This delightful legume has prospered in our sunny garden for years, where it thrives, flowering over a month after it’s better known cousin, baptisia has finished.  Psoralea is native from Illinois to the Gulf Coast, so it should be widely grown by now.  Let’s have a show of hands…who has this in their garden?  Raise your hands higher…I can’t see them. 

Psoralea psoralioides Nash

Zone 6a-9b, at least. 

Our native prickly poppy

So, you think all native plants look drab and dull.  If so, you’ve not tried Argemone albiflora, which can be found from Virginia south to Texas. This easy-to-grow, self-seeding native flowers non-stop all summer long…simply incredible. In the garden, young seedlings were unfazed through our horrific cold January. Well drained, sunny sites are all that’s needed. Perhaps you don’t like poppies….

Those gingers are pretty wild!

We continue to offer more special selections from our extensive collection of asarum (wild gingers).  These amazing woodland natives from North America, Asia, and Europe are fascinating both for their foliage as well as their unique flowers. Asarum asperum 'Silver Streak' is a plant we obtained in the early 1990s, so it's taken us 25 years to produce enough to share for the first time. (Zone 6a-9b) In flower now, in the middle of winter, we remove the old foliage like the do with hellebores, so we can enjoy the amazing flowers. If you pull up a chair, you'll notice these are pollinated by little terrestrial crustaceans known as pill bugs or roly polies.  Asarum campaniflorum 'Leprechuan' is another of our 2018 introductions with flowers that look like intricate paintings. This Chinese species was only named in 2004.  Zone 7b-10b   Asarum forbesii 'Venus' is another plant we've grown for 25 years before having enough to offer for the first time.  Read more [...]